When we talk about two weeks before its September 27 release, Key hadn’t seen the music video for his new single, “Bad Love.” It was still on the editing room floor. Each scene plays out in the K-pop star‘s head as he breaks down details for Allure, though.
With his platinum bowl cut perfectly coifed and eye shadow at peak smokiness, Key very well could have walked right off set and into an SM Entertainment conference room to hop on Zoom with me. But I know even if that were the case, Key doesn’t simply play out someone else’s ideas and go through the motions. These are his ideas being cut and stitched together, and Key says he’s already imagining his next music video.
But we’re here to focus on “Bad Love,” which takes us to the ’70s-era retro space world of Key’s dreams, complete with ‘80s rockstar vibes and a hint of ’90s kitsch. Key calls it a salad bowl of trends. All play out on his version of old-school Hollywood sets — like the ones Star Trek or 2001: A Space Odyssey would film on, he notes. Throughout the three-and-a-half-minute video, Key slips on a variety of suits, but none of them are of the standard crisp-lapeled black jacket, white collared shirt, and sleek tie variety. Key would never go as simple and traditional as that. Instead, sequins, silks, loud prints, pleather, and gloves (so many varieties of gloves) are involved. “I got inspiration from, of course, David Bowie,” Key says. “I love him.”
Ziggy Stardust-esque makeup would be an obvious accompaniment, but Key took more of a The Man Who Fell to Earth route. Throughout “Bad Love,” his skin is pristine, brows are bleached, and cheeks glow peach in an otherworldly way. Key’s eyes are even rimmed in subtle-yet-sooty eye makeup that the spangled entertainer who preceded him often adorned his own lids with.
“I always tell my team to make my makeup matte and not glowy,” Key adds. But wait, he clarifies his foundation doesn’t have to be 100 percent matte. A natural glow moment is always welcomed. Key’s music videos and performances — with SHINee and solo — typically involve heavy eye makeup, though, so to emphasize it, “my skin needs to be quite plain, very matte,” he continues. Fair enough.