Before we even start I have to point out three things.
For starters: The last time I was asked to actually do any critical analysis was in high school. Seventeen years ago. I am not a classically trained reviewer and, instead, am more of an overly enthusiastic fangirl.
Second: I haven’t watched all the BTS videos I will be reviewing. When I came up with this idea I stopped watching new videos so that you could have my pure knee-jerk reaction to those unwatched videos and my starry-eyed commentary on the videos I already know and love. I have watched No More Dream, the first video in this series. I have not watched the Dance Version of No More Dream which is the second video. I guess we’ll see how this pans out together…
And finally: When BTS released their first video on June 10th, 2013 they were babies. Jin and Suga were 20, JHope was 19, RM was 18, Jimin and V were 17, and Jungkook (our little baby maknae*) was a mere 15 years of age. (In international ages, not Korean ages.**) Little teeny tiny babies.
Now, onto the main attraction!
I cannot tell you how excited I am for this. Our very first Fangirl Follow Along featuring the very first video released by BTS. Excuse me for a second while I freak the fuck out.
Okay, I’m good. We’re good. Let’s load up the video and begin.
First, we have the BigHit logo and jingle(?) which, by the time we’re done, will have created a Pavlovian response in you. I know you think I’m kidding, but honest to god I’ve opened a BTS video and from the other side of the house my daughter has yelled “ARE YOU WATCHING BTS WITHOUT ME” just from that logo.
CUT TO: INTERNAL SCHOOL BUS.
I instantly have questions. Not about the music choice. I learned from watching the videos out of order that they will use this technique from time to time. In the intro of the video for one song, they’ll include another song. In this case, “We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2.”
(I’m still looking for “We Are Bulletproof Pt. 1,” FYI)
No, my question has to do with the interior of the school bus.
(Nine seconds in and I’m already pausing for screencaps…)
I’m not questioning Jimin sitting on a seat back sideways. Not Suga wearing… what is that? A handkerchief folded like a turban? Not JHope standing in the back like an international badass. Not the 7Up ad falling from the ceiling or the string of light bulbs or the random straps I assume are used for BDSM purposes after filming…
What I want to know is what is Jin doing here?
No, not V… behind him.
Because if you want another four seconds…
Jin is wearing white and driving the bus…
(And, okay, originally I was questioning the lights but when looking at the screencap I realized Jin was in the back of the bus and driving and I got sidetracked.)
(Also, how much of a badass does Jin look like right now? Remember this moment before he goes all dad jeans in later videos. Savor this moment. It will not last.)
But the mystery of Jin in two places at once in separate outfits is one that is destined to go unanswered (continuity error, because people are human) so we continue watching and… OH NO!
There’s a lot to unpack here. The BTS license plate. The wall of clearly empty boxes that are for some reason setup in this random dystopian cul-de-sac. How they go flying… was Jin not driving anymore and just sitting in the back of the bus?
Nope, Jin is still driving… wait… are there people sitting behind him now? When did that happen?
No, you know what… the song hasn’t even started yet. I need to move on before I get lost forever on this school bus of horrors.
Finally, BTS emerges from the bus (though we won’t be bidding it adieu…) like butterflies emerging from the cocoon. Trainees no more, they are idols now and we’re about to get our first introduction to the bulletproof boy scouts.
First off the bus is Rap Monster (who currently goes by RM and so I will be referring to him as such.) We see him rubbing his neck. Possibly from the empty box meets bus whiplash?
Next up is…
Actually, hold on. See, in their first few videos, the boys tried to cement themselves as bad boy tough guys. Alpha males, if you will. Hence the black and white, the surly attitude, the box-icide, and whatever JHope is wearing on his face. (I’m here for it, btw.)
It’s lead me, though, to create this super fun game. You ready? Which of the following smooshable little balls of adorable trying to look tough are in BTS and which are puppies?
YOU DON’T KNOW, DO YOU?
Serious note (LOL I KNOW…): They didn’t even try to have Jungkook look tough and also Suga looks obscenely happy and up to something. My cousin’s daughter has that same expression and it always means shenanigans.)
So now we’ve introduced the boy scouts and V has hit a bulkhead (I think?) with a baseball bat so we can finally get down to the song.
I’m so pumped. Fifty-four seconds in and I don’t even care that I’ve spent nearly a minute of my life (YR more like three hundred…) waiting for the song to start. Everyone has a chance to tough guy emote (or in the case of V bite his lip) and then…
WE’RE BACK AT THE MOTHER FUCKING BUS?
This is how my nightmares begin, you know. Coming back to the same point I’m trying to leave over and over again. Someone start up “every day is exactly the same” while I go north, then west, then south, and finally west again…
What’s my dream, RM? Getting away from this demon bus.
(I’m ignoring the sunglasses because I think they look badass. The perm? Well, I don’t want anyone dredging up that time I bleached my hair back in high school. We all make mistakes.)
At this point, I should point out that there’s a lot going on in the video. It cuts pretty rapidly so I sometimes have issues getting the screencaps I want. Like for example, I wanted the screencap of Suga holding up three fingers that he’d counted (house, car, rings) while sitting on a bicycle but I just couldn’t manage it.
Whatever, I’ll work around it.
The point here is that clearly, the reason Suga is all smiles is that (despite what fanfiction implies he’s actually a ball of fuzz and) he got the first verse in the first song. And I’ve gotta tell you, I adore this line. The way he says “big rings” makes me giggle every time and I’ve started using the quote in my everyday life.
This will become a common sentiment in this series just so you know…
But Suga continues with his “jk I really don’t give a fuck…” at which point BTS forms a human throne for him. RM is the back. Jimin and JHope are the arms. V is the seat.
Now you can’t tell here, but Jimin is actually sitting on V’s head. And then he bounces.
Wait, where have I seen that hat before?
Then RM bursts onto the scene to drop his verse allowing me to grab a really blurry screencap. Because for some fucking reason Big Hit decided that’s the effect they wanted to go with here. To piss me off? Probably…
End result is that I wanted to hate this screencap, but just look at RM’s mouth and (more importantly) Suga’s eyes.
Also, I really hate that I used the 1theK version, but it had subtitles and I need that in my life for screencaps like this:
OMFG he looks so much like my husband when he was a wee lad. Eyeliner, messy hair, layered shirts, and plugs. I’m dead. I’ve died. Bury me under a field of daisies with the marker “adorbed to death.”
Those fucking bunny teeth… I swear to god.
(Yes, I do remember that he’s fifteen years old here. I want to smoosh his cheeks not smash his… you know what, let’s move on.)
Oh yeah, that’s right. At debut, Jungkook was also a rapper. So he’s a dancer, lead singer, rapper, center, and maknae. And fifteen. My little bun-bun is so fucking talented.
So I actually paused it because right here while they’re saying “see me” it sounds like “shimmy” and they’re doing a little shimmy which always just makes me feel good inside. But then I noticed Jungkook is wearing a shirt that says “NOTORIOUS SWG” and he’d better mean Star Wars Galaxies or I’m going to have to have a talk with his father when he gets home.
To the burning house.
In our post-apocalypse neighborhood…
Sure to end about as well as this next screen cap will.
It’s a harbinger of things to come, just warning you.
But before our world ends, we have Jungkook bouncing around during another Suga verse (#blessed) and…
adorable V being…
emote shot by Suga…
Boys… I appreciate the thug image you’re trying to cultivate as much as the next fan (except I don’t) but you can’t–
That was totally uncalled for.
Although it does introduce a JHope verse… finally… but still. I’m salty over the unnecessary 3D wannabe scene. I am also salty over the lack of V and my inability to capture a good Jin screencap. See, JHope and Jin change the most between then and now. JHope in his face and Jin in his attitude.
I’ll admit now I worry about Jin a bit. Despite his bravado (#WorldwideHandsom) he seems to lack the confidence of the other members when performing. I know he lacks faith in his dancing, but really I’m just stalling because the world is about to end.
See, I warned you. Seventeen-year-old flashing abs that could cut diamonds. It’s unjust. There is no god.
And again, in reverse. So you can see the other nipple, I guess. I’ll come out and say it right now, Jimin is not my bias***. Not that I have one because I’m a good ARMY. But… hey what’s that?
It’s the rap line all getting their moment (minus JHope but with Jungkook… *SIDEEYE*) See, all the members duck (rhythmically) except the one being highlighted at the time. I enjoy this move more than I should admit to. It’s basically the same as playing peek-a-boo with a baby.
There’s clapping and squealing and why am I doing this again? So I can share just how awkward and/or easily amused I am with the world?
I remember now. It’s to point out beautiful moments like this where RM is telling people to open their eyes when he has worn sunglasses for the entire video. Fans at debut couldn’t even be sure that RM had eyes…
For all anyone knew he was walking around with his eyes in his hands…
(Enjoy your nightmares forever. I’ll be waiting for you at the bus…)
They dance more allowing me to miss a couple of more screencaps both inside the bus of nightmares and of Jin (who is my daughter’s bias) and then…
Okay, so every so often someone calls Jungkook a muscle pig and I don’t 100% get it because he’s my little bun-bun. Then he lifts Jimin and allows him to run across the back of the rest of the group and I realize that mah baby is all grown up.
And that would make me single tear, except then I paused here and god look at that pucker.
Oh, I needed that today.
So then there’s some destruction of property in the formerly nice place to live probably fueled by the demon bus from hell right before the cops show up. Blinding our boys who should probably be running since they’re such delinquents…
But they’re too badass for that so while all the other kids run off, they stand around in front of the fire and the Black Magic School Bus
But then all the other kids are back (?)
So instead we look badass one last time before the gunshot and the outro logo
And that’s it. BTS’s debut video broken down into thirty some odd screenshots and two thousand words. Enjoy my wrap up below and join me next week where I take you on a journey through No More Dream.
No More Dream by BTS
Released: June 10th, 2013
Album: 2 Cool 4 Skool
Notes: Debut Single
Watched Status: Previously Watched
Reason: Like I said earlier, Jin fades into the background in their more recent videos. With seven performers in a group, it’s hard for all of them to shine at the same time. Still, I really love these early moments with Jin where he seems so sure of himself. Plus, oddly, he makes the most convincing badass.
Honorable mentions go to:
That mask JHope wears
and Jimin’s abs
He might not be my bias, but those had to take a ton of work… Props, my dude.
Oh hey… welcome to the sub-feature of this series: Fun Facts I’ve learned about Korean culture via fandom. Kicking off the sub-feature is our very own Jungkook.
*Maknae: which simply means the youngest member of a group. Example, I was the maknae of my department until we hired Tom who is younger than I am making him the new maknae. (back)
**How Koreans Calculate Age: At birth, they consider children to be One. They then gain a year on New Years. Lunar or Calendar. I was born April 1st, 1983 and that makes my Korean age 35. I’ll turn 36 either January 1st, 2018 or February 16th, 2018.
Oh hey, fact within a fact, the Lunar New Year in 2018 is February 16th. (back)
***Bias: your favorite member of any given group. So, like, my NSync bias was Lance. (I know.) Technically ARMY has no bias. We love all our little angels equally because they’re a cohesive unit working together. You couldn’t pick a favorite child, could you? Same thing. But with our smoosh babies. (back)