Review: Ga-In – “Fxxk U” Tackles Domestic Violence Like Only Ga-In Can

A song entitled “Fxxk U” by Ga-In was never going to be non-confrontational. The original teasers for “Fxxk U” were more freaky than they were sexy, and while there were questions of whether Ga-In had simply missed the mark in promoting a “sexy” concept, it turns out that the eerie setting of a a shade-like Ga-In and a mysterious enveloper were actually representative of the final product. Much as the title implies, “Fxxk U” is not a celebration of sexy taken to the 19+ level, nor is it an explicit romp in the bed like many concern trolls predicted it would be. Instead, “Fxxk U” is violent and blunt which makes it challenging, troubling and rewarding to watch.

As a juxtaposition to it’s more mature subject matter, “Fxxk U” is a rather easy-breezy R&B pop song. The duet between Ga-In and Bumkey is lightly done and plenty of falsetto and breathy notes are sung to some guitar strums and barely audible percussion. With such unobtrusive vocals and production, a lot of the grunt work is done by some calls of “ooo-ooo-ooo-oooh” and some clapping for pacing purposes. The R&B qualities of the production work, if only because Ga-In displays some good range without overpowering the delicateness of the beat. The calls of “fuck you” are catchy and done well, especially considering that using “fuck you” in a pop song will always run the risk of sounding either over-dramatic or unintentionally funny. Ga-In gives it just the right amount of venom and whimsy so that it sounds partly playful and partly lethal. For a song that contrasts it’s cheerful beat with more scathing lyrics, it’s pretty fitting.

When keeping it real goes wrong.

When keeping it real goes wrong.

Those contrasts are made all the more explicit by the video for “Fxxk U”. While it’s not as forthrightly about sexuality as “Bloom“, “Fxxk U” is much more serious about tackling romantic dysfunction and how it intertwines with sex in a dramatically visceral way. In many ways, this is what has separated Ga-In’s last couple of efforts from the majority of K-Pop releases. K-Pop has no problems selling “sexy” as a concept but it has a much harder time dealing with the implications of sex. Not Ga-In. “Bloom” brazenly celebrated the female orgasm as something central and wonderful in itself, almost completely divorced from the need of a romantic interest (importantly, aside from the blunt masturbation scene in “Bloom”, the guy in that video is never really explained outside of the fact that he has a penis that is giving Ga-In pleasure). Meanwhile, “Fxxk U” is the nightmare version of “Bloom”, where a sexual relationship has left both people broken and yet incapable of escaping each other.

Domestic violence in K-Pop y'all.

Domestic violence in K-Pop y’all.

It is everything that Troublemaker wanted to be with “Now”, but done with much more frankness and less histrionics. There are no quick cuts and the lighting is never frenetic. Harsh blues give “Fxxk U” an incredibly cold feel, fitting for the frigid sexual violence happening on screen. Everything proceeds with a deliberate patience and there are more fade-ins and fade-outs than one generally finds in a K-Pop music video which gives “Fxxk U” the impression that it’s not trying to sell a roller-coaster ride or dysfunctional romantic attraction ala “Now”. Instead, “Fxxk U” is a slow and matter-of-fact descent into two people’s personal hell.

It's a rather disturbing place.

It’s a rather disturbing place.

Ironically given the subject matter, “Fxxk U” doesn’t succeed nearly as well taken separately as it does taken together. The song by itself is a little on the light side and the “oooo-oooo-oooo-oooh’s” aren’t imaginative enough to be considered catchy. The video veers towards the melodramatic, especially towards the end with the spraying of blood, Dexter-inspired shower curtain sex scenes and smashing birthday cakes with one’s face. Together though, “Fxxk U” is pretty hauntingly on point. Few idols would ever be allowed to – 0r want to- touch subject matters like sexual violence or the complicated dynamics of dysfunctional relationships. Most get by on the appeal of sexiness as an image and the illusion/allure of availability because it’s pleasant, comfortable and profitable. Ga-In is fortunate on the one hand because the Brown Eyed Girls’ reputation as the “serious” adult-dols of K-Pop has given them more latitude to pursue more adult themes. On the other hand, credit must be given to Ga-In for actually exploring those more mature themes (as disturbing as they can be) and “Fxxk U” is another testament to Ga-In’s ability to approach adult themes through pop music  in a way that does not gloss over their seriousness.

Rating:  One Quentin Tarantino script worth of “Fucks” out of one “Fxxk U”. Separately, the song and video are pretty average but they work very well as a single entity.

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3 comments

  1. Great review!
    At first, I thought was it was just an attempt to one-up all the other sexy girl groups just by showing more skin and saying a swear word — from the teasers, it looked like that would have went horribly wrong. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the horror movie aesthetics of the teaser was very much intentional, and a video that can stand on its own against Bloom. Not to mention that the song itself is pretty catchy. Shame on me for doubting a BEG member.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, my main fair was that Ga-In was simply going to try to be Bigger, Harder and Uncut with the whole sexy concept thing but they didn’t go for the unimaginative angle. I will take this as lesson. Don’t doubt BEG until proven otherwise.

  2. Norazo's Curry · · Reply

    “K-Pop has no problems selling “sexy” as a concept but it has a much harder time dealing with the implications of sex.” yes, beautiful. it has finally been put into proper words that i can quote. thank you

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