With the arrival of their music video for new song “ON” today (Feb. 21), BTS reaffirmed their intentions to dominate.
The lead single off of the act’s fourth LP Map of the Soul: 7, also out today, “ON” was released through a special “Kinetic Manifesto Film: Come Prima” through which the South Korean septet are backed by 30 dancers and 12 marching band members as they declare their prowess by overcoming pain while performing a dramatic, mesmerizing performance.
Propulsive and empowering, “ON” features BTS ruminating on how pain and fear can become motivational, transmuting the impact of the lyrics into a fierce choreography.
“Where my pain lies/ Let me take a breath/ My everthin’, my blood and tears, got no fears, I’m singin’/ Oh, I’m takin’ over/ You should know yeah,” sings Jungkook during a bridge, leading into the refrain of “Can’t hold me down cuz you know I’m a fighter/ Choosing to descend into the dark abyss/ Find me and I’m gonna bleed with ya” by Jimin before he jumps over the other member.
The song and music video open up with references to the Jungian psychoanalytic idea of “shadow” being an element of the Map of the Soul, from which BTS’ current album series draws its name, and features a solo “Interlude: Shadow” by Suga: the tune begins with members reflecting on the idea of shadows, with V donning face paint that reads, “The Shadow Like Me.”
“Look at my feet, look down/ The shadow resembles me,” says RM. “Is it the shadow that’s shaking? / Or is it my feet that are trembling? Of course I’m not unafraid/ Of course it’s not all okay/ But I know/ Awkwardly I flow/ I fly together with that black wind.”
“Bring the pain/ It’ll become my blood and flesh/ Bring the pain/ No fear, now that I know the way/ Breathe on the small things/ My air and my light in the dark/ The power of the things that make me, ‘me,’ / Even if I fall, I come right up, scream,” raps J-Hope, leading into Suga’s paralleling, “Even if I fall, I come right up, scream/ As long as they don’t get buried/ It won’t matter/ Win no matter what/ Whatever you say whatever they say/ I don’t give a uhh.”
Throughout “ON,” the members of BTS appear in white and black looks, acting almost as shadows of themselves, with only occasional flashes of color, such as Jin’s light blue jacket and other members’ hair colors adding a pop of color against the backdrop of a beige bridge in front of the bright blue sky.
The “Come Prima” video will be followed next week by the release of the official music video for “ON” on Feb. 28. An alternate version featuring Sia is featured on the album on digital music platforms.
Watch the “Kinetic Manifesto Film” for BTS’ “ON” here.