Review: Ladies’ Code – “Galaxy” Gets It Right

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It is especially rare to see real-life issues barrel their way into K-Pop, a genre that is equally driven by pop music, idol-manufactured personalities and elastic group concepts. However, the situation that Ladies’ Code found itself in leading up to their “Galaxy” comeback is anything but normal. With the deaths of EunB and RiSe looming over “Galaxy” (Ladies’ Code’s first comeback since the passing of the two members back in 2014), Ladies’Code has done an incredible of creating a music video that acknowledges the very real losses that the group has suffered while simultaneously proving that they can definitely succeed as a trio.

From its very first reverberating moments, “Galaxy” is  a serious affair. While the production can’t be described as sparse or minimalist, the patient beat has a strong but spacey jazz sound thanks to a prominent bass line and very light snare riffs and chimes. The richness of the track is complemented by Ladies’ Code’s vocals, which comfortably take up the middle register of “Galaxy.” In a shrewd move, at various times the members’ voices are given a subtle but distinct hollowness which does wonders to create an emptiness that works at a conceptual level to evoke the grand emptiness of outerspace and a somberness that works at a metatextual level to signify loss without getting bogged down in histrionics. In a vacuum, “Galaxy” is incredibly effective mood music (even if it lacks a memorable punch) but this is a comeback that is almost impossible to view without context. With that in mind, “Galaxy” is about a perfect note as the group could hit given the circumstances. The balance between the song’s more soulful production and Ladies’ Code’s own remove evokes a sense of depth and sadness that never comes across as forced and that is “Galaxy’s” biggest triumph.

Similarly, the video for “Galaxy” does a fantastic job in its thoughtful restraint. The MV is more or less a standard dance-in-a-box number but that works with the understandably low-key approach with which “Galaxy” handles itself. This understatedness works even though the set pieces in “Galaxy” don’t necessarily cohere. While it’s not particularly clear how the angular, futuristic white set pieces relate to the more antiquated, colorful sets, “Galaxy” does an amazing job of utilizing triangular shapes to tie the video (and allude to Ladies’ Code’s new trio status) together in a visually compelling way. The MV even finds a way to make an overt reference to the group’s past by including two backup dancers in select choreography shots; a wonderful tribute to EunB and RiSe that doesn’t threaten to hi-jack “Galaxy” at all.

ladies code galaxy

In terms of setting the right tone under the circumstances, Ladies’ Code couldn’t have done much better than they did with “Galaxy.” The comeback was always going to be a difficult one but the poise, control and thought that went into “Galaxy” demonstrates that Ladies’ Code was definitely up to the heart-wrenching challenge of acknowledging the group’s tragic past without allowing their comeback to be defined by it.

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2 comments

  1. Kpoptartsarebestpoptarts · · Reply

    I had to force myself to watch it. I really didn’t think I was ready. But it is indeed perfect. The triangles so powerfully symbolizing the bond these girls now share because of the hell they’ve been through together. The twos representing the missing pieces. The voices, the tone, the melody, the pace, the whole MV. It’s all so incredibly spot on. The writers and producers deserve an Emmy. I just hope the Koreans embrace this and show it and these three ladies the love they so rightfully deserve.

    Like I said, I didn’t think I was ready. And although what happened will forever be etched in my memory I am glad they are back now. I’ve only watched it once, so maybe I just imagined it – but I swear towards the end I saw Ashley give just a little bit of a smile and the look in her eyes said “we’re going to be ok”.

    And then I immediately broke down again.

  2. I am certain that their first comeback stage this week will be quite emotional both for them, the audience, and even other acts. Hopefully this song does well for them. They have some stiff competition with Mamamoo dropping an album. I’d really like to see them get at least one show win even if that is likely to unleash a floodgate of emotions for them.

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