Review: Stellar – “Vibrato” Is One Of The Summer’s More Solid Comebacks

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The ironic thing about Stellar’s recent comeback “Vibrato” is that it’s actually a decent song that is destined to be forgotten thanks to a hilariously provocative, yet shrewdly smart, video.

The single’s funky beat is not revolutionary but the mixture of guitar, strings and horns provide “Vibrato” with a classic energetic framework ripped right out of the era of bell bottoms. As is usually the case with a dance track like this, Stellar isn’t asked to do much but the group manages to attack its lines with a good balance of sultriness and strength. The verses fire off at a rapid pace while the choruses provide a nice, slower contrast. Importantly, “Vibrato” never lags and it doesn’t overstay its welcome either. It’s just solid enough to be one of the summer’s better girl group releases.

As for the video, “Vibrato” is nothing if not bold. Sure, most of the video is nothing but dance-in-a-box shots and incredibly close up shots of disembodied legs, boobs and asses but those elements are shot in such a blatantly sexualized way that it comes off as a subversive critique of the sexualization rather than a celebration of it. The clear boxes that visually objectifies Stellar’s members, as well as the omniscient and claustrophobic camera lens that is interspersed through the video brilliantly and subtly reinforce this.

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Of course, since this is K-Pop, subtlety doesn’t play as well as bluntness and “Vibrato” spends the last third of its video coming up with some of the most blatant vagina imagery that one is likely to find in a music video. It’s brazen but it also helps differentiate “Vibrato” from other K-Pop “sexy” concepts that try so hard to remove the actual theme of sex from “sexy”.
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If Stellar’s “Marionette” was all about utilizing sex as a way for Stellar to make itself relevant again, “Vibrato” (and “Fool” to some extent) is a very polished and surprisingly biting reply to those who were all too willing to criticize the group for turning to the sexual concept in the first place when so many other groups are pretty much doing the same thing (Watching “Marionette” and “Vibrato” back to back reveals how different the two videos are, despite the fact that both use sex as a starting point. One is all about serving the male gaze while the other takes that gaze and literally smothers it in the female anatomy). It may be somewhat forgettable (but pretty enjoyable!) as a song but “Vibrato” shows that Stellar may be hitting their stride. If nothing else, “Vibrato” is a pleasant and somewhat thought-provoking video in a summer that has had too few videos that exhibit either of those qualities.

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9 comments

  1. On your game, as usual. I think Mask, Marionette, and now this are all really solid songs. Their last one not so much, but that’s a pretty good batting average.

    I just read today that their managers wanted them to do the MV in those thongs and as a group they told management to go fuck themselves. And while I’m happy that they have that ability, it would have been glorious.

    1. Yes, I have Mask, Marionette and now this on my play list. After watching the MV, I listened to it again without the distraction of T&As and the songs plays surprisingly well. Agree that it’s definitely one of the better K-Pop tracks in recent months.
      Kudos too to the girls sticking it to their management.

  2. I like how vaginas in this MV are not just represented just as prissy pretty flowers or gory bloody vessels but both it’s beauty and rawness equally. I really like the song as well, it’s got that Nine Muses “Glue” feel to it.

    1. On listening to it again just now, without watching the video, the impression I got is that it does have that “Glue” feel to it.

    2. It also has some of the feel of a Kara song probably due to the use of the guitar sound.

  3. clrfcation · · Reply

    off topic, but what do you think of this slug?

  4. rohaniyerdxb · · Reply

    The glass boxes reminded me a lot of “News” and the other similarity to 9Muses is how great this is as a summer combeack track (like “Wild”).

    I have been listening to this on repeat and now it’s easier to look past the not-so-great video.
    One positive from this is making me listen to “Mask” and boy is it a great song.

  5. I think Guilty is a great song of theirs as well that I don’t see mentioned. I like it more than Marionette.

  6. […] gente come Arcadey (http://arcadey.net/…/inside-the-red-room-the-smart-ugly-se…/) e Yellowslug (https://yellowslugreviews.wordpress.com/…/review-stellar-v…/), vi rimando dunque ai loro blog se volete divertirvi a leggerne delle analisi più critiche. Io mi […]

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