Originally published on 2/21/20 @ 8:20 AM CST. -Ed
The lead-up to the release of BTS’ latest LP, Map Of The Soul: 7, has been nothing short of madness. Since announcing the arrival of the much-anticipated follow-up to Map Of The Soul: Persona, the K-pop superstars have stoked excitement by releasing three track— “Interlude: Shadow,” “Outro: Ego,”and “Black Swan.”. (We weren’t impervious to any of it: We did list 7 as one of our most-anticipated albums for February, after all.) Yesterday the group released a 30-second snippet of the track “On,” which momentarily broke TikTok and inspired a viral challenge in no time at all. Just before the album’s release, over 11 million fans tuned in last night to a special live stream event hosted by the men. Needless to say, fans have been more than ready to get their digital hands on the 20-track album since the first word of its existence.
Well, today is the long-awaited day, and along with a brand new album comes a brand new music video or, in this case, a “Kinetic Manifesto Film: Come Prima.” Already garnering more than 8 million views at the time of this write-up, “On” begins with 30 drumstick-wielding backup dancers who appear battle-ready. It’s an appropriate look: With lyrics like “Can’t hold me down ‘cuz you know I’m a fighter” and “Bring the pain/ It’ll become my blood and flesh,” the song is about resilience in the face of adversity and finding the determination to march forward despite hardship and constant criticism. It’s the kind of armor that has been forged by seven years of working almost non-stop. (The band is already preparing for another globe-trotting stadium tour, Map Of The Soul, which kicks off April 11 in Seoul.) Outfitted with the Blue Devils marching band, the pop outfit is even more energized than usual, which is a hefty feat for the 7-piece act that is always teeming with energy.
BTS is no stranger to a large-scale production, as evidenced by videos for “Boy With Luv” and “Idol.” But even as they’re backed by dozens of black-clad creatives, this effort is more appropriately scaled down (for them), maintaining the majority of the focus on the men and their sheer will to persevere. 7 includes another version of the song, which features Sia, and the song’s second, official music video comes out next week.
UPDATE, 2/27/20: Today the group the official video, which involves a drastic change of scenery and a literal ascent to new heights. The cinematic reimagining invokes Noah’s Ark-like imagery and mere hints of the previous video’s choreography. Check out the much larger production below.