The track is the lead single off the South Korean group’s new EP ‘Zero: Fever Part.1’
South Korean group ATEEZ have unveiled their latest EP Zero: Fever Part.1. The record, led by the single “Inception,” kicks off a brand new era for the octet and was preceded by a month of trailers, teasers and a special 16-minute film titled Zero: Fever Part.1 ‘Diary Film.’
The music video for “Inception” stays true to its title, paying homage to Christopher Nolan’s 2010 film of the same name about dreams and reality. The members seem to be in stages of restless sleep as they flit between dream spaces and real life. At first each of the eight members of ATEEZ are pictured sleeping alone in different locations, but as they fall asleep, they enter individual dreamscapes where they face personal fears, challenges and memories–these fears are portrayed with clips that hark back to moments from Zero: Fever Part.1 ‘Diary Film’ which showcased individual stories of each member conquering what haunts them. They seemed trapped as they fight to escape these haunting moments and finally leader Hongjoong manages to break into a new level of dreamscape, freeing his teammates from their nightmares but sacrificing himself and entering an endless expanse of empty space–perhaps what Nolan’s film referred to as ‘limbo.’
Despite the plot-heavy theme, ATEEZ don’t skimp on choreography in “Inception.” The group bring their signature power-packed moves and detailed footwork to the video, elevating the spectacle further by performing on water while a fiery digital ‘sky’ looms over them. Set in a classroom with the members donning school uniforms, the clip also references the angst and confusion of youth–a key thematic element of Zero: Fever Part.1.
Written by Hongjoong, rapper Mingi and ATEEZ’s frequent collaborators producers EDEN, Ollounder, Buddy and Leez, “Inception” compares falling in love to the experience of being completely immersed in a dream, perhaps even a nightmare if the feelings aren’t returned or if the relationship ends; “As if I have dreamed in a dream/I am lost looking for you/You are the dream I live in/the dream I can never wake from/Every day and night I’m gonna chase you.” It gets a little more haunting as the song progresses, hinting that the love is most definitely one-sided, perhaps even an obsessive infatuation with a stranger: “I can’t go back to the way it was/You didn’t know me/After I bumped into you/I began craving for you more, uncontrollably.” The track is a mix of synth-pop and hip-hop with the vocal line delivering soaring, impossibly high ad-libs and dreamy harmonies over the hook, making it an immediate earworm.
Zero: Fever Part.1 is ATEEZ’s fifth EP since their debut in 2018 and follows Treasure Epilogue: Action to Answer which dropped in January this year. Like the process with their third EP Treasure EP.3: One to All, ATEEZ allowed their fans to vote and choose the lead single for this album, giving them a choice between “Inception” and another track titled “Thanxx.” Both singles were accompanied by individual teaser clips, promotional images and concepts, with “Inception” finally winning the majority of votes.