Sam Kim, most popularly known for the tracks “Make up” and “Like a Fool,” makes his long awaited return with the jazzy, funk single “The Juice.”
Artistically playing with bright melodies and vaunting instrumentals, the song uses groovy beats to mask the deeper, complex message of feeling drained. “Juice” refers to the energy required to keep him going, which at times can feel depleted.
The music video, directed by Lee Inhoon, enhances the artist’s music style and underlying frustration experienced during the creative process with the use of opposing color palettes and trippy visuals. Implementing conversational elements in the intro and outro with phrases such as “I just had it,” the song displays his exasperation when forgetting a melody or a lyric he had in mind.
Although giggly and smiling when wearing sunglasses, once Sam takes them off he hears a voice say “Why are you like this?” leading to his face falling stoic and exhausted. In a symbolic way of remaining in the industry, he puts his glasses back on without acknowledging the voice and continues to quirkily dance about until the walls literally start caving in, almost suffocating him. The pre-chorus acts as a build up of his frustration with faint, hypnotic piano sounds while he repeatedly sings “Got me going crazy.” The song then booms into a loud, almost overwhelming explosion of vocal layering that screams “Blame it on my juice.”
The lyrics, “I never wanna hold you back / Don’t lean on me / Blame it on my juice,” show the desperate vocalist begging those around him to give him space. Although he cares and appreciates his circle, he acknowledges that he doesn’t have any energy to spare. Showing a fully human and authentic side of fame people rarely see, the conversational element appears again with “okay, yeah yeah yeah” in response to people telling him they love him. He knows that in order to be the person everyone wants him to be he needs to take time for his mental health and step away.
The use of tonal color changes in different scenes represent his hectic world in comparison to the outside world he has lost touch with. At first, the outside world appears melancholy and dull with the use of cool green and blue tones, whereas the indoors boasts vibrant warmer tones like orange, red, and yellow. After getting a glimpse of the calm outdoors, the warmer room that once felt exhilarating and full of life now feels suffocating and staged. When breaking out of the wall and running away from the vibrant room, he displays the only genuine smile seen in the entirety of the music video.
During the song’s refrain and following pre-chorus, the original piano is accompanied by heavier synthesizers to emphasize the contemplation of his next move. Seen in a dark room with projection lights surrounded by dancing silhouettes, he glances around deciding whether or not to dance with them. Slowly starting to mimic the others, he parabolically shows his decision to stay despite his hesitation.
After another chorus, the bridge accentuates the frustrating energy by both speeding up and slowing down the artist’s running through the use of syncopation. He finds himself in the final scenes dressed up, performing a dance break. As the video comes to a close, he strikes a pose with the lyrics “I got good looks and I look clean / don’t you look back and don’t you mind me / what’s the use / what’s the juice,” representing the decision to continue his work.
Overall, “The Juice” displays the relatable feeling of being drained by something that once filled you up. The combination of vibrant colors and sounds balance out the dispiriting sentiment seen on screen, making it easier to consume and showing those that may feel the same that they are not alone.
Stream “The Juice” on all streaming platforms and check out the music video below!