Everyone has been saying my obsession with this Korean boy band is unhealthy, but I can prove otherwise. While its true that especially American singers don’t have much meaning to their songs, I could argue that BTS (방탄소년단) is different. The more songs they release the more I realize there is a connected story between all of them and that they are trying to tell us something other than just the song. In this blog I will be discussing their hit song of 2016- Blood, Sweat, and Tears (피 땀 눈물) While its true that it is aesthetically pleasing to look at, we shall focus and dig deeper.
To begin with, they are in a museum. Aside the fact that there are several sculptures that were inspired by Hellenistic and Classical periods, there is a big painting that caught my attention.This painting is ‘The Fall of the Rebel Angels’ by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. There is a certain theme of Fallen angels and temptations throughout the Music Video.
The painting this person (Jin) is looking at is very intense. The way I see it is a battle of hell and heaven. Its intensity and emotion reminded me of a painting by Giulio Quaglio, located in Ljubljana Cathedral in Slovenia.
Both of these paintings give a feeling of darkness, as if there is a battle. They are both very intense. Furthermore, this painting by Guilio Quaglio is painted on the ceiling, just like what? You guessed it. Just like the painting in Sistine Chapel, by Michelangelo.
We are not only a minute into the video, but I already found so many things that come from early Renaissance period that started in Florence. This is all about revival, old things made new. I really appreciate how they [BTS] are able to incorporate so many complex things into their music video.
Additionally, fast forward to 3:46, the music video shows someone blindfolding one of the members, and the lyrics go:
Kill me gently,
Close my eyes with your hands,
Cant resist it anyway
Cant even run away anymore
You just too sweet too sweet too sweet
As I previously mentioned the painting of Sistine Chapel, I think there is one fragment about the painting that can be applied here. It would be the fragment of temptation of Eve wanting to bite on the forbidden fruit.
Also, the very beginning of the music video, to tie into the theme of temptations we encounter this fragment:
Behind the neon lights, we see the painting which shows ‘The lament for Icarus’ by H. J. Draper. As we know, Icarus was warned by his father to not fly neither too low, because the humidity of the sea will melt the wax, neither too high as the hot sun will do the same. However, he disobeyed and listened to his temptations and did as he pleased which caused his death as his wings melted and he crashed into the sea. Similarly, both Adam and Eve knew they shall not eat this apple, as it was prohibited by God. Again, they just like Icarus disobeyed and followed their temptations and ate the fruit of knowledge.
Later in the music video, we see one of the members uncovering his eyes, and he walks to a giant statue.. And kisses it. I believe that is him making a pact with the fallen angel, from that point he was able to see everything as it is. Similarly, after Adam and Eve ate the forbiden fruit, they were able to see truly, they recognized their nudity and felt ashamed. Not to sound too cliche, but they were finally able to truly see.
I would like to use this great opportunity and tie in my classics post here. As we learned, ancient Greek theater was always religious, and they would tell stories already known by everyone. As you can see, this music video contains many religious aspects. Just like the ancient Greeks, the producers of this music video in a way retold a story that many of us read in a Bible. They presented it to us in a new way, yet were able to deliver same meaning. Another very interesting scene that I would like to mention is the “Last Supper” scene.
Here we see them gathered by the table, with all sitting but one. That one that was contemplating through out the entire music video. He has been seen looking at the painting in the beginning, he is also the one to start seeing things as they are, and now he is the one looking into distance. Why is looking into distance significant you may think, well it is significant because he seem to either know or anticipate something. Similar to the “Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci.
This is a painting of Jesus eating his last supper before crucifixion. Jesus was aware of his fate, upcoming betrayals and what is awaiting him. Just like this member he knew something was going to happen.
So, this is the end of my analysis. This video contains a lot of symbolism, and it is just impossible for me to thoroughly go over all of them. I gave brief points that I found interesting and similar to our both art and classics classes. It is very complicated, and I advise all of you to watch the video and make your own conclusions. Do you see the similarities I see? You have different theories and analysis? Whether we share similar opinion on this topic or not, the truth. I tried my best explaining, and I hope you’re not confused.
- Diana, Team Mercury.