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Article. Rieun Kim
Photo Credit. BELIFT LAB
​ENHYPEN’s songs chronicle the group’s journey. The boys competed with the song “Flicker” on I-LAND, the audition program through which they were selected, and the songs “Given-Taken” and “Drunk-Dazed”—lead singles from their debut album, BORDER: DAY ONE, and its follow-up, BORDER: CARNIVAL, respectively—seemed to connect the supernatural world of the albums with the reality of ENHYPEN’s struggle to prove themselves as a group in the pop music industry after I-LAND. And ENHYPEN’s performances naturally become a record of where they are at each moment, shrinking their world down to the stage. In fact, taking a look at ENHYPEN’s performances is like taking stock of the group’s journey. It’s for this reason that this article will go over the performances they’ve put on leading up to their new album, DIMENSION: DILEMMA. Here is the story of ENHYPEN, the group that ran till they were out of breath to get across the border.
“Flicker”: the power that connects everything
The idea behind “Flicker” is to focus on each individual member through the composition of the choreography, various choreographic devices, and camerawork. Other than when all the members come forward to dance as a group during the chorus, whenever one of them takes the spotlight, all the other members are essentially hidden. When HEESEUNG sings, “in a far-off place,” all focus is on him as JAKE and SUNOO dance together with the backup dancers, their faces down; when JAKE sings of “crossing countless nights,” HEESEUNG and SUNOO hide themselves behind the passing curtains. The way the camera whirls once around during the second verse to highlight the members one by one is particularly symbolic. JUNGWON dances solo, then the camera swings around to reveal SUNGHOON and NI-KI performing a duet, followed by HEESEUNG’s solo, and SUNOO gestures for the camera to turn back around to look from the front. Only after each member has been illuminated in their own scenes in turn does the camera move back to where it started to reveal the boys gathering one by one for a group dance. Considering that “Flicker” was originally performed as a mission on I-LAND, the audition show where ENHYPEN caught their break, it’s easy to see how the choreography is suited to exhibiting their individual talents. But after the “Flicker” performance highlights each member one after the other, it brings them all back together. After JUNGWON and JAY dance just the two of them in front of the curtains, the chorus kicks in, SUNGHOON sings, “connecting the world that was disconnected,” and the members form a long line as they stand together and link arms. The members were acting like they were in all different times and places—scattered in “a far-off place” for “countless nights”—but are reconnected to one another through performance. They pull off a perfectly flowing dance thanks to the cooperation of the meticulously organized members as they each hide behind curtains after their moment in the spotlight and stay out of sight as they wait for their turn with the camera. The thorough performance acts as a vehicle for ENHYPEN to convey both their team’s and their individual charms to ENGENE, their fandom whom they couldn’t see in person on I-LAND or even after their debut. ENHYPEN had to make themselves stand out on the I-LAND stage in a brief flash, or “Flicker,” of a moment. At the time, COVID-19 prevented them from even meeting their fans, but their shining, connected performance in “Flicker” reproduces the way the members connect with each other and with ENGENE while on stage. As the song says: “Even without touching, it’s like you and me are one.”
“Given-Taken”: a synopsis through performance
The choreography for “Given-Taken” reflects the story in the song. When JAY sings of “countless stars, countless moons,” the members shape their arms into stars and moons behind him, and they link arms to create a moving horizon while SUNGHOON sings, “You call me over the thin line / I who calls you.” Unlike how the members took turns hiding behind curtains and off-camera in “Flicker,” here they are always visible and provide the mise en scène for each other; the messages in the lyrics are conveyed intuitively through the detailed backgrounds that reflect them. As HEESEUNG sings, “I flip over the world,” the other members simultaneously twist around, and they all take calculated steps when he sings, “I step into the sky.” The background that the members form and the changes they go through match up with the narrative given in the lyrics. HEESEUNG sings, “My fingers pointing to you keep staining red,” and dances with everything he’s got, then joins the other members in a climactic scene as they pretend to shoot arrows into the sky, after which the group dances together, switching from careful steps to kicking high into the air with the words, “I step into the sky.” Throughout this whole process, the events and changes that ENHYPEN go through in the lyrics are reflected in the choreography as well. Just before the words “I walk to you” in the chorus, the group moves slowly and sluggishly to the music as if as one single organism. The boys portray themselves through their performance as fantastical or unknown, transforming into mysterious beings with fangs in the “Given-Taken” music video. ENHYPEN’s world grows and changes much in the way they begin and end their performance with the same motion of opening up their eyes between their fingers. The performance puts a cinematic visual spin on the story in the lyrics and immerses the viewer in the process. This is the moment that the world of ENHYPEN, one that connects reality and fantasy, begins to break open.
“Drunk-Dazed”: youthful energy perfects the performance
The members of ENHYPEN stumble around approaching the camera as if they’re going to die in the intro of “Drunk-Dazed,” but they exhibit overflowing energy during the chorus as they leap all at the same time, and they run with their arms and legs stretched down and out and jump all together when JAY sings about “the way you want it.” They move in unusual ways like straightening out their arms and legs and cracking their wrists to resemble undead creatures like vampires and zombies and demonstrate their electric energy to the fast, intense EDM beat. And it’s with these fast, intense movements that the boys act out their inner feelings. The way JAKE and HEESEUNG hold their heads and express confusion one after the other during the lyrics, “Honestly I’m scared / The world’s drunk in a swirling glass / At the edge is my burning heart,” seems to represent their less-than-optimal energy. With the words “Daze Daze Daze” in the chorus, the members slowly wave their hands in front of their eyes then lie on the floor and turn themselves like a clock—movements that can be read as both showing intoxication and as a metaphor for confusion. It’s as though the energy in “Drunk-Dazed” repeatedly rises and falls and is closer to desperation than it is to any kind of excitement at a carnival. Even though they started with a rough stumble, they synchronize the angles of their arms and legs between them, and even after the dizziness implied by the way they twist around on the floor, they still manage to get back up and dance. The secret to a festival that everyone wants to watch is, in the end, a youthful, energetic performance where the show must go on even with all the confusion and distress. As contradictory lyrics like “trapped in the carnival” and “revel in it, this carnival” show, the members of ENHYPEN have to do their best to keep performing at an indescribable carnival, which reflects the situation in which they had just released their second album in real life: That’s the fate of new artists who can take to the stage as the main characters in their full-scale performances but must still perform their hearts out in order to prove themselves. And it’s the reason why, after NI-KI sings about “light that’s been given to me / Flames of a torch” and the other members assemble themselves into a throne for him that the lyrics continue, “Till I own it, Imma ride”: to reflect that reality. No wonder they dance with all their might—no wonder they “feel it, my head’s in a Daze Daze Daze.”
“FEVER”: a fantasy of powerless passion
To put it simply, “FEVER” is about powerless passion. The choreography begins with JAKE lying down, his eyes covered by the other members who then apparently disassemble. They’re “standing in front of” the listener’s “throne” and feel how “a fire burns inside” them as they shake their arms violently and then, though they sing how “my body is burning up because of you / My heart thirsts because of you” and “want to embrace you,” they only hug themselves, putting their arms around their own bodies. The way JAY puts his hand on his own neck as he sings, “The more I hurt the more I want you,” and the way the members all sweep their bodies to the beat of the chorus (“Like a fever, fever, fever, fever”) seems to symbolize the heat gradually spreading through their bodies. From the beginning, “FEVER” metaphorically describes a vampire boy whose body temperature is lower than that of humans and who is looking for someone to acknowledge him, so arguably the performance is a visual representation of this vampire who’s unable to withstand humans’ higher body temperature. The movements in the choreography that emphasize powerlessness eliminate any threat posed by the mysterious creature, however. Though it’s only briefly after the first verse that the members hold their heads in one hand and catch their breath, the way HEESEUNG collapses exhausted during the bridge removes any danger from vampires or different otherworldly creatures. Energetic movements are mixed in throughout, like when NI-KI and SUNGHOON try to touch each other while dancing and singing, “I cannot touch you, never / But I’m drawn to you,” or when NI-KI and HEESEUNG dance to the fast beat alone with passive lyrics like, “My Sun, stop Baby oh baby / I beg you, do something anything,” as if expressing their desperation for another person. Taken all together, the performance for “FEVER” encapsulates what it’s like to express a desire for someone but leave the choice up to them. The intense energy that comes with wanting that other person is offset by a combination of movements that demonstrates weakness. This is a fantasy that’s both powerless and passionate at the same time, opening up the possibility for the story to be completed through the view of another person—the object of desire, placed on a throne. ENHYPEN borrow elements of fantasy to portray their existential crisis in “Given-Taken” and “Drunk-Dazed,” and while they use fantasy again in their performance of “FEVER,” this time it’s to direct a message to someone else rather than themselves. Here, ENHYPEN, who kept up the pace from I-LAND all the way through to “Drunk-Dazed,” express, for the first time, their feelings about another person, not about their ambitions, within the same fantastical framework.
“Tamed-Dashed”: how ENHYPEN keep dashing forward
The performance for “Tamed-Dashed” reenacts a sports stadium on the stage. The choreography opens with the members of ENHYPEN scrumming as if starting a match, standing symmetrically opposed as though split into teams and then running toward one another as they sing, “Like hot summer / Just dash.” The members pretend to tackle each other as in a game of American football as JAKE sings, “I’m addicted to this hazy dream,” in the second verse, while they throw the rugby ball around in the bridge. As the match unfolds, the boys keep running around and bumping into each other, conveying an upbeat, unhesitating energy to the backdrop of a cheerful rock song reminiscent of American teen movies of the 1980s. In the chorus, however, they slowly fan themselves, and run around as though in slow motion, singing, “just dash.” Just when it feels like they should be running around as fast as they can, ENHYPEN shows restraint and the members move their shoulders and legs to the beat in four small motions. In “Drunk-Dazed,” the boys jumped up high to prove themselves; now they no longer push themselves too hard to achieve their goals. They’ve replaced the urgency they felt back then with an ambition that allows them to run without worrying about the results.

As when SUNGHOON sings of the “dilemma of choice” and the other members stand on either side of him to think things over or when they sing, “please don’t leave me now,” and make “my compass” with their hands, anxiety is always lurking around the corner. No one can know whether they’ll be successfully tamed by some new desire or else be dashed away by it in failure. Nevertheless, when HEESEUNG sings, “even if it’s not the answer,” the other members surround him and take the starting positions one does before a game. ENHYPEN emerged into the world through I-LAND and had to prove themselves against numerous competitors through their BORDER series. After showing off their capabilities over two albums, they have arrived in this new DIMENSION, and an infinitely vast ocean is spread out in front of them. So they “just dash.” “Even if it’s not the answer,” ENHYPEN’s mad dash begins now—and they’re ready to run.
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