On Valentine’s Day, Rock N’ Seoul favorite Love X Stereo released “Zero One.” The song is the main theme for the film of same name, directed by Nick Neon.
While the music video is simply shots of lead vocalist Annie Ko interspersed between scenes from the film, the song itself has a terrible poignancy that’s hard to ignore. The film follows a young man named Jimmy Park (played by Neon himself), who comes home after four years away. The visit forces him to confront a lot of deeper pains and agonies from the life he left behind. As tends to be the case for many of us who leave home and come back to things pretty much being the same as when we left them, much of those traumas begin and end with family. Poor Jimmy has a doozy of a home life, complete with a disapproving father and homophobic sister.
To round out the overall melancholy, you have a young man of the expansive and culturally variant millennial generation, an era that is marked by the constant need for recognition without the ability to maintain human connection. It weighs on him. Thus the lyrics of the song delve into this idea of love being all but a luxury of the past. But, as in the film itself, there is a glimmer of hope in the protagonist’s desire to continue to feel… something.
So while Annie professes repeatedly, “Love is dead. It’s over,” she ends the song proclaiming that even in this bleakness she is determined to keep love within herself. That “Even though life is breaking us apart, I’m never giving up.” It’s in that declaration that we find some form of redemption. In the end Jimmy finds solace while immersed in what appears to be an increasingly chilling wave of isolation. (No spoilers, y’all. Sorry.)
The MV and the song both offer very poignant commentary on this sense of emotional limbo, this loss of anything real and personal. With “Zero One,” both Neon and Love X Stereo open viewers up, force a sort of vulnerability in us to ask and ultimately attempt to answer the question of what we really want and what we are really willing to give up (or gain) to get it.