BTS leaves much to be desired with new song ‘ON’

BTS

Big Hit [Fair Use]

BTS releases "ON" and a second version (remix cover above) featuring Sia as part of their comeback.

Xavier Lucas-Cooper, Staff Writer

BTS should pride themselves for being one of the most popular, if not the greatest, K-Pop groups of all time. Millions of fans eagerly awaited for their most recent comeback, “ON” and on Feb. 27, they got what they asked for. 

The official music video starts off with one of the vocalists of the group, Jin, pensively analyzing a freshly worn battlefield. This gives off a serious and dark demeanor that permeates throughout the video.. As the music starts, the viewer is shown clips of the other members in their respective settings. Each one of them has something in common. They all seem to be some sort of ancient time period. Rather than showing something modern like they’ve always done, BTS takes a more story-driven approach to entertain their fanbase. As the verse of the song starts to end, something strangely biblical is shown on the screen. The leader of the group, RM, stands rapping in front of a beached shipwreck along with pairs of animals. Obviously reminiscent of Noah and his ark, the viewer can’t help but wonder whether or not the group is using these visual stimuli for the shock factor or to offer an alternative uplifting theme to the song. The camera begins to follow one of the group’s main vocalists, Jungkook, as he runs through the forest. This leads me to believe that there is some sort of story that needs to be paid attention to.

Rappers J-Hope and Suga bring the viewer into the second verse, and story wise, nothing really happens here other than some glamour shots. The pre-chorus is given by vocalist V as he holds hands with  a blindfolded child.They lock hands before standing in front of a grand wall that separates them from something important to them. This plotpoint serves to be vital as at the end of the music video. There are many questions to be drawn from this scene: Why are they there? How did they get there? Why is there a huge wall? This lack of understanding keeps me from enjoying the music video.  

The bridge of the song begins with Jungkook in handcuffs made from thorns. This is reminiscent of a biblical scene in which Jesus Christ adorns his head with a crown made from thorns. This second reference to the Bible proves that this music video serves as an abstract representation of some sort of biblical message.  Again, there are largely important questions that remain to be answered. 

An abrupt and out of place dance break led by main dancer, Jimin, starts. The setting for the  break is a stark contrast from the cream, beige and earthy tones that the music video previously provided. It takes place at night, with fire and sparks flying all around. Strangely enough, the music video continues in its previous setting with hundreds of people in front of the wall mentioned earlier. The music video concludes with all of the members scaling a structure that strongly resembles Pride Rock from “The Lion King.” 

Overall, the music video itself offers many abstract interpretations of things that the viewer can’t really comprehend unless they were behind the making of the music video. The video comes off as confusing and disjointed, however, that seems to be a trend within music today. Previously, music videos just included beauty shots and some dance performances, but now videos present a focus upon art appreciation and expression. While there is merit in that, enjoyment becomes difficult. Sonically, the song does not really give much to look forward to, however it stands as a serious change in BTS’s signature R&B/EDM sound. A gospelesque anthem with a message of learning how to roll with the punches of life and love. Filled with sky-high vocals and a undeniably catchy hook, “ON” is definitely a song that surprises me, but I would not listen to it again due to its repetitive and uninspiring nature.