What makes VIXX special? When I think of K-pop I think of beautiful people, polished dancing, high-energy performances, flashy costumes, and big budget entertainment companies. These are a part of why I find K-pop so incredibly addictive. It’s hard to pinpoint what makes each group special, but VIXX’s individuality stands out from the many talented acts currently gracing K-pop. Why? These boys takes their concepting above and beyond. It is never just something simple like a “sexy” concept or a “masculine” concept. Their entire comeback is dressed in a well-thought out story that carries through to the group’s goodbye stage, which is what gives them an edge in the highly competitive music industry and makes them so much fun to follow and to watch!
VIXX’s debut single “Super Hero” flew the six boys onto the K-pop scene (minus the capes) as unknown comic book-like superheroes. Compared to later concepts, “Super Hero” is the broadest, but it jump-started their unique reputation as an innovative concept group. The enthused boys greeted fans with zippy lyrics that contain hope for an amazing future where they would travel the world.
A few months after “Super Hero,” the arcade game-themed “Rock Your Body” single dropped. Like “Super Hero,” it was full of energy and pep, but it dug a little further into the world outlined by its new arcade concept. The music video and live stages were full of flashing neon colors, images of mascot Rovix, and boyish haircuts and outfits. Dance moves mimicked the jerky appearance of game characters, and the lyrics promised a future full of adventure.
“On and On” crashed landed onto the music scene with an extraterrestrial feel that was completely different from its cheerful predecessor. The boys had morphed into intergalactic vampires who sported flashy new hair colors like icy blue and burnt orange, smokey eye makeup that darted up towards the temples, and nearly glowing, animal-like contacts. Their mummy-dance readily embodies their alienesque theme with its jarring and angular choreography.
VIXX went even darker with their next comeback, “Hyde” — a spin on the famous tale of Jekyll and Hyde. This was the first time that VIXX tackled a tragic and eerie concept, and what made it special was its duality. The boys were divided at all times. Each piece of the entire comeback showed the fight between light and dark, Jekyll and Hyde. Even the packaging of the album reflected the diametrically opposed personalities; a month after “Hyde,” the group released a repackaged album called “Jekyll” with the addition of new, contrasting brighter songs like “G.R.8.U,” completing the concept.
VIXX’s next album proved that these boys were not afraid to play on the edge. In fact, the concept was so daring that the choreography and video had to be altered to fit network regulations. “Voodoo Doll” embodies an incredibly risky and violent story: the members are trapped by a crazy girl and tortured via voodoo doll. There was even a giant, skull-tipped voodoo needle used as a dance prop that aided in the telling of the dark love story. The voodoo doll was also created as a prop, physically bringing the concept to life.
“Eternity,” VIXX’s sixth release despite only being in their second year, was softer in concept than “Voodoo,” but it had more emotional depth. The concept focuses on the timelessness of love no matter how scary, sad, or painful it may be. Timepieces and pieces of timepieces adorn the sets of the video and the stages. In the video cogs and clock faces float above the transient boys, giving off a feel of other-worldliness and impermanence that copies the vastness of time. Unlike the extremity of “Voodoo,” here the boys’ looks are more subdued.
Continuing the trend of sad love songs, VIXX takes on a cyborg theme with “Error” in late 2014, a song about how hard it is to forget painful love. Looking back on their other albums it’s easy to see how different this concept is in terms of musical style, performance, and choreography. The boys are always connected, like wires, whether by physical touch or unity of robotic movement. The promotions show them in varying states of electronic breakdown, the lyrics describe emotional breakdown, and the video literally breaks down Hongbin and his lady love until nothing’s left but his cyborg heart.
In VIXX’s February 23, 2015 single that is a remake of an R.ef 1995 classic, “Love Equation,” they return to a pep pier sound despite the somber lyrics. It’s a bubblegum pop sound that they had only visited on a few tracks in their earlier albums. Despite the fact that they’d gone dark side in concept for nearly a year, the boys of VIXX rally and are positively sunny on this track. It’s a breath of fresh air amongst their heavier concepts and proof of the group’s versatility. They aren’t just a dark concept group — they are so much more.
Freshly released “Chained Up” is quite a daring piece. It’s mature, very sexy, and plays with walking the line, just like “Voodoo” did. This time, however, rather than violence, the group explores their sensual side, pitting the pure white suits and innocent love with rose-red chokers and chains. The lyrics speak of wanting love, but at the same time feeling trapped by it. In one instance, we see Ken in a beautiful bed of wildflowers, and in the next we see he is trapped in a glass box. It’s a very neat concept with a lot of double entendre and a whole lot of sexy.
It’s been just over three years since VIXX graced the world with their debut. They’ve grown from boys to men in that time and now they are a highly polished, wildly successful group. Ravi has his hand in the songwriting process on almost every album and mini-album. Leo has joined him as a songwriter. Hyuk and Hongbin have grown immensely, receiving more parts and becoming much fiercer. The six members’ confidence have grown with their experience on stage, in front of the camera, and all of their promotional experiences, especially with their wicked learning curve. The evolution of VIXX has come so far and their influence has spread wide. Luckily for us, they are not done evolving.
Raine0211 is a lover of all things Korean, especially K-pop, K-drama, and Korean food. When she’s not writing for Soompi, she’s playing the cello and singing. She happily indulges in all kinds of K-pop, but her biases are SHINee, Infinite, and VIXX. She lives with her sister and her two cats, Timmy and Momo, all of whom also love K-pop and K-drama.