Brightly-hued, the kaleidoscope world of “Idol” shows the seven members of the group — RM, Jin, Jungkook, Jimin, V, Suga, and J-Hope — living it up amid a variety of colorful locations, interacting with multiple cultures and realities as they celebrate their sense of self-love. Exaggerated graphics, some of which recall previous releases from the group and others that feel like they were pulled straight out of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine, are counteracted by dance scenes amid classically-inspired architecture, while traditional Korean elements, such as hanboks, classical Korean outfits, and tigers — the representative animal of Korea, its people, and its culture — also play a main role.
The hybrid styles are apparent not only in the video but also the song itself as BTS declare their self pride. From the very first line where RM declares, “You can call me artist/ You can call me idol” until its very end, “Idol” finds the act taking ownership of their identity as Korean “Idol”s. Anthemic in its nature and bolstered by the riotous choral declarations of “You can’t stop me loving myself,” the single revels in instruments and vocal chants traditionally heard in gugak, traditional Korean music performances and blends them with impassioned raps, energetic whistles and rhythmic house beats that draw on South African gqom.
Like most of BTS’ videos, the choreography plays a major role in “Idol” with swaggering, sweeping moves aimed at the camera as if addressing listeners directly during the verses. Again, the traditional comes into play, with certain moves emulating those seen in traditional Korean dance. Powerful on their own, the members of BTS are joined at the end of the video by a crowd of dancers, in a Bollywood-style ensemble performance to end things off with.
“Idol” comes to a close with the members sitting down and sedately crossing their legs as they peer into the camera, a parallel that fans were quick to note emulates their 2014 video “Just One Day,” as if recalling their early days to express how far they’ve come: it doesn’t matter whether they are called “K-pop idols” or anything else like it may once have done, because in 2018 BTS are undeniably on top of the music world.
— michelle #Answer (@jeonglows) August 24, 2018
“Idol” is the lead single off of BTS’ newly-released Love Yourself: Answer album. Along with the video version, which can be heard on the physical album, the group also are promoting an alternate, digital-only version of the song featuring Nicki Minaj.
Watch the video below.