BANGTAN IS BACK AND MY SOUL IS SCREAMING.
BTS’ new music video dropped today, and they’ve quite literally outdone themselves, in just about every metric possible: “FAKE LOVE” has already not only broken, but demolished, the k-pop records they set themselves during their last comeback–and in half the time.
Back in September, “DNA” racked up 20 million views in 24 hours, taking down BLACKPINK’s previous record of 13.5 million for “As If It’s Your Last.” As of this writing, FAKE LOVE has already usurped that throne and then some. This time, they reached 20 million views in just 9 hours. Now, just 12 hours after dropping, the video has over 25 million views–putting them on track to reach the official fan goal of 50 million by the 24-hour mark.
I’ll admit, when I heard that goal number, I thought fans might be overreaching. I’ve learnt my lesson: never doubt the power of ARMY.
But let’s not underestimate either the power of BTS themselves. Because this music video is….everything.
There’s a dark bass guitar thrum, overlaid with a gorgeous tinkly melody and an EDM drop. It’s somehow very emo and very lit, simultaneously. I’m torn between twerking and crying.
The visuals are stunning. From the sets–reminiscent both of “Blood Sweat and Tears” and a twisted, post-apocalyptic “DNA”– to the throughline of elemental (and Snickers-heavy?) symbolism continued from the dark, timey-wimey plot of the Bangtan Universe begun in “I Need U,” every shot is aesthetic af, but also laden with meaning.
AND DON’T GET ME STARTED ON THE LYRICS. “I’m so sick of this fake love” is the perfect dark mirror to the happy-go-lucky “I want it, real love,” promised in the bright & bubbly (but ultimately, a bit superficial) “DNA.” DNA swore by fate, a purity borne in the blood; “Fake Love” turns that sentiment on its head and shows the truth of losing yourself in another person–of “molding a pretty lie” to “erase [your]self” and “become a doll,” what you believe the other wants.
Meanwhile, Spotify has also released a special, choreo-focused vertical video perfect for mobile users. Honestly, though, it can really be qualified as the “thirst edition,” offering less plot but better views of: 1. the dance moves (particularly Jin’s–he’s improved so much!)
2. the lewks (particularly RM’s secondary, clean cut look that I much prefer to the Wolverine thing he has going on for most of the original video)
3. Jungkook’s abs (WARN A WOMAN, JESUS)
Meanwhile, BTS are in America having adorable interviews with puppies and generating endless meme content. The mood whiplash is real.
The boys will become yet another k-pop first when they perform “FAKE LOVE” live at the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, the first Korean group to ever premiere in the U.S. And if the way the internet blew up when they took on the AMAs last fall is any indication, they’re about to take over the damn world.
Stream the rest of the album on Spotify: