This week I’ll be reviewing Topp Dogg’s….Top Dog a.k.a. I Realize That Topp Dogg Sounds Like the Name of a Show on Nickelodeon But Holy Crap This Is A Really Good Concept MV.
The Song + MV Plot
Firstly, I know nothing about classical music. Pianos scare me and people in white wigs intimidate me. The first time I heard this song and saw the MV, I was far from blown away. My best friend (who is the biggest Topp Dogg fangirl) showed me the MV and I kind of zoned out and started playing Flappy Bird in my head. I thought – futuristic videogame? Ooh guy in the hat is hot and has killer fashion sense. Got it. But then my best friend kept talking about how amazing this MV was and I just did not understand. That is, until she explained the history of Mozart and Salieri to me. In the MV, B-Joo (Mr. Curly Head) plays Mozart and Hansol (Mr. Creepy Contacts) plays Salieri.
The MV follows the story of the two classical composers’ (supposed) rivalry. Mozart was the young child protege loved by everyone whose arrogance eventually led to massive debt and an early death by phenomena. Salieri was an older composer who was equally as talented as Mozart, but was often times overlooked because of the younger composer’s fame and circling sensationalism. Thus, this MV and song are literally an epic historical rap battle. How hilariously awesome is that? Even the group’s new mini album is named after the film Amadeus, which tells the story of the rise and fall of Mozart and his famous rivalry.
If you read the lyrics, you suddenly realize why the Mozart reference is so important. Topp Dogg are singing about being at the bottom of the music industry, obscured by the shadows of much larger groups that fit a more commercial image. They assert that “this song will be a lighthouse in the darkness,” or a beacon of hope/glimmer of uniqueness. The song states that other groups create a fake “skin” (image) and are easily discarded and recreated (“Others shine for a moment and self-destruct.”). But Topp Dogg will not fall because they will stay true to the kind of music they want to do. The challenges make them grow as a group and increases their hunger and passion (“I’m a flower that bloomed from the mud.”). They are used to hardships and will not wait for fame to be simply handed to them. My favorite line is by A-Tom who warns, “Wait till the end, see who remains last. Sparkling masterpiece.” In other words, those that pursue music as a business and do not truly love their craft, will eventually fade and never be remembered. But those that are proud of the music they produce will never tire and create classical songs that will never be forgotten. The songs most important question is, “The price of a soul. How much?” and the answer is, “I told you, I’m Topp Dogg. T-O-DOUBLE-P-D-O-DOUBLE-G-TOP-DOG!” (I’m sorry, that part has been stuck in my head for the past two days.)
As for the composition, the song samples a Mozart piece, which is awesome. It’s great to see other K-Pop bands trying to infuse the classical with the modern (like the Brown Eyed Girls did with their Sixth Sense album).
In the MV, you have fire bursts, a snowstorm, frantic winds, and structures that erupt from the very core of the earth. I think this is symbolism at its best. The MV shows the group literally struggling against all the elements and growing tougher after each confrontation. In addition, the futuristic-holographic booths that B-Joo (“Mozart”) and Hansol (“Salieri”) stand in are very reminiscent of a mixing board. So the battle isn’t just of “classical pieces” but of overall, modern production value. They are the composers, the manipulators, the creators. They control the elements around them. It is their music that creates the hellish environment and sudden catastrophes. What is causing these anomalies isn’t just their musical war and hostility, but the fact that they are making music that is alien to the atmosphere. In other words, the hardships are a direct result of daring to be different. (throws confetti)
Yes. Yes. And Yes. This dance was pretty awesome. It literally had a leading composer (which was either B-Joo or Hansol) that controlled the notes/keys (the other members) in a wave-like motion. So the main dancer in the center acted like the instrument and the other members were the flowing music. One of my favorite moves was the one where all of the members turn toward the centered dancer and extend their hands towards him, as if giving him their power. So music is literally a power source in the dance. But my ultimate favorite move was when the song ends and Hansol turns and hunches against B-Joo’s back, symbolizing Salieri being stuck in Mozart’s shadow. I also loved how in the end, all the members (or notes) are in Mozart’s side, as if he’s won and taken the legacy.
First of all, A-Tom is fabulous (I know his name sounds like a GPS but how can you stay mad at someone wearing such a flawless hat?) I also loved how the wardrobe was 1800s meets Seoul Fashion Week.
(Sidenote: Please vote for the group here in Eat Your Kimchi. My best friend wants them to get reviewed so they’re more “appreciated.” There is literally a knife to my throat right now as I say this with a smile. No seriously, vote, these guys are pretty awesome…and I value my life.)
MV Rating: 4 Stars/ 5 Stars