With over half of 2020 over and the insurgence of content that BTS has gifted us as part of FESTA, as well as their more recent releases such as their Japanese single Stay Gold, nobody would blame you for losing track or overlooking certain details. While FESTA was in full swing, we were greatly surprised with the release of the animated music video for Map of the Soul:7’s sidetrack We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal. At first glance, it is nothing short of an aesthetically pleasing and wholesome music video incorporating a reflection upon BTS’ past selves. As many could have guessed, though, BTS never liked mouth-feeding their references and deeper meanings to us.
For this MV, we’ll take a look at how it was able to rewind and look back on BTS’ discography. How did it emphasize BTS and ARMY’s successes and consider their roots? How did the MV give a nostalgic yet grandiose feeling of pride for all the nooks and crannies of the world that their music and the movement behind it, have been able to touch?
The storyline of the MV is set in chronological order, beginning with their debut song No More Dream during Jungkook’s opening verse. Before we get “transported” into the set of No More Dream, the opening scene (featuring Namjoon) is meant to showcase BTS’ old practice room where all of the hustle took place before and well after debut -- a room you can see during dance practices such as Danger and Boy in Luv.
The MV continues with scenes from We are Bulletproof pt.2 (during Taehyung’s verse). Things slow down as we are taken into the set of N.O. with Hoseok rapping about their eagerness to have a part in the world as a music group only to be met with heartache from the instant backlash. Soon after, we transition to the hallways of BTS’ Boy in Luv MV with Seokjin’s verse, the heavy lyrics of “we were only seven, but we have you all now” being sung for the first time. As the pre-chorus builds, Jimin walks the platform of the subway station seen in Danger before the chorus finally drops and we are faced with undoubtedly the most vivid imagery yet.
While the lyrics are a constant boost of happiness and a reminder of how far they have come, the MV itself portrays their setbacks, hardships, and fears. We see sharp thorns, the imagery of being “forced to fit inside a box” and being swallowed by a sea of darkness. Once the chorus ends, the pace is back to a rather melancholic one, with Yoongi’s and Namjoon’s verses both taking place during the “I NEED U” era, with a great emphasis on the word “bulletproof” in both.
This word turns from sharp, shattered glass pointing at them in Yoongi’s verse as if it’s about to harm their existence as BTS, to refer to a quote now “proof set in steel” in Namjoon’s verse -- a turning point in the story since their once ridiculed name has finally become their biggest strength. Perhaps this also refers to when they got their first win at an award show and, proof that their music is recognized and appreciated.
The next scenes continue with the “HYYH” era, capturing the pre-chorus and beginning of the chorus with scenes from the fenced maze in Young Forever and multiple scenes from Run, before switching over to Blood, Sweat & Tears (“Wings” era) and Not Today (“You Never Walk Alone” era). Just as the words “We got to Heaven” appear on the screen, we see one of the many iconic scenes from the song that can only be titled the Queen, Spring Day. A somber yet hopeful tune continues playing as they sit around a low-lit fire when suddenly purple orbs begin littering the sky near and close to where they were. Just then, the lyrics begin questioning why we continue to walk by their side.
The purple orbs -- representing ARMY -- come together as a whale appears. This is a reference to their past sidetrack Whalien 52, in which a whale, unable to connect with the rest of its species due to it communicating at a unique frequency, struggles with loneliness. Similarly to how they have been taunted and mocked for a great majority of their career, ARMY shows them that they are no longer only seven to fight against the world and its prejudice. The twinkling orbs light the way for BTS to arrive at a stage before they arrange themselves to take the shape of many ARMY Bombs during their concerts.
The lyrics “yeah we got to heaven” only further emphasize how BTS truly find the stage to be their safest haven with people who share the same love for music and justice that they do, united in one place to celebrate exactly that.
With a last reference to Boy with Luv in this MV’s final seconds, BTS acknowledge that they are not fighting this battle alone. The choice of Boy with Luv as the closing scene shows acceptance over the love that they have received from ARMY and an encouragement for us to confine ourselves in them whenever we feel lost, just like how we found them when they needed us most.
Written by: Ale
Edited by: Lisa K
Designed by: Leslie
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