As mentioned, I’ve been taking this month to talk about VIXX, but for the moment, I’m shifting to their sub-unit, LR. Leo and Ravi put out an amazing MV for Beautiful Liar. There’s visually stunning subtext, aligned meaning between the lyrics and the video, and many other hidden aspects that you won’t catch with just one watch. If I ever find myself not following VIXX as a group, I will follow LR. I haven’t felt emotion and passion like this from an artist in a really long time.
As a note: if you’re not familiar with Korean, you can follow the steps I did by doing the following (links below):
1. Watch the official video.
2. Watch the video with the translated lyrics.
3. Familiarize yourself with the lyrics here.
4. Re-watch the official video….repeatedly.
I’ll admit, at first, I thought that Ravi was the one whom the girl was supposed to marry (she hands Leo a wedding invitation after the intro). But as I kept watching, that view made no sense. The guy she wants to marry is stopping her from leaving his ‘rival’? Through the rest of the video, I struggled to figure out Ravi’s role. The second watch made me notice that Ravi plays the role of the heart and Leo is the mind (will refer to them as such in the post).
Even though a heart’s feeling is true, the mind can and will trick it into believing it’s wrong. Leo is one track ‘mind’. It shows in his clothing, for it is very dark and monotone, as if he’s empty. Ravi on the other hand is a visual of vibrant and contrast. The ‘heart’ is full of color and emotions. If Ravi isn’t wearing something attention grabbing, there’s white in his outfit. Clothing aside, you can see the dark ‘markings’, presumably by the ‘mind’, tainting him. No matter what the ‘mind’ does, the ‘heart’ is in the shadows, as a reminder to the fact Leo can’t make this decision alone even though he’s trying to. Keep note of the scenes and color schemes, especially between LR and the actress.
The dancing in the video isn’t heavy and intense like most MVs and performances are filled with nowadays. LR takes the mode of interpretative dance which at times, corresponds with the lyrics. If you’re not careful, they are easy to miss; easier if you don’t know Korean.
The ‘mind’ is attempting to deceive the ‘heart’ into believing the decision to let their love go is the right thing to do. But it’s clear that the ‘heart’ is rebelling against the final verdict. If you look at Ravi’s actions towards Leo, he is in the latter’s face, almost desperate to tell the other “What you’re doing is wrong. Why aren’t you listening to me?” On the other hand, the ‘mind’ isn’t backing down, coming back with a, “No, why aren’t you listening to me? I’m the one in control here.”
The first dance between the ‘heart’ and the love is very quick and easy to miss. The first scene happens to the right of Leo, Ravi trying to find the love they share. It comes off as a hunt, a game of cat and mouse. Wherever she was, by the time he turns around, she’s not there. And when he does find her, it’s a sense of possessiveness, not wanting to let her go, even through she pulls away to escape at times. On her end, it looks like she’s in pain or suffocating. For me, it’s unclear if she’s running away from the truth, but that would make more sense if it were Leo, not Ravi. Maybe in that moment, she’s afraid and doesn’t know what she wants either. Perhaps the ‘heart’s emotions are too much and has a negative impact and the ‘mind’ is empty which isn’t positive either… so there’s no lesser of the two evils to choose from? Who knows…
For a moment, the ‘mind’ wavers, holding on when she reaches out for him. There’s a small victory for the ‘heart, but it’s very short lived. Leo realizes his mistake: this isn’t the path he’s set to walk down. Once the thought hits, he lets go.
I won’t hang onto you anymore, I will smile.
This is me, don’t hesitate anymore.
The cold truth comes like a smack to the face: he’s letting her go for good. Even though she wants him to stop her, he won’t. Leo’s and Ravi’s argument comes in the form of their lyrics. It’s almost as if Leo is shouting them at Ravi, saying, “It’s all right if she leaves me! Stop trying to convince me otherwise!”
Later, the ‘heart’ is quick to react to the situation at hand, knocking away the keys the ‘mind’ was willing to accept back from their significant other. The music cuts to silence with only wind heard in the background.
This is one scene you can note the color change between the interactions. In the first scene, there’s more color tone. But when it comes to just the interaction between Leo and Ravi, the colors are toned down and washed out. I believe this is to differentiate between the internal struggle and the indication of what’s real and what’s not. In most music videos, what’s shown is usually a person’s actions and you have to guess at what they’re thinking or getting at. Ravi’s point is for you not to have to do any guesswork. He’s telling you straight out how Leo feels. There’s no way around it: the mind is still in love with his signficant other who is about to leave him. He’s lying to himself saying that he won’t miss her, he wants her to move on and be happy, and he will smile. The heart knows the truth that he, or even they, will be a miserable mess if they let her go. That’s why Ravi is trying to hard to hold onto her. You don’t have to think about it, Ravi is the subtext.
There’s something crazy about the next scene that follows outside of the fact that it looks like a bad group therapy session. Let’s take up the idea that Ravi is proposing that this is the last try…that this is all going to come down to an unanimous vote. If we all agree that you shouldn’t leave, then I will stop you from leaving. If even one of us disagrees, then I won’t stop you. The love acknowledges the ‘heart’. In fact, she doesn’t even think twice to look directly at Ravi. Moreover, she’s already looking towards him when he starts to turn his face in her direction. The two of them agree on one simple thing: I don’t want you to leave and I don’t want you to let me leave. But if you look at Leo’s actions, there’s a lot of hesitation, an unwillingness to look back at the ‘heart’, but eventually he does. Another difference is the timing of eye contact. The love and Ravi: three seconds. LR: ten seconds. There’s a sense of silent messages going on between the both of them, perhaps Ravi trying to convince the ‘mind’ that he needs to change his ‘vote’ to be in alliance with the both of them. Problem: the love knows his ‘mind’ better than the ‘heart’, so she knows that Leo’s decision isn’t going to budge. So when the ‘heart’ and ‘mind’ are silently arguing with one another, she gets up and leaves. Rewind to when the ‘heart’ looks at the ‘mind’. The moment she gets up is when Leo hesitates to give eye contact to Ravi.
When Ravi notices their love is walking away, he doesn‘t think about going after her; he just does it. It’s crazy to see how fast Ravi reacts to everything. But that’s to show how fast true feelings come about when they are strong enough. The heart tends to think quicker than the mind; the first to show the truth behind any sort of meaning. The mind needs time to calculate and process, thus clouding judgement and if need be, comes up of a lie for the better good. The mind thinks too much and the heart reacts faster than the mind can process.
Leo sees the ‘heart’ in pursuit and instantly gets up to stop him. Note that the light that was still when the three of them were together is now in motion to note the chaos and conflict between Leo and Ravi. The ‘heart’ lashes out, knowing that the path they’re taking is wrong, destructive, and full of regret. There’s a scene that is quickly missed with a red hallway where Leo has Ravi by his ankles on the floor, trying to stop the ‘heart’ from reaching her, but Ravi is dragging him with each determined foot step he takes. Also note for another radial color change: this might be the first and only scene in favor of the heart. Remember, anything with Leo was close to monotone with very little colors. Ravi unexpectedly has a scene where he’s showing his true feelings, despite never hiding them in the first place. This one scene seems like a win for the ‘heart’.
The last interpretive dance is between Ravi and Leo. The latter’s actions are very meek while Ravi’s is more powerful. On top of that, outside of the first section, their motions tend to oppose one another to note the internal struggle between the heart and mind. This pings back to my point earlier on the emotions of the heart. The heart is strong while the mind is weak… well not necessarily weak, but overly subjective. If the feelings or passion in your heart is true, and not restricted to the aspect of love (career, friendships, life goals, etc.), you mind may try to cloud your decision and make you rationalize if what you’re doing is right or wrong. It might interfere enough for you to not take action at all. People say to follow your heart for a reason.
For the fact that the ‘mind’ wants to upkeep this beautiful lie, he’ll do anything… Remember how I said the ‘mind’ comes off as a “Why won’t you listen to me? I’m the one in control.” Well, the ‘mind’ can’t take the ‘heart’s betrayal, ‘killing it’ and allowing it to become empty just how it is, thus loses the ability to fight back.
It’s a beautiful pain, letting you go.
I have to kill myself inside.
Swallow my tears and put on a smiling mask.
Even after she leaves, Ravi struggles to release himself from Leo’s grasp, because of his ‘death’ he’s slowly becoming less reactive and responsive. Soon, it gets to the point where the ‘heart’ is completely still…the ‘mind’ achieving what he really wanted…or what he believe he wanted. He devoid of emotions for there is nothing left. His actions cause him to lose his heart and his love. This is what Ravi desperately fought against, but the truth has come to pass. I took Ravi looking back at Leo as a simple, “I told you so.” Leo knows what he did was wrong and in realizing he has to come to terms with it, he admits:
I’m a beautiful…
No, a cowardly liar