Meet Olivia Hye, LOONA’s Resident “Egoist”
March 30, 2018 is a day all LOONA fans will forever remember. After 18 long months of striking productions and mind-boggling cinematography, the group has finally introduced its twelfth and final member, Olivia Hye, who has debuted with the eerie and dark-themed single “Egoist.” As it is the last piece of the “LOONAVERSE” puzzle that Blockberry Creative put out as they prepare for LOONA’s third sub-unit debut in May, fanatics were left thirsty for answers—why is there so much angst with Olivia’s narrative? What does she have to do with Heejin?
These unanswered questions have ignited varying theories that, more or less, point to one thought: Olivia Hye isn’t just another character in the story, and we see why in “Egoist.”
“Egoist” is the most aggressive solo track from any of the girls from the Eden unit; it is perhaps even the darkest out of all the solo singles done by the group. Produced with a tropical EDM base, the track greatly utilizes a subtle piano chord that producing team Artronic Waves trade in for hard-hitting synthesizers during the dance break and the rap section. The eargasmic dance break, where the song enters a semi-confusing (yet wildly captivating) state due to a change in beat counts, seamlessly transforms and prepares the listener for a dirty rap beat that fits well with JinSoul’s sleek verse.
As she comfortably sings in a lower octave in the first verse and begins steadily belting out a few highs during the bridge, Olivia’s vocal range is probably one of LOONA’s widest. In addition to her vocal capacity, her vocal tone and stability are also one of the group’s most natural-sounding. One can tell that she has the chops to become a lead vocalist when all 12 members debut together.
The Fallen Angel
The video for “Egoist” might be the most confusing music video for any LOONA material thus far. The subtle hints dropped by countless milli-second screen cuts, from the burning cygnet plushie to the Wong Kar Wai movie Fallen Angel reference during JinSoul’s solo shots, prove that Olivia’s state in “Egoist” is made up of resentment and angst—possibly to Yves.
While “Egoist” is a song about self-love, it is written from a heartbroken individual’s perspective; grasping on the idea of loving one’s self when someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to. Relating it to Olivia’s story, she might be resentful of Yves as she doesn’t help her get out of Eden, as signified in the music video by a claw machine letting go of the wolf plushie. As Yves is known to connect with members by these toys, it may mean that Olivia is one of the many toys she ignores from the claw machine, hence eventually leaving Olivia in Eden. However, as Olivia is determined to leave, even without the help of Yves, she learns to love herself in the process of leaving, as signified by her hugging herself in the video, and then climbing to the rooftop.
A few more interesting cuts in the video include Yves, Chuu, and Go Won’s informal cameos, as well as Olivia meeting Heejin, the first LOONA member. The cameos of the three Eden girls may have given the public a peek to the full concept of the new sub-unit, and the symbolic meeting between Olivia and Heejin may mean that we have completed an entire cycle in the mobius strip, signifying a new start of the cycle.
The B-Side, “Rosy,” is a duet between Go Won and Olivia, and it is a very light house-pop track that features Heejin on her first rap feature in any solo LOONA song. Utilizing firm deep-house bass mixed in with a few snaps and light bit-synths, the song remains very subtle throughout. Sticking to the vocal style LOONA is known for, “Rosy” stays at a steady and airy vocal range before a static break happens before the bridge.
The “Eden Sub-Unit”
Now that all 12 members of the group have been revealed to the public, all eyes are on the new sub-unit of the group. As proven by the great amount of growth in music video hits and sales, LOONA has achieved a new high as Olivia Hye’s release became the fastest watched video from the group so far. With Go Won also breaking the 5,000 sales mark with her solo album, the fandom of the group has definitely grown since Heejin debuted in 2016. However, the LOONA narrative is still far from over. As the number of unanswered questions grow with each release, the stories of the 12 girls never cease to unfold. With Olivia’s struggles being revealed in “Egoist,” one can only wonder what her real connection with Yves, Chuu, and Go Won is. Hopefully, it gets answered with the sub-unit release. We can’t deal with another cliffhanger!