Since its early days, K-pop has blended western pop with Korean sensibilities, and VIXX delved into this duality in their latest song, “Shangri-La.”
Released Monday, the single is an East-meets-West alt R&B track that incorporates traditional Korean instrumentals with future bass synths. Haunting strings, courtesy of the zither-like gayageum, and a hazy beat drive the atmospheric sound of “Shangri-La,” blending with the members’ layered vocal delivery.
Unlike many K-pop songs, “Shangri-La” has no prominent English hook and instead favors poetic lyrics (“The color dyed with you feels so far away/ And it dazzles”) to relay the East Asian vibe of the song.
VIXX released “Shangri-La” alongside a fantastical, floral-filled music video that played up the song’s dual natures. Drawing on historic imagery, the six men don modernized hanbok, traditional Korean outfits, while singing their way through a variety of boldly colored, aesthetically pleasing sets.
The video’s highlight is the the song’s choreography, which mixes modern and traditional styles as VIXX incorporates a fan dance into their powerful movements.
?The title track of VIXX’s fourth EP, “Shangri-La” is the most recent in a slew of collaborations between VIXX and production team Devine Channel. The album features four other songs, including the airy ballad “1, 2, 3, 4, 5” written by rapper Ravi.
Since their debut in 2012, the six-member boy band has earned the nickname “concept-dols” for the highly stylized concepts that the K-pop idol group has built their career around.
Prior to highlighting East Asian influences in “Shangri-La,” the group last drew on Greek mythology for inspiration with a trilogy of albums — Zelos, Hades, and Kratos — the last of which went to No. 5 on the World Albums chart last November.
Take a look at the beautiful music video for “Shangri-La” here: