CROSS GENE is a group that debuted back in 2012 with their album Timeless: Begins. Since then, they have had many impactful comebacks, including their song “Black or White,” which stands out from the rest with its dark concept and focus on mental health throughout the music video. While the video for “Black or White” may seem unnecessarily gory and graphic to some, we can see just how thought out all of it is.
The concept for “Black or White” is particularly interesting, as the song is actually composed of two separate songs: “Black Mind” and “White Mind.” To create both songs, the (at the time) six-member group was divided into two units, Black Unit and White Unit, each containing three members. “Black or White” was made by taking the chorus from “White Mind” and everything else from “Black Mind,” including the bridge, which is shared by all three songs. Despite this, if you were to play both “Black Mind” and “White Mind” at the same time, you would just get chaos, because the focus of the songs is to find that balance by picking and choosing the best parts of these two sides.
The Black Unit included Seyoung, Takuya and Casper, and worked on the song “Black Mind,” which focuses on a relationship in which neither partner seems to trust each other. This is because the so-called black mind of this person has learned from past experiences to not trust anyone, partly because they have a similar corruption on the inside. In fact, right from the beginning of the song, it is noticeable that this main character is just afraid of trusting whoever their partner is because they’re convinced they’ll simply be hurt in the end.
The White Unit was composed of the three remaining members, Shin, Sangmin, and Yongseok; and was in charge of the song “White Mind,” which has an opposite topic to “Black Mind” as the main character is being too trusting in this relationship. It is mentioned that the main character is blinded by their partner’s smile, and insinuated a fair amount of times that their partner might be hiding things, but the main character is too involved to see the red flags.
“Black or White” has a very interesting focus, however, as it shows that struggle for dominance between the "good" and the "bad" in each of the members. Right from the beginning of the music video, we can infer that this fight has been going on for a while, as they all seemed to have been running away from something, with the exception of Sangmin who appears to be dead in a coffin. Each of them has a different scenario, unique to them, but they all have something in common because in each scenario an evil version of themselves shows up. They are all caught by surprise, so there isn’t much of a struggle as these evil clones easily gain dominance and kill their innocent counterparts. We see them in what appears to be heaven as the bridge of the song starts.
When the darkness passes
And the light spills down
What makes my footsteps stop
Is the only one who isn’t corrupt, you
This bridge is very significant because it’s the only thing all three songs have in common. It is also right after this bridge that the good versions of the members revive, though they all seem significantly changed after their encounter with death.
This entire music video speaks to those struggling with mental health issues, particularly depression, which is a very stigmatized topic everywhere, including South Korea. It inspires fans to keep fighting, even when they feel defeated because it’s never truly over unless they’ve given up. Despite it feeling like a never-ending cycle, it is important to know that good will always overcome evil.
What other music videos are more than meets the eye? Let us know in the comments!
Cover Image: CROSS GENE (Amuse Korea)
Written by Danny Parotte