SPICA’s Bohyung’s first solo effort “Crazy Girl” certainly delivers in its’ promise for a powerful vocal performance backed by a hot ball/mess of a music video.
But it stars Narae, so err on the side of “hot” and less on the side of “mess”.
SPICA is a group with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to vocal performers and Bohyung still manages to be the most powerful singer in the group. So, it’s no surprise that she would be given the nod to headline a SPICA member’s first solo effort (waiting on Boa now) and it’s no surprise that Bohyung pulls off what is required of her with an assured capability that has long been her calling card. If only the video was as proficient.
“Crazy Girl” is a slow, meandering ballad that plays to Bohyung’s strengths as a vocalist. The production is more deliberate and sparse in sections. There aren’t orchestras or brass bands bellowing to convey depth or grandeur. The closest that the instrumentation gets to being grand is the percussion beat, which marches with all the solemnity of a burial, and the guitar solo which, while a nice break from repetition, sounds a tad overwrought, especially given Bohyung’s singing and the accompanying video (more on that below). As for Bohyung herself, the girl brings it. There’s no real highlight moment that is meant to wow anyone, but Bohyung’s ability to sing with clarity, at a whisper, and with a rasp, at pretty much any volume and hit any note is rare in K-Pop and “Crazy Girl” brings that all to bear without it devolving into a vanity project.
As for the video, this is where things start to stray towards being a bit messy. The music is already sad and K-Drama-y enough. The video takes that and, instead of being a visual representation of the mood the music makes, it decides to go completely off the melodramatic rails. The video is shot in black and white, giving “Crazy Girl” a noir/horror flick feel. That in itself would be fine except that the video exacerbates its ominous mood with a nonsensical plot which is about Narae being the spiritual embodiment/muse of some crazed artist’s room. Or his painting. Or his pet eels. Or his neck. It’s not exactly clear, but then again it’s sometimes hard to pay attention to whatever Emo-Artist is doing when Narae is having sex with a ghost.
But considering that the song is called “Crazy Girl” and this is far from a dance-in-a-box concept, props must be given to the director and editors for at least making something visually arresting that almost makes sense (and Narae for Narae-ing all over the place). It could be a bit of a cop out to want a video for a song entitled “Crazy Girl” to make a lick of sense, but when combined with the dramatic song, the video sometimes trips over that dangerous line between interestingly dark and unintentionally hilarious (or as with that shot of Narae’s crotch being blocked by the fish tank of eels, both).
For a first solo effort, Boyhung continues SPICA’s track record of releasing songs with understated production (again, no techno-EDM for SPICA) in order to highlight vocal performance. “Crazy Girl” has all the strengths of a SPICA release (killer vocals, a good match of performer and production) but it also shares some of the same weaknesses (no great hooks, the music can sound a little dated at times) that have prevented SPICA from being able to make a dent in K-Pop popularity. The video shows that SPICA is unafraid of tackling more mature subject matters, a trend which goes all the way back to “Potently” and “Russian Roulette” but it also sometimes confuses insanity with complexity and sensuality with maturity. “Crazy Girl” may not be a revelation, but any time Bohyung is allowed near a mic, and Narae is allowed to undress, the results will never be a disaster.
Rating: 3 and a half straight-jackets out of five crazy pills. A passable effort by SPICA members still shits all over your faves.