KPOP Tuesdays: GD’s “미치GO”
By Olivia of WangGuk
watch video before you read :] >>
This week, I’m going to write about a music video that I really disliked at first. In fact, it wasn’t until just this week, after ignoring it since it first came out, that I actually started to appreciate it. An unexpected love: G-Dragon’s 미치GO or MichiGo.
When this song and video first came out, I was like “Okay so Crayon but a slightly different beat and much more crazy and messed up. Cool.” I didn’t like it at all and I felt like, after Crayon had just come out, it was a complete cop-out and just a bad copy of everything in Crayon. I was actually really disappointed in GD for a while because I felt like the video lacked creativity.
This past week, as I have been falling in love over and over with his newest album (songs from which I’ll review in future posts), I re-visited some of GD’s earlier work. I always love to do this because you can really see an artist’s growth and development over time by looking through all of their work in order. I started with his super old stuff (all that hip-hop rap and more; that good old stuff) and I finally got to 미치GO, and I was like, “Well yeah but I hate this so I’m not going to watch it.” But then I forced myself to re-watch it (I often do this. I listen to a song I know I hate, try a food I know I hate for the 60th time— just to make sure I still hate these things). And upon re-watching the video, I discovered that I actually love it for a ton of different reasons.
First, this song and video are completely GD. This video doesn’t lack any creativity (no idea what I was thinking before; I was probably on my period or something), nor does it lack musical quality. And although musical quality can be very subjective, I think we must agree that GD never lacks in this department. And 미치GO is no exception. The beat is in fact unique and quite different than Crayon’s beat and backdrop. Some have complained that it is annoying and repetitive and there is no depth to the song itself. COMpletely false, in my opinion. We’ll explore why.
If we look at the visual effects in the video, there is A LOT going on. I mean, there’s this freaky crazy subway with bowl-cut GD riding some giant pink elephant, there’s curly-cue GD who’s trying to read his book, there’s these creepy weird people with masks for faces, and everyone is dancing crazy like someone just dropped a serious acid-bomb on this train. Visually, it’s a lot to take in. Especially if you’re just going to sit through it once and think you’re ready to judge it as a whole. Once we get out of the subway for a little while, there’s this scene where poor curly-cue GD is at the doctor’s office, trying to fix his now suddenly elephantine feet (how did these suddenly grow out of nowhere?), which is spliced with a scene where afro-pic-wearing GD is peeing in this creepy green-lit bathroom— peeing but trying to dance at the same time. This is further spliced with the scene where GD is getting spanked by his mask-face mother and father, as he says “feels goooood.”
It continues with these scenes, also spliced by a library scene where little curly-cue GD is still trying to read under a table, but keeps getting interrupted by all the other crazy GDs and people dancing and jumping and screaming all over the place. This leads to the scene where a fancy Thom Browne-coat-and-trousered GD is shooting the feet of curly-cue GD with a GD-branded laser-gun, making him dance and flail so as not to get zapped.
Yes, visually, it’s a lot to take in. Especially if we’re just going to call this a weird hodge-podge mess of a bunch of randomly selected weird, creepy, or somewhat-disturbing ideas thrown together into one MV. But it’s so much more than that. Let’s break it down.
I don’t think anything in this video is random. Everything coincides perfectly with the lyrics. The lyrics consist of a GD saying “today I’m michigo, today I’m michigo, today I’m michigo” and other things he repeats several times, like “dirty mad fiesta” (found several translations and it seems that no one really knows what he’s saying there; I think it’s “fiesta”), “today I shake it” and other things. The title of the song, “MichiGo,” is a mix of Korean and English. “미치” (pronounced like “michi”) means “crazy” in Korean and “go” is in English. So put together it literally is “crazy go”— “go crazy.”
This is repeated throughout the song, which is fitting because the song itself is chaos. It’s about going crazy. The reason I like this song so much is because, to me, it almost feels like a video that illustrates the inside of GD’s mind. Now, I’m not GD and I don’t presume to know or comprehend what goes on in his mind, but to me, this video is like an encompassing picture of what GD’s life is like. He starts off as this scared innocent little kid and then he jumps on this express train that takes him into another world. In this world, he meets all of his alter-egos and subconscious selves. There’s the crazy twisted GD who doesn’t even recognize his parents anymore (“mother, father, who are you?”) and then there’s the little boy GD who’s still a kid and who’s still trying to survive, reading under the table, amidst all of the crazy different GDs who keep emerging.
The feet, to me, are a metaphor for this. The scenes where little curly-cue GD’s feet are getting too big communicate the crazy GD trying to take over the body of the little kid GD. All of these GDs are trying to fit in one body and he’s just one guy, so this swelling of self occurs, so to speak. And throughout the song, GD keeps saying “dance, dance!” like it’s a command, almost like he’s telling himself to dance. Also, at the beginning and end, he says, “I want to go back—No! Shut up!” almost like there is one GD speaking to another. If we roll with the idea that this song is a bunch of GDs fighting to be one body or one whole person, these lyrics become like a dialogue between his alter-egos. Like all his different selves fighting each other and talking to each other. And the rest of the chaos going on, like the guys carrying stacks of books and boxes that keep falling, just solidifies the image of chaos that’s inside him. It’s like GD the kid, who started writing music when he was six, is still there, but now he exists amidst a GD who is constantly changing and developing, going crazy with fame and fortune and all the rest— like the kid’s just trying to keep up with the celebrity. And at the end, when GD the little curly-cue kid gets off the train, he’s got this weird virus, almost like all those GDs are dancing around in him, fighting for control. He’s now got both inside him— GD the kid and GD the crazy. Who’s the real GD? All of the above. It’s a crowded room in there. It always is inside a human mind, I think. We’re each so many different selves in one.
So this might be completely not what GD was thinking when he created this, but for me, I learned to appreciate it by viewing it in this manner. After seeing it as a picture of the inner GD, it really struck me as not only artistic and strikingly creative, but also rather sad. It now sounds like both a crazy fun dance party song sung by the crazy artist GD and also a lament and cry of chaos from the innocent little boy GD that’s still in there too, whose life is moving too fast for him. It’s just a creative piece altogether. GD’s always one to make me think twice. And now I love it more than I ever thought I would.
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