Honestly, it has the “haters-gonna-hate” narrative done perfectly.
The MAMAMOO member has just released her first full-solo album spearheaded by the fresh drop of the music video for title track “Maria”.
Less than a year after coming out with her first solo track “Twit”, “Maria” the album comes jam-packed with the maknae’s personal experiences with critics, fame, and how it has impacted her mental health.
It comes as an album for herself, From Hwa Sa to Hwa Sa and nobody else. Hwa Sa, whose birth name is Ahn Hyejin, tells Korean Herald “Maria is an album that I put emotions into like you would in a diary. It’s the product of my sweat and tears.”
Maria, titled after her baptismal name, has the complexity that embodies an artist of versatility and soulful melodies and lyrics that can only be accompanied by the masterful mixing done to the song.
The shackles of beauty standards
As the plastic surgery boom in Koreans soars to a global high, it’s evident that the pressure weighs heavily on Korean women to fit a certain standard of beauty. This is made obvious in the way fans and antis alike criticize Korean idols and actresses according to how they’ve either gained too much weight, lost too little weight, have tanner skin, too pale skin, etc.
Hwa Sa is done with her haters hating and instead of giving into the pressure of critics demanding her to achieve whiter skin or liposuction on certain areas of her body, the artist has decided to set her “own standard of beauty” which was press released in a Mamamoo fan meet
— mundinho hyejin fumando br (@egoirstic) July 19, 2019
The music video for Maria is loaded with a visual narrative that’s truly a masterclass for all storytellers.
It starts with the singer laying dead in a pool of water with a bloodied crown of thorns beside her, presumably a metaphor for all the criticisms and bad publicity that has been thrown her way and kills her a little bit each time.
In what appears to be an empty room full of chairs, a deceased Hwasa is displayed in the middle, surrounded by flowers, in what appears to be her lonely funeral. When the song starts, we’re met with a Hwasa in a bloodied apron serving parts of a person’s body to a table of fashionably-clad people who don’t look like they’re enjoying the meal. This first verse ends with the lyrics “If you knock me down, does that feed you?” enhancing the narrative that she’s being poked and prodded, eaten alive but are also disgusting to people.
The pre-chorus encapsulates the struggles of someone who hasn’t done anything wrong and yet they are being chastised and condemned for something as shallow as their looks. Feeling lost in why people are thinking that way and having no energy or time to deal with it whatsoever but still little by little it drains you.
The chorus starts with her calling out her name in a hauntingly bewitching voice “Maria, Maria” as she dances in the middle of men and women in an exemplary display of her dance abilities as well. This is where she starts addressing herself “These are words for you”, comforting, “Why are you struggling?” and then finally reassuring, “You’re already beautiful.”
Not only does this tell us that she’s done taking all the hate, but by addressing herself in her own redemption song, she’s showing us that we don’t need anybody else to make us feel better about ourselves.
Further into the song you’ll see this snippet of the stunningly powerful scene where she takes the previously bloodied crown which killed her in the first scene, and-wait for it-moves to place it on her head as if it were a bedazzled crown.
If that wasn’t a mic drop scene for ya’ll, if that didn’t make you stan this talented queen (and also MAMAMOO) wait til the end of the video. When the beat changes from sensual to calypso-dancehall, the choreo changes as well and makes us feel like Hwasa knows she owns the floor and has completely freed herself from the shackles of society.
When the music ends and you think that’s the end of the video, you hear a doorbell ring in what seems to be Hwasa’s apartment and out comes-you guessed it-her MAMAMOO sisters Solar, Wheein, and Moonbyul, coming over to comfort Hwasa which I guess safe to say, is a representation of how much the girls have consoled her during those trying times. Wow.
This is what I’m talking about
It’s not that I’m pitting Kpop groups against each other, but just allow me to say that what BLACKPINK was trying hard to say in How You Like That, Hwasa did perfectly in Maria. Apart from that, she left us with a lasting lesson that will truly help girls around the world that while yes, it’s true that you’re always going to have judgment follow you around because of beauty standards society has and we’re still a ways away from changing that, you’ve got to set standards of your own, for yourself.
Thank you, Maria. Your kind masterpiece will always remain a blazing fire in the grim world.
Stream the full album “Maria” out now on all platforms, as well as the music video for the title track on Youtube!
Did you love Hwasa’s comeback MV as much as we did?
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