On March 2, 2015, 20 months after his last release, JYJ’s Xia returns with his anticipated third studio album, Flower. Xia brought drama and artistic flare influenced by his musical performances with the forlorn title track, “Flower.”
When Xia releases a music video, he pushes boundaries and perceptions with elaborate sets, costumes, and dance routines; often setting a new standard for other K-pop idol groups to reach. With “Flower,” Xia has taken viewers to a post-apocalyptic world that is both decadent and desolate, and showcased in two different sets. The first is a desolate wasteland highlighted in dark muted colors; the second is a rich decadent hall highlighted in white, with gold furnishing and embellishments. Two contrasting scenes signify the ending of one world: a rich, decadent world and beginning of a new world: a bleak wasteland with zero luxury. A little girl showcases the new worlds’ loss of innocence: laughing at Xia’s pain when expelling the blue liquid and burning up from the inside.
The potential cause for the apocalypse is hinted at a decapitated robot head, which masked tattooed men are carrying into the hall at the beginning. The masked individual throws the head towards Xia to show that they are undefeated. Xia melts the robot head down in an elaborate coffee machine, which then turns into a thick liquid; he then proceeds to intake it as a luxurious drink.
Highlighting the post-apocalypse world further is a disfigured fish and horse, which are featured at later points in the video showing how the world’s inhabitants have been poisoned by the world’s ruination. The disfigured fish is used in the story line when Xia is sitting and being served a covered plate; this implies that Xia ate the fish, but later in the video, he expels blue liquid, which signifies a poison of some type. The disfigured horse on which Xia is sitting astride, shows that he is taking control of the new world.
In addition to dramatic scenes, a simple but sharp dance routine accompanies the video. Xia is well-known for having fast paced or complicated dance routines in his music videos. However, the dance routine for “Flower” is kept simple to stop the video from going over the top with the dramatic artistic concept.
The backing track is different from standard K-pop sound. The sound is influenced by Xia’s time starring in musicals. Two different instrumental pieces are used: a simple and an ornate instrumental accompanied by operatic singing and a selection of sweeping strings. The backing track has high and low notes to captivate the listeners with operatic singing used to intensify the listeners’ feelings. The instrumentals heighten their feeling because the video is intense and dramatic, unknowing of what is coming next in the video or song regardless of the number of times the video has been watched. YG Epik High Tablo‘s rapping skills have been utilized to add a dramatic flare to both the video and song.
The English translation of the lyrics are: “The countless scars that imprison me / They’re like sad thorns that dig into me” and “Your life Your soul Your world / They cannot kill it / Look at me, I’ve died but I opened my eyes again, I killed it.” The lyrics have influenced the story line, showcasing Xia’s pain written in the lyrics. Xia’s songwriting skills are influenced by life experiences, with “Flower” addressing the idea of standing up against everything.