Every new BTS song is a story that keeps going. Beyond the rapturous melodies and soul-stealing vocals, every song adds to the Bangtan Universe (BU) – birthed by the septet’s The Most Beautiful Moment In Life album trilogy.
In the BU, each member plays the role of individuals enduring agony, hardship and despair; their chapters grapple with difficult and layered issues such as domestic violence, grave illness, suicide, time travel, and alternate timelines. Therefore, it’s hard for any BTS fan to not indulge their own imagination, and examine every new song for it’s symbolic layering and hidden-in-plain-sight messaging.
Of course, all Bangtan Universe narratives are usually labelled “BU content certified by Big Hit Entertainment,”. While this is not the case with BTS’ newest Japanese track Film Out, it’s hard not to look beyond the veil of imagery and lyrics to speculate on covert meanings and concealed revelations.
Sung in Japanese, Film Out is part of BTS’ upcoming Japanese album BTS, The Best. Co written by Jungkook, Iyori Shimizu (of the rock band Back Number) and producer UTA, the song will also feature in the Japanese remake of the Korean film SIGNAL.
Adorned with gorgeous, heartbreaking wordplay such as
“The words you whisper, the resonance
Wander aimlessly around the room
The fragrance I smell, the warmth I feel
As long as it lasts, as long as it lasts”
Film Out strikes at the heart of lovelorn souls and suspends them in a state of bittersweet longing. As always, their various vocal textures weave a musical tapestry that depicts the various shades of emotive richness.
Jimin’s and Jin’s crystal tenors, Jungkook’s shimmering tenor-falsetto, and RM’s gravelly baritone weave sensations of memory, separation, and the debilitating helplessness that comes with a profound loss. SUGA and JHope are a particular delight, as they intone their verse in a heady meld of rap and song. V takes on a new avatar of vocal gravitas that is both thrilling and almost sombre.
The lyrics are bustling with cutting imagery:
“Decay too far gone absorbing no light or water
Sealing my wounded heart with a rootless, leafless vow
Two glasses placed side by side, their role
Never fulfilled, ah, just as thеy were
Since you last touchеd them”
…depicting formidable growth in Jungkook’s songwriting prowess. Musically, the track is a pop-rock ballad that leverages the best of each genre, thanks to the BTS members’ powerful musical instincts and vival precision.
It is hard not to wonder how Film Out and it’s ode of grief related to the tales told and triumphed over in the Bangtan Universe.
As it often does, BTS’ vision of love and remembrance centers around the irreplaceable bond of personal friendship, especially with each other, which they project and expand to encompass the world they live in. When RM raps “Two glasses placed side by side, their role/ Never fulfilled, ah, just as thеy were/ Since you last touchеd them” it reveals the depth of incompletion they suffer without each other’s presence and support.
The music video for Film Out (directed by Yong Seok Choi of Lumpens) draws from this artistic inclination, and uses familiar (the seven inside a house) and jarring (disorienting heights, reflections with no mirrors, exploding walls) shots to drive home the strange but relatable sadness of losing someone that meant the world to you.
While they start off as being suspended in a world out of time, trapped by the permanence of their loss, an hourglass keeps showing up throughout the video, reminding listeners (and perhaps even the artists) that Life Goes On.
Watch the music video below: