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BTS' "Black Swan" Is the Song that Keeps On Giving

The new "Black Swan" music video is incredible.

Big Hit

It's no secret that "Black Swan"—not to mention BTS' entire new album, Map of the Soul: 7—is a genuine masterpiece.

Up until today, most people assumed that the "Black Swan" Art Film performed by MN Dance Company, wherein the professional dance troupe performs a bleak, gripping, interpretive dance to the song in an abandoned mall, served as the song's only official music video. While it didn't feature the BTS boys themselves, it did a wonderful job conveying the conflicted emotion of "Black Swan" through dance.

But in line with the Jungian themes that inspired Map of the Soul: 7, no one can ever be fully understood through a single lens or interpretation. Thus, BTS has surprise-dropped a new "Black Swan" music video, this time featuring their own dancing. Conceptually, releasing multiple music videos for a Jungian-inspired song is a stroke of pure brilliance. And practically...yeah, this new "Black Swan" music video is absolutely incredible.

Throughout the new video, BTS alternates between white suits and black suits as a physical manifestation of the dualities between their public personas vs. their personal artistic passions. At various point, while dancing on the stage of an empty majestic theater, their shadows move separately with a mind of their own. As with all of BTS' best work, the new "Black Swan" music video exists in a space beyond words. By blending jarring visuals with passionate dance, BTS does real justice to the complex psychological concepts behind their music.

Through whatever personal and artistic struggles that led up to Map of the Soul: 7, BTS has come out on the other side stronger than ever.

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The beautiful boys of BTS are back with a new cinematic feat.

The group released the"Kinetic Minfesto Film" on February 21 and are now back with the second official music video for Map of the Soul: 7's lead single, "ON." The video for the new barn-burner features Jungkook, RM, J-Hope, Jin, Jimin, V, and Suga going on separate spiritual journeys. We watch as Jin saves a dove (possibly a biblical allusion to the dove that brought Noah an olive branch), which then ties in nicely to the next scene, where we see RM shipwrecked with an ark full of animals. We also see V lead a blindfolded girl to safety.

Overall, the music video seems to explore themes of freedom and liberation—that is until the beatific images give way to darker themes. As the beat drops, we see all the group members together, (of course) dancing. They're surrounded by torch light and what appears to be a ceremony of some kind. Soon, everything catches fire. The music video ends with the group summiting a massive cliff on the other side of a large gate they passed through earlier in the video.

There are so many symbols woven throughout the video that it's difficult to definitively say what message BTS is trying to convey. But we see a lot of imagery of perseverance in the face of obstacles and constrictions. It's not a stretch to think that perhaps BTS is referencing the explosion of Korean culture into the wider world. For example, maybe the image of the wall opening is a comment on the world opening up to Korean art thanks to trailblazers like BTS and Bong Joon-Ho.

Or maybe it's more political than that. BTS has been known to engage with cultural conversations criticizing the K-Pop industry as well as myriad other issues within South Korean society, particularly through their lyrics. Perhaps this powerful new video is meant as a critique of the societal pressures many South Koreans struggle with every day. For example, the video opens with an image of a dove pierced with an arrow, a powerful symbol that could be taken as a comment on South Korean culture's tendency to smother individuality and promote the illusion of personal perfection—often at the expense of people's mental health. At another point, we see Jungkook running away from a walled city, his hands tied with thorns, obviously an image meant to show an outside force hampering someone's personal expression and autonomy.

Whatever message BTS hoped to send with their new video, it's certainly a powerful piece of art that fans will be moved by and picking apart for weeks and months to come.