After teasing the hell out of us, STELLAR are back with innuendo-heavy “Vibrato“, and are also back to making songs that don’t suck.
For as much shit as the music video is about to get from everybody, “Vibrato” is actually a pretty meta at points, essentially in the same vein as “Marionette” was. If “Marionette” was commenting about how the industry controls idols and molds them into what they want, complete with choreography to match, then “Vibrato” begins with a far more effective response to the criticism they received as a result of “Marionette” than the contrived “Fool” ever will be.
Right off the bat, the music video leads with STELLAR as four barbie dolls on the TV, which is interlaced with visuals of the members being trapped in a glass box while hundreds of cameras surround them. It’s no coincidence that this all goes down while they’re in their “Marionette” outfits, and it’s not too hard to read between the lines here and figure out what’s being commented on.
Of course, the pure sexuality also comes into play, just as their outfits, choreography, and the symbolism during the bridge is more than happy to show over and over again.
This is basically what I expected/wanted in terms of the imagery. If EXID‘s “Up & Down” was phallus-central, than this was vagina-central, and I enjoyed the job the creative director did and how uncomfortable this is bound to make a lot of people.
And that uncomfortable, outrage-generating reaction to them is exactly why I find their concepts along these lines interesting. I’m not a STELLAR fan, nor do I find music videos like this particularly erotic (no, really), but it’s interesting because the whole shtick does standout as different even in the “sexy” crowd and they certainly piss a lot of people off with their mere existence. I can’t not pay attention to that.
As far as the song goes, the instrumental is really appealing from the start and hides a lot of the deficiencies of the song, including really weak rap attempts. The chorus also isn’t exactly complicated or original, but it uses the simplicity to its advantage and creates a catchy hook that the verses and pre-chorus builds effectively to. My main problem with the song comes during the part where they show all the vagina symbolism, because it cuts the momentum and really brings everything to a halt as it’s the one part that the instrumental can’t compensate for. I understand why it was done for the music video, but it’s really jarring if you’re just listening to the music.
Fortunately, the bridge misfire is not enough to ruin the track, and while not exceptional by any means, STELLAR’s “Vibrato” manages to stand a tier above most of the forgettable fluff from the summer’s girl group war.