NewsHere’s Looking at JENNIE, the Queen of the Full Moon in “You & Me”

Here’s Looking at JENNIE, the Queen of the Full Moon in “You & Me”

Moon Prism Power, make up! So goes the catchphrase uttered by Usagi (aka Serena) Tsukino, the main character and guardian of love and justice from Naoko Takeuchi’s celebrated series Sailor Moon. Takeuchi drew the illustration that acts as cover art for JENNIE’s special single “You & Me.” In Takeuchi’s series, protagonist Usagi’s powers are unrivaled even among the other Sailor Guardians as she’s the reincarnation of Princess Serenity of the Moon Kingdom who lived during the Silver Millennium. As Sailor Moon, the shining center of the Sailor Guardians, Usagi expertly executes her array of attacks and harnesses the power of the Silver Crystal once she awakens to her true potential and transforms into a princess.

It’s obvious why JENNIE chose to channel Sailor Moon for “You & Me.” She performed the song solo all during the BORN PINK world tour, which ran from last October to earlier this year. It’s an impressive sight, watching her dance with a partner beneath a full moon as it casts its pale glow on the stage, continue her choreography with a group of female dancers, then wrap the performance up with a male dancer in front of a blood moon—making the lyrics, “I love you and me / Dancing in the moonlight,” ring true for anyone who watches. JENNIE also sang its jazz version at a Chanel event in Tokyo back in June, along with “Fly Me to the Moon” by Frank Sinatra and “Killing Me Softly” by Fugees. During her solo performances throughout the world tour, she was the Moon’s muse.

When the Moon is the main character, it feels like the Earth revolves around it, unlike in the real universe. In this way, JENNIE and Sailor Moon share something in common: Just as the fictional character was born to be Princess Serenity—the one-time ruler of the Solar System during the Silver Millennium—the idol’s pop star status is unparalleled today. The story of Sailor Moon begins with Usagi bound to the Earth, unaware of the fact that she’s a princess. JENNIE, though, is closer to Neo-Queen Serenity, who rules over her future intergalactic kingdom in the second Silver Millennium after she has regained her powers and her rule is restored. She doesn’t dance as a princess but as a queen. It’s an amazingly noble and piercing performance that no one but her could ever achieve.

It’s in this context that JENNIE performs with such confidence, elegance, and poise, and here, balletcore is her fashion of choice. Starting last year and continuing on into this year, JENNIE sported a variety of balletcore outfits while performing “You & Me.” Balletcore is an emerging fashion trend that takes ballet clothes and turns them into everyday wear, with articles that emphasize the shoulders’ curves, light layers, wrap skirts, lace garments, and ballet shoes. The trend became widely known in Korea thanks to the photos of JENNIE from the world tour. The primary appeal of balletcore lies in its femininity, accentuated by its use of ribbons and lace, and JENNIE coordinates the look perfectly with the feel of “You & Me”—whether it’s the attention to arm movements in the beginning of the choreography, the partnered dance where the two performers move in silhouette, or the second time through the chorus when she, with backup dancers showcase expertly restrained movements. Everyone’s been talking about the performance since the world tour, and now everyone can see it thanks to the performance video that was recently released.

Let’s talk about the music itself. It sounds like a typical love song at first, but JENNIE’s love in “You & Me” isn’t about the person she’s dancing with. Rather, the singer is specifically in love with the act of dancing with the said person in the moonlight—exultation in the beautiful moment spent together with the person she loves and supports. Throughout the lyrics, the word “love” is repeatedly attached to the scenery surrounding them, while her feelings directly related to her partner are limited to descriptions using the word “like.” Behind sweet words like, “Ain’t nobody gonna have your back / Like the way I do,” and, “Everything you do / Everything you did / Everything I wish I was with,” there are also subtle warnings: “You love it, just say you do,” and, “I don’t care about your first love / This should be your last one.” It’s the same reason the second verse opens with, “You’re the reason my heart skips drops / Just a little touch, my world stops,” then goes to, “Finally I know that you’re mine.” What best symbolizes the power game in play here is the way the song shifts away from dance pop toward the end, shuffling off the melodic bass that had driven things forward in favor of a heavier rhythm. The boy in the song, already completely captivated by his muse, is thrown into a fit of passion so intense he can’t even think straight. JENNIE stands as a detached observer and bids him a simple adieu, making it clear who the dominant one in the relationship is.

Topping off the engaging narrative of “You & Me” are JENNIE’s amazing singing and rapping. The song perfectly highlights that rare quality among solo K-pop performers: possessing both exceptional vocals and rap skills. She’s a vocal chameleon over the course of three minutes, affectionate and confident in the verses but subtle and mysterious in her moonlight serenade that fills the chorus after the drop. She shakes up the song’s storyline by shifting her perspective while rapping, almost as though embodying a completely different character. The short bursts of singing she interweaves into the rap inject the tune with even more contrast.

“I’m a shining solo,” JENNIE declared in her song “SOLO,” in one of the most impressive solo debuts of a K-pop group member in history. The track was released on November 12, 2018; “You & Me” is her first solo single since then, and it’s already making people excited to see what other singles or albums she’s going to release in the future. It’s exciting to watch the ordinary middle schooler Usagi transform into Sailor Moon, but we’re always waiting to see what she will be like in her final form when she becomes Sailor Cosmos or Neo-Queen Serenity. JENNIE, meanwhile, is already a full moon.

cr. Weverse

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