May 11, 2015

Allow Me To Fangirl A Bit: BTS' "I Need U" Might Be Their Best Comeback Yet

I know I'm late on this, like everything else, but my finals are coming up and there's so much schoolwork for me to deal with at the moment. As much as I love K-pop I have to prioritize school, but I can promise you that soon I'll be free as a bird and will be able to update the blog much more regularly. BTS is also a very busy group indeed, and although it has been quite a few months since we last saw them it feels like only yesterday.

It's no surprise that I wasn't the biggest fan of "Danger" or the entire album "Dark & Wild" for that matter, which of course was a shame because I really like BTS as a group and have enjoyed their other material quite a lot. I suppose their mid-late 2014 comeback simply wasn't my preferred type of music, but it didn't mean that I liked them less in any way. I was in fact very excited when the beautiful teaser photos first dropped, and you could tell that they had something new and different going on.

I won't go too much into the song since I'll probably do that in my planned album review, but who knows when that'll be out so I guess have to at least provide some opinion on it here. The truth is I love this song. Like, I think it's gorgeous and melodious and the chorus is beautiful.

It's a bit different from what they've done before and it's a lot more subdued and a lot less intense than say "Boy In Luv", which I personally believe is wonderful. Naturally it still sounds like them, but it's another side of them. Lyrically it's also a bit different, but in a good way. The members showcase a deeper, more vulnerable part of themselves and the lyrics are meaningful and emotional and the message of heartbreak and despair comes across very clearly.

The video too, is one of my favorite of theirs, and it makes me so proud to see how far they've come since their debut two years ago. Both of their first title track videos for "No More Dream" and "N.O." were good but still relatively generic and typical for K-pop videos, but last year they really leaped ahead in the video department, showing themselves not only to be musically talented but also putting out visually pleasing videos.

"I Need U" is no different, and I will actually claim that it is their most aesthetically beautiful shot video to date. The cold and grey color palette remains the same as with a few of their previous videos and the locations and scenery are well chosen and add to the melancholy theme. The coloring throughout the video has a very low saturation and almost every shot is dark and cloudy. It seems as with this video they've truly found their own style of video-making, because there are so many similar qualities to their most previous ones but they are even more enhanced in "I Need U". I really could go on and on about how professionally filmed and put-together this video is, because it blows my mind how well they've come to master this particular genre and also how incredibly well the video matches the theme and tempo of the song.

Bangtan Boys - In The Mood For Love Pt.1However, there isn't much logic plot to be found in this version of the video. The one I'm reviewing here is the 15+ version, for whatever reason that may be, so obviously there's going to be some important parts edited away. When watching this I was engaged in the members' antics and actions, but I could not put all the pieces together to understand the whole picture. Shortly said: you can tell there are scenes missing.

Not that I care that much about the lack of a red thread though, because it does not take away from the haunting, dark beauty of the video. Every scene is beautiful and painful, which I believe is the intention, whether it features only one member or the entire group. All of them have their own stories, which like I previously mentioned is slightly unexplored due to the 15+ editing, but the general idea remains quite clear anyway. They're all coping with their sadness in different ways, and you can tell from watching this that it is indeed quite dark, but I guess we'll have to wait for the original version to come out in able to find out what's truly going on.

Another contributing fact to this video's flawlessness is the lack of a choreography featured in the video. Yes I know it sounds strange because I love BTS' dance routines and they always contribute to taking their videos to a higher level, but I'm actually happy there isn't a any dancing in this one. There are a few reasons for that, so hear me out first before you call me crazy. When I first saw the video I actually didn't even react to the absence of their typical knife-sharp choreography, and that must mean that there wasn't really a need for one in the video. Unlike their other semi-plot-based videos this one focuses entirely on the song and the lyrics, and dedicates itself to portraying those two as genuinely as possible. Secondly, the song's pace and low-key intensity isn't one I would instantly see having a hard-hitting choreography. It was later proven to me when I watched their live stages and saw the choreography, and realized how out of place it was with the song's energy level.

BTS are known for their synchronized dancing, their advanced formations and difficult moves, and for that I always praise them. It appears however that it doesn't always work with all of their title tracks. "I Need U" is bursting with emotion and frustration, and I would have liked the choreography to reflect those strengths. Instead they move like a well-oiled machine, which they always do, but for a song like this it's just too perfect. The energy is also way too high and the pace way too fast for a track like this one, and if it were to be included in the MV as well the entire experience would have felt different, and I think not in a good way.

To round up this review I will say that I literally cannot wait until the original MV comes out, and although I think I might end up feeling quite emotionally distressed I think it will be amazing. I mean, ft this version alone is as good as it is, and that with gaps in the plot, then the actual video will probably make me swoon. BTS have, yet again, impressed me with their comeback, but it's unlike any of their previous ones. In fact, it's much, much better.

Video Score: 4/5

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