[Review] SNSD’s “Catch Me If You Can” is simplicity at its finest

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After what seemed like an eternity, SNSD has finally provided a music video for the #CatchGG nonsense with “Catch Me If You Can.” And while any SNSD K-pop release is almost guaranteed to command the attention of anyone who follows the genre, “Catch Me If You Can” carries extra weight for being the group’s first comeback since they kicked lost Jessica due to still-unclear circumstances.

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about “Catch Me If You Can” is that the loss of the Ice Princess is never really felt at all. Despite the rather unfortunate loss of one of its members, “Catch Me If You Can” is the most coherent and straightforward music video that SNSD has made in a long time. Unsurprisingly, it’s also one of the group’s better efforts as well.

The no-frills EDM approach to “Catch Me If You Can” isn’t particularly surprising given SNSD’s comebacks over the past few years, but this may be the most direct approach that the group has yet taken to an EDM-inspired song. While some parts already sound fairly dated (the dub-steppish breakdowns during the choruses are particularly egregious offenders), the production is noticeably tighter in “Catch Me If You Can” than any SNSD K-pop single since “The Boys” (and unlike “The Boys,” “Catch Me If You Can” has a pulse).

The synths are used perfectly to contrast the grungier verses from the slightly sweeter buildups to the choruses. The group’s vocals are much more noticeably processed, and it works incredibly well given the instrumental track and the fact that SNSD isn’t a group that is particularly well-known for its vocal prowess. There may not be anything very groundbreaking here, but “Catch Me If You Can” is consistent and solidly conceived from start to finish, and that makes it very good.

If the song is solid, the video for “Catch Me If You Can” is as close to flawless as one could hope for from SM Entertainment. The intro is unnecessarily long (what the cityscape has to do with a construction site is beyond me), but once the music video gets to the meat of the content, “Catch Me If You Can” shines.

The sunny yellows and dusky dirt give the video a grittiness that it sorely needs to complement the sterility of the song. The night scenes are beautifully lit and fully clear, and the complete lack of seizure-inducing lights is praise-worthy in and of itself. Camera cuts are used economically and smartly, where instead of slamming the viewer with frenzied individual cuts, the video often uses pans for transitions instead, which gives “Catch Me If You Can” a wonderful sense of momentum. The heavy use of a panning camera also does so much work for SNSD because the group has a lot of members and their choreography usually manages to be surprisingly complex given the amount of girls on stage. The lack of smash cuts lets the viewer fully appreciate the full choreography (which is fantastic), while the use of panning prevents the video from looking like a static choreography video.

As far as dance-in-a-box concepts go, “Catch Me If You Can” nails all the strengths of one while it manages to dodge many of concept’s stale weaknesses.

It helps that SNSD looks as good as the group has ever looked before (minus the whole “no Jessica” thing). The group’s white halter tops and black cargo pants gives SNSD a believable edge that is more in-tune with the group’s maturity, and the night-time construction worker outfits pop without looking like they belong at a bachelor party. Taeyeon in particular slays this whole project in about two seconds. In terms of visuals, the long story short is: 10/10, would watch again (and again and again).

While I can’t really say that this is a “back to basics” approach for SNSD considering that EDM isn’t exactly what the group is known for, the incredible simplicity and clear structure of “Catch Me If You Can” is a much-welcomed sight for K-pop’s reigning girl group giant. As much as it pains me to say given my #IcePrincess4Life allegiance, the OT8 era is off to a damn good start.

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