Alright, folks, let’s jump straight into the analysis with the first MV in the HYYH Series; I Need U;
This video seems to be telling us several stories at once; the individual story of each member, and the story of the group as a whole. Individually, we see the group struggling with various things, such as addiction (?), an abusive home environment, or just general unhappiness. However, as a group, we see them laughing and having fun together. These sad and happy moments interspersed throughout the video led me to the conclusion that the story is about having people there to take care of you when you need it. The sad endings to each character that we see; such as Jungkook being hit by a car or J-Hope fainting on the bridge, is what the members would have come to if they didn’t have each other. However, getting that support means that they don’t get the sad ending we would otherwise expect. For example, we see J-Hope tipping his pills into the fire. The seven of them spending the night together and the final shot of them sleeping around each shows that because they have each other, they can survive.
It’s simple and neat, right? Pity it’s not the whole story. A different MV, entitled “I Need U (Original Version)” was also released, and it’s actually this one that we’re going to have a closer look at, because the addition of a few scenes changes the story;
I said previously that anyone can join in on this analysis, even if they’ve never heard of BTS before. So let’s take a moment to figure who is who, and what’s going on their individual story on screen;
Jin: Jin is the first person we see in this MV. Apart from when he’s with the group, he seems to spend the majority of his time in one room. Throughout the video, Jin is holding white lily petals; he arranges them on the floor and also sets them alight. At one point, a lily is projected onto this chest, above his heart, and he clutches at it. In another scene, he hurriedly pulls back the curtains to look up out of a window, but no other actions seem to follow (i.e. he doesn’t call out or anything). Interestingly, Jin is also the only member to look directly into the camera (we also get a close-up of his eye), and is seen crying at one point.
J-Hope: We see J-Hope next, staring into a mirror in a bathroom. He later slides back the mirror to reveal a cabinet full of tablet containers. He takes one container and swallows a handful of pills. J-Hope is later outside, walking across a bridge, and we see him collapse to the ground, although he does open his eyes later.
Jungkook: We first see Jungkook walking around aimlessly. That is, until he bumps into the wrong people on the street who seem to beat him up afterwards (2 against 1, ouch). We later see him accidentally step out in front of a car, and that’s the last solo shot we get of him, although we do later see him with the group.
V: Our first shot of V is sitting outside on a balcony (at an apartment block?) next to some bottles. He looks back towards the entrance way sadly. He later gets up, puts on his hood, and walks away. Like Jungkook before him, we see V wandering around before (presumably) returning home. Here he oversees someone (his father?) beating up somebody else (his mother? although she looks young, so she could be a sister or he may have even gone to a friend’s house?) and he takes a glass bottle and hits the man on the side of the head. After the bottle breaks, he stabs the man multiple times before the woman pulls him away. The remaining solo shots of V focus on his bloodied hands and face as he cries.
Suga: Similarly to Jin, Suga spends most of his time confined to one room, and it appears to be a hotel room.He starts off on the laying on the bed, touching the pillow next to him (is he expecting someone else? missing someone?), but changes positions a few times. Throughout the clip, Suga is clicking a lighter on and off, perhaps he has a bit of a pyromaniac streak? From his body language he seems to be both frustrated and unhappy. We later get a shot of him returning to the room with a petrol can and pouring the contents over the bed. The last solo shot we get of Suga has him standing in the middle of the room, watching the flames dancing around him.
Rap Monster: We see Rap Monster (yes, non-BTS fans, it is his actual stage name) leaning against a wall, sucking on a lollipop. The headlights of a car catches his attention and he walks out to meet it. We later see that he’s an employee at a petrol station, filling up the tanks and collecting money. It’s apparently not the best job; the particular car that’s just pulled in throws money out the window at him before driving off. He later drops his lollipop onto the notes, and we see it’s actually a cigarette he’s been smoking. However, it doesn’t cause a fire at the petrol station, as our last solo shot of Rap Monster is him looking down at the ground.
Jimin: Just like Jin and Suga, Jimin is confined to one room throughout the MV, spending most of his time in the bathtub. We get shots of him setting fire to a note, over-filling the tub, and splashing around in anguish. At one point, when the water in the tub is a milky colour, Jimin does dip below the surface. We later see him crying in the tub when the water is the same colour.
If that’s what’s happening in each of the individual stories, should we take a moment to look at the times we see the group together? Most of it is just general friend stuff; going out driving, playing on trains, running around, and eating out (although I wouldn’t want to be the employee cleaning up that mess). We get V and Rap Monster laying side-by-side (in a parking lot?) before the others join them in a car, driving around in circles and just hanging out. Are these two closer to each other than the other members? Another significant shot is J-Hope destroying his pills in the fire. Our final group shots have all seven members visiting an old commercial pier of some kind. We get a close-up of V’s and Jin’s faces only as the group looks out to sea. Our last shot is their view; the muted colours of the water and sky.
So what exactly is going on in this MV? We have themes of suicide, death, desperation, and frustration, as well as themes of friendship and survival. But we don’t exactly know what order everything is in. Are clips of the boys in a group happening before or after the individual stories? Or do the individual stories represent a “what could happen” dimension like I first supposed? If the individual stories actually happened, and the group clips are memories, then whose individual story happened first? Or are they happening at the same time? Finally, although the individual stories of J-Hope, Jungkook, V, Suga, and Rap Monster seem to unfold in a straightforward matter, Jin’s story and Jimin’s story seem to jump around a lot more. For example, we see Jimin burning the note both at the beginning and at the end of the MV. I think the interpretation of order of events is entirely up to you, but I’m going to walk through my understanding and propose a couple of theories.
MY PROPOSED THEORIES:
All of my theories will be based off the following understanding of the timeline: All of the group shots are memories of the past. The solo shots of members are their actual stories, although they’re not necessary playing out at the same time.
1. Only Suga and Jungkook are dead
Starting with probably the most-clear cut evidence. Suga and Jungkook are both dead, from suicide and car accident respectively. The other members are mourning their deaths (Jin, Jimin, J-Hope) or trying to move on with their lives (Rap Monster, V).
Evidence: Both members are in dangerous situations (Jungkook in front of a car, Suga in a room that’s on fire). Neither get solo shots after we last seem them in this situations.
There’s a subset to this theory;
1A Jungkook died first
Evidence: Between Jungkook and Suga, we see Jungkook’s death first in the MV. Suga seems to be thinking of someone and waiting for them in the hotel room. Suga and Jungkook were exceptionally close, and Suga can’t handle not having the other there, and so commits suicide.
2. Jin and V are the only members alive
Evidence: We see all of the other members getting into dangerous situations. They all perished in these situations (even J-Hope, Rap Monster, and Jimin… what we later see with J-Hope opening his eyes, Rap Monster standing at the petrol station, and Jimin sitting in the bathtub is a vision of their ghost), although we don’t necessarily know the order (i.e. this theory could piggyback the first theory). However, as we don’t see V and Jin in these situations, they are still alive. This is why we get a close up of these two, and only these two, at the end of the MV.
3. No one is dead
Evidence: J-Hope opens his eyes after collapsing. Jimin is seen in the bathtub after sinking below the water. The petrol station doesn’t ignite for Rap Monster. Suga could still leave the room. We don’t actually see Jungkook getting hit by the car. V and Jin are never in dangerous situations. The video just represents the group at the lowest points in their lives. They’ve had each other to rely on before (e.g. J-Hope got over an addiction or psychological issue as symbolised by him destroying his tablets in the fire), perhaps they need each other again to survive?
4. Jin is dead
Evidence: His individual story is very different to everyone else; they all seem to have a purpose in their actions, while Jin’s actions seem to be more symbolic (e.g. burning the petals). Jin also seems very isolated; even Suga leaves the room at some point (to get fuel) and Jimin is linked to other people through the note he’s burning (assuming the note has writing from, or about, another person). Furthermore, Jin is the only member to look directly into the camera, and this is the only interaction he gets in his solo shots. He’s crying because he’s left his friends behind. He’s seen with a lily on his chest, a flower that’s associated with funerals and death (at least in Western countries). The other members are trying to deal with his death. This theory could piggyback onto the first theory, since we don’t know the chronology of the MV.
5. Jin is the only member alive
Evidence: Jin is seen holding six lily petals, representing the six other members. As already mentioned, he is seeming isolated and his actions are more symbolic than the other members. This is because the other members have all perished (see point 2), and Jin is trying to adjust to life without his friends, but is having difficulty.
Do you agree with any of my theories, or do you have your own to propose? What’s your thoughts on the MV? Does it make sense to you? What do you think happened? Did you like the song? Let’s get some discussion happening in the comments section… I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Note: For fans of BTS who have seen all videos associated with the HYYH series, please leave discussion of the other videos for later posts… at the moment we’re just focusing on I Need U!