Last week may have been about the sentimental side of BTS with the release of “Spring Day,” but Sunday (Feb. 19) brought out the group’s more intense persona with the unveiling of the video for “Not Today.”
One of two dual singles on their You Never Walk Alone reissue of BTS’ record-breaking 2016 Wings album, “Not Today” is a propulsive synth-hip hop banger that calls for “all the underdogs in the world” to not give up and keep fighting. While the single was released last week as one of four news songs featured on You Never Walk Alone, BTS waited a week before dropping the music video for the album’s second single.
The video is a dance-heavy clip propelled by the song’s pounding rhythm, which is emphasized by the precise, stomping choreography. The video shows BTS leading a crowd of black-clad, seemingly ninja-inspired, dancers — who throw off their restricting garments at one point as if in protest– in military-style formations, while the rapidfire dances are interspersed with scenes of the BTS members being chased and shot at.
Within half a day of being released, the music video for “Not Today” was viewed over 5 million times even though the song was released a week earlier on You Never Walk Alone.
The powerful song is one of BTS’ fiercest in years and an update to the group’s early anti-establishment message (“A day may come when we lose/ But it is not today/Today we fight!”) featured in songs like “No More Dream” and “N.O.” Along with the lyrics promoting people bonding together to form a new world, which comes at a time when South Korea’s population is rallying against government corruption, “Not Today” also references the idea of breaking the glass ceiling and all invisible barriers that keep people back from succeeding. Alternatively, the positive, forceful lyrics in “Not Today” (“not today/Not yet a day to die”) could also be the more energetic counterpart to the mellow tone of “Spring Day” and its anti-suicide music video.
And, lyrics aside, the aggressive “Not Today” is exactly the time of pump-up anthem to become a mainstay at BTS’ concerts for years to come.
The “Spring Day” and “Not Today” pairing follows a string of two-part single releases from BTS: Their The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1 album in 2015 featured the passionate “I Need You” released alongside with the swaggering “Dope,” while 2016’s The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever paired the bombastic “Fire” with the desperation of “Save Me.”
BTS’ artistic approach to socially-aware K-pop led the group to breaking all prior Billboard records set by all Korean acts aside from PSY. Last year saw BTS become the highest-ranking and best-selling K-pop group to appear on the Billboard 200 with Wings, which also is notable for being the first Korean album to stay on the World Albums chart for 18 weeks. The group’s popularity has made them fan favorites both locally and internationally, especially in the U.S. BTS headlined both KCON LA and KCON NY last summer, and will hold their first U.S. stadium tour next month, with five nights of concerts held in three cities.
Watch the dramatic music video for “Not Today” here: