K-Pop: “HALAZIA” and ATEEZ Lore

Screenshot of Jung Wooyoung in the “HALAZIA” music video. Copyright goes to KQ Entertainment.

Hey! Hallie here!

Just like every other Atiny, I’ve been anticipating the release of “HALAZIA” for most of December. There was so much excitement not just for this song, but for what it might mean for ATEEZ’s current storyline. ATEEZ has been slowly and carefully crafting a huge story across all of their albums, and even across separate performances like the ones they did on the competition show ‘Kingdom’. “HALAZIA” promised to be a big part of the storyline, especially with the imagery of Halateez (Or the alternate versions of ATEEZ introduced in “HALA HALA”,) throughout the music video teasers. Now that the song and the MV are out there’s a lot to talk about and even more to speculate about. Before I go into the specifics of this song and its MV, though, I’m going to give a synopsis of the lore so far for the Atiny who haven’t read the notes in ATEEZ’s albums or don’t know much about the lore. My focus is going to be the notes because we’ve discussed the performances and MVs before, but I’ll try to clear up the basics for anyone who’s new here. Let’s get into it!

The Lore So Far:

The first part of the story begins with an introduction to each of the ATEEZ members as the main characters. They all have pretty depressing backstories. Hongjoong can’t spend any time with his real family so he views ATEEZ as his new family. Seonghwa was entranced with a girl who mysteriously disappeared. Yunho lost his older brother and latches onto Hongjoong as a brother figure because of it. Yeosang has a difficult relationship with his father and worries his father will cause problems for ATEEZ. Wooyoung and San are best friends, Wooyoung being the idealistic dreamer who lacks confidence and San the supportive friend in need of someone to talk to. Mingi is severely depressed and worries the happiness ATEEZ brings him won’t last. Finally, Jongho was a basketball player who can no longer play because of an injury. While the group is spending time together in the abandoned warehouse they call their hideout, Hongjoong dreams of Halateez, who somehow manage to send him and the other members to their universe with the help of a magical hourglass known as a Cromer. When Hongjoong wakes up, ATEEZ make the realization that they’ve crossed into a universe called Strictland where the government has outlawed human emotion, including music and art, as a means to control the population. While on the run from the government they’re saved by the Grimes siblings. The youngest of the siblings has had her voice taken by the government henchmen, the androids in white masks, so ATEEZ promises to get it back before they leave. The siblings then reveal that a man named Left Eye knows the location of the Cromer that can send them back home, but he’s trapped in hallucinogenic gas.

The group splits up, Jongho being the one to retrieve the girl’s voice while Yunho breaks Left Eye out of his hallucinations. With their promise fulfilled and the location of the Cromer revealed, they go to the prison where art, music, and anyone who protests the government are kept. There they come face to face with Halateez and realize that Halateez, the leaders of the revolution against the government, are the alternate versions of themselves. While Halateez reveals their plan to get ATEEZ to take over their revolution, Yeosang wanders off to find the Cromer. But his actions alert the androids to their presence, and Yeosang, feeling guilty, sends the other members of ATEEZ back to their universe at the cost of his capture. But the other members aren’t ok with Yeosang remaining behind in Strictland, so they locate the Cromer in their universe. They discover both that the Cromer sent them slightly back in time and that the Cromer of their universe is located in a museum. Unfortunately, a cult known as Sciensalvar has their eye on the Cromer as well. Yunho initially separates from the group because, as a result of being sent back in time, Yunho’s brother is still alive. But when Yunho sees ATEEZ’s fight against Sciensalvar starting to go south, he goes to rescue them. In the ensuing escape his brother gets run over by a car, the same way he died the first time around, and in a final conversation with his brother Yunho decides to return to Strictland with the rest of ATEEZ. The group then rescues Yeosang, Halateez, and everyone else the Strictland government had imprisoned, beginning their revolution. However, a major battle with the government, as seen in ‘Kingdom’, ends with the deaths of Halateez.

Cromer Powers:

Because this story is so reliant on the Cromer I just want to put a note here about what the Cromer can do so far. The Cromer can send people to different universes, but only on a full moon. Without a full moon it still has teleportation abilities, which ATEEZ and Halateez use to remain a step ahead of the government. It also has some kind of time travel ability. Even when there isn’t a full moon, the Cromer is always powered by the phases of the moon.

“HALAZIA”:

Before I get into the imagery in the MV and my speculations about what’s going on, this song is insanely good. “HALAZIA” starts with a more soft, mysterious feel that instantly hooked me. However, the tension throughout the song builds gradually in a way that feels extremely satisfying once you get to the chanting at the end. And the chorus is gorgeous and addictive, blending Jongho’s mind-blowing belt perfectly with the sweeter, more sultry vocals we get from Seonghwa, San, Yunho, and Wooyoung. And uhhh YEOSANG’S BARITONE? This man needs to show that off in more songs. I just about died. The rap verses in this are incredible too. Hongjoong opts for something more melodic that blends in seamlessly with the background while Mingi stands out with a more powerful flow. This is probably my favorite ATEEZ song of this year, and that’s saying something. As for the apparent meaning of the lyrics and the MV… I’m not completely sure. Lyrics like “We all try but we lose emotion” and “Getting used to the feeling of losing” make it seem like either the revolution is failing or has already failed, possibly because of the loss of Halateez. But then, there’s still confusion over whether the performance on ‘Kingdom’ where Halateez died already happened, or hasn’t happened yet in the storyline. As you can see, there’s a lot of confusing elements. And on top of that, this is a “spin-off”, so it might not be as connected to the main story as we think. Then there’s the imagery of the blue bird, which is brought up in the lyrics, is the name of the outro for this release, and explains the feather on the album cover. I believe the blue bird is the witness the album name refers to. But who is the witness?

My Theory:

Which leads me to my wild theory, because all we have right now is wild theories. My only theory is that this MV takes place in the future. It’s clearly a future without hope. It definitely looks like ATEEZ already lost the revolution based on the lyrics and the fact that the prologue describes a world that has already lost its gravity. From past MVs we know that gravity is effected whenever the Cromer is used and we also know that lightning is usually an indication that a Cromer is actively in use. Considering the lack of gravity, the amount of lighting, and the fact that Yunho appears to be literally sitting in a Cromer, I get the feeling the Cromer is important in this future. I actually think it fell into the wrong hands. The government killed Halateez and took the Cromer, overusing it to the point of quelling the revolution and destroying Strictland in the process.

I think San and the group pulling down the full moon are attempting to stop the Cromer from working by removing its power source. Jongho’s still holding a revolution/anarchy flag which makes me think that he’s still trying to get the revolution going. But everyone else is separated. Yeosang is in chains, seemingly back where he started when he first came to Strictland. And the other members are either paying their respects to Halateez, visiting places like where they first struck a deal with them during “Answer”, or actively rejecting them. Seonghwa seems like he may be mocking the Halateez scarecrow and Wooyoung burns a Halateez hat. Maybe it’s Halateez’s fault that the government learned how to use the Cromer? Either way, my big theory is that the four mysterious figures that appear at the end of the MV are the witnesses, and are using their own Cromer to time travel. I think they will then return to ATEEZ to warn them about this potential future. In other words, I think this future is what happens if ATEEZ isn’t prepared for Halateez to die. I do think Halateez will die like on ‘Kingdom’, but based on Hongjoong’s timeline for the albums, I don’t think they’re dead yet. And I think ATEEZ won’t be able to prevent their upcoming deaths, but I do think they will be able to protect the Cromer if they know what might happen if the government learns how to use it. But like I said, that’s just my personal crazy theory.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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