Although there was a decent hiatus between Crystal Tea (크리스탈 티)’s previous releases and 2020’s Pink Movie (핑크 무비), the wait time between Pink Movie Director’s Cut (핑크 무비 감독판) was far briefer. As the title may suggest, the 4-track 2021 release is intrinsically linked to its predecessor, working well both as a standalone EP and as a companion to Pink Movie.
“Romanticist A.I.” is the title track, and returns immediately to the pop punk-infused stylings heard in tracks off Pink Movie, however the tone of the song is overall more moody, less bright and vivacious than the previous EP. In this track, Crystal Tea has lost something — someone — that she yearns for. The loss of the connection leaves her feeling empty and confused, although she finds ways to cope.
The instrumentals are bombastic, and upon relistening you’re sure to find more new elements you hadn’t noticed before. It’s the kind of song you want to sing your heart out to and can easily fall under the spell of, especially if you’re a fan of pop punk.
Alas, I could breathe enough with my body.
I guess I got greedy again.
In the end, I hugged him in my dream.
I think it’s more real than the screen.”
The transition into “Private Lessons” is seamless, and would almost lead you to believe they’re just one track if you aren’t playing the EP on shuffle. Despite their close connection, this song takes multiple steps back in terms of instrumentals, instead opting for what seems mostly to be heavily filtered and reverb guitar and bass – accompanied eventually by drums – that contrasts sharply to the opening track.
The soundscape feels wide open, hollowed out, especially before the drums kick in to add some weight. It’s a continuation of the loneliness expressed in the first track. It still borrows heavily from trends in pop punk, but with a more raw sound that puts the emphasis on punk more than pop. Although it’s the longest track on the EP, it doesn’t drag whatsoever, keeping the listener hooked the entire way through.
Track three, “Moonlight Distortion,” is tonally brighter and leans more into indie pop, uplifting listeners from the more depressing anthems of loneliness. The song is playful and ever-changing, and Crystal Tea shows off her vocal range in a fun atmosphere. It’s a track that I think will fit well on high-energy summer playlists, offering variety and vibrance. On this EP, it’s a charming change of pace that reinvigorates the collection before dropping us into the final track.
“Master of Love” then takes us back to the pop punk sound of before, but throws in some grunge elements that pack a different punch. This track also has an MV, and the visuals lend to that ‘90s grunge aesthetic, eclectic, flashy, and heavily filtered. It most closely resembles the first track, making the EP loop nicely and bringing us truly full circle.
However, where the opener seemed to be mournful, Master of Love doesn’t give quite that impression. While the loss has still occurred and that still bothers our narrator, there’s a sense of hope and expectation for love to come, or even love to be rekindled.
“Dear all of us are artists.
In the background, I longed for love.
Even in the dark of night, when the dawn dawns,
love is not a game.”
Although brief, with a runtime just over 16 minutes, Pink Movie Director’s Cut offers a collection of vibrant, full-bodied tracks that complement Crystal Tea’s previous work on Pink Movie. Her unique vocals blend well with both the edgier tracks and the more playful ones, leaving me excited for what the adaptive artist may have in store with us for her next release.