Meaning of ON By BTS & The Story Behind

The popularity of the BTS group can only be compared with the tsunami. With a huge wave, they capture people’s hearts, turning casual listeners into devoted fans. Needless to say, their videos are gaining millions of views in just minutes? The same thing happened with the video for the song “On”. In a few days, she blew up all the charts and radio stations. But what did the video performers want to say? Is there some hidden meaning in a set of different frames? Let’s break down the video!

BTS is a modern mega-popular Korean group. Each of their songs becomes a hit. Young charming guys create really high-quality and deep videos with a lot of references and subtexts, and most importantly – with an exciting plot. Today we are going to figure out the meaning behind BTS’s ‘On’ video.

BTS filmed two videos for the song: the first is a dance video, the second is a story video. There are no comments on the dance, but the plot caused a lot of questions from the fans.

The meaning of the song “On” by BTS

The song tells about the complex mental anguish of the lyrical hero. Members of the group, like fragments from a mirror, form an integral image of the character. That is, the words of each are a continuation of the flow of thoughts and the search for the path of a hero. That is why a cheerful audio sequence of a song does not guarantee such content. Let’s take a look at the text.

In the first verse, which Jimin and V sing, it creates the feeling of a person who does not know the meaning of his life. Every morning he gets up without a goal, he does not understand what is happening around. These lines make you think about your purpose in life.

The second verse continues the same theme. The hero complains that he is afraid of change. Because of this, he simply has nothing to live for. He just goes with the flow, and even then not very confidently. However, it can be seen that it is here that the hero is born hope for a happy ending.

In the chant, everything smoothly transitions to the fact that the hero decides to give up everything and live his life. Now it’s called “getting out of your comfort zone.” He leaves his prison for a new life. This characterizes the desire of the character to find himself in this world.

And the chorus does not give this note of romanticism. The hero understands that now he will be hurt, but he is ready for this. After all, leaving the comfort zone is always a test of a person’s character, his moral strength. But it is important to note that the young man longs for pain, he understands that it will come, so it is better to meet her with her head held high.

The third verse shows that the hero is completely ready for his difficult path. He literally screams about it. The lyrical character is even ready to fall, but after the fall he will undoubtedly rise. Nothing can stop him from doing what he wants to do.

The fourth verse is the culmination of the whole development of the hero. Here he appears already as a completely self-confident person. He is not afraid to fall, because he can rise. Victory at any cost – this phrase becomes a kind of hero’s motto. However, they are not the words of a mature person. Of course, it is important to go to your goal, but the phrase “I don’t care what you say” sounds the most adult.

By the way, one of the versions about the meaning of this song just speaks of the stages of growing up. Initially, a person is afraid of everything, but over time it grows stronger and becomes more independent and distant from the opinion of society. But this, of course, is just speculation.

The video “On” is the story of the struggle for freedom. The main characters live in prison behind high walls and seek to escape. At the same time, there are higher powers above them, shown in dark colors and harsh outfits in the second part of the video. This is a six-minute film with a happy ending: at the end, the gates open in front of the heroes, and the entire closed area is overgrown with life-giving greenery.

Lyrics ON By BTS Translation

I don’t understand what people tell me:
Who am I and what should I follow
With every step my shadow gets bigger
What is this place where my eyes will be opened?
Maybe Seoul, or New York, maybe Paris
I rise on my wobbly feet

Look at my feet, look down
My shadow looks so damn much like me
Is it the shadow that’s shaking?
Or are my legs just shaking?
Certainly I’m not fearless
Of course, not everything is perfect.
But I know I’m uncomfortably spreading
But on my impenetrable black wings I will break out

Hey na na na
You have to be crazy not to go crazy
Hey na na na
I immerse myself in both of these different worlds
Hey na na na
You can’t keep me down cause I’m a warrior
A warrior who kept himself in this sugary prison
Find me and we can stay together

(E-oh) Bring, give me the pain
(E-oh) Come here, even hurt me
The rain keeps pouring
Every day, oh na na na
(Yeah) Deliver her, hurt me

Make me suffer
This pain will now become my flesh and blood
hurt me
I’m not scared anymore, because now I know what it’s all about
I breathe unshakably
My air and my light, always waiting for me in the dark
The power of those things that make me truly “me”
When it finally collapses, I’ll be reborn screaming

When she falls I will rise screaming
It’s the way it’s always been
Even if my knees cut on the ground again
Until they are buried
It won’t make any difference
I win and I don’t care how
I will win no matter how much I go through
I will win, no matter how much it hurts me
Whatever you say, whatever they say

Hey na na na
You have to be crazy not to go crazy
Hey na na na
I immerse myself in both of these different worlds
Hey na na na
You can’t keep me down cause I’m a warrior
A warrior who kept himself in this sugary prison
Find me and we can stay together

(E-oh) Bring, give me the pain
(E-oh) Come here, even hurt me
The rain keeps pouring
Every day, oh na na na
(Yeah) Deliver her, hurt me

Where is my painful lie?
Let me breathe for a moment
My everything, my tears and blood
I’m not scared anymore, I’ll sing oooooooo
Oh, looks like I finally got over it.
You should know:
You won’t keep me on the ground as long as I can fight
I have chosen my true path and it passes in darkness
Find my hand and we’ll bleed together

(E-oh) Bring, give me the pain
(E-oh) Come here, even hurt me
The rain keeps pouring
Every day, oh na na na
(Yeah) Deliver her, hurt me

(E-oh) Bring, give me the pain
(E-oh) Come here, even hurt me
All I know is to keep moving forward, forward and only forward.
(Yeah) Deliver her, hurt me

The meaning of the lyrics

The composition sings about the pain that has to be overcome in order to win. The song, like the video, does not have a clear plot: the musicians express a generalized idea, the idea that something must be overcome in order to reach a new level. This is a universal rule that works in all areas of life.

In the first verse, the hero is rather confused, but by the end of the song, his self-confidence is strengthened. The first verse begins with the words:

I can’t understand what people say

Who and what should I follow

<…> I get up, unsteadily on my feet.

The song talks a lot about how scary the hero is to leave his “comfort zone”. Translation of the second verse:

It’s my shadow that trembles

Or is it my legs that are shaking?

Of course I’m not fearless

Of course it’s not all right…

But already in the fourth verse we see a completely different mood. The hero became stronger, bolder and sings:

Even if I fall, I will quickly get up and shout:

We have always been like this!

Even if my knees touch the ground

Until they bury me

It doesn’t matter.

Victory no matter what!

Despite the fear, the hero is ready to change, fight, experience pain and, most importantly, move forward. The title of the song is “On” and means: “Forward!”.

Interpretation options

Due to the fact that the video shows a very generalized and philosophical story without a specific plot, viewers have a lot of different interpretations.

The impregnable wall can be mistaken for an “external system” to which all the inhabitants of the state submit, and the main characters – for those who wish to overthrow the government and liberate their people.

You can decide that the wall is a symbol of internal limitations and stereotypes within a person, and going beyond means liberation from one’s own prejudices.

And due to the fact that there are biblical references in the plot, one can interpret the video very globally: life outside the walls is a mortal earthly life in which a person can never become completely free. Then the moment at which the walls give way is death, the transition to paradise, where nothing fetters the human soul.

About the plot in detail

The video has several storylines. We see the battlefield after the battle. In the middle of it, one of the group members (Seokjin) stands confused. Attention is focused on how he looks at a white dove pierced by an arrow – an innocent victim of the battle.

The second character, Jungkook, all in white, runs away from somewhere. He escaped from captivity: he is clearly afraid of something, and his hands are tied with a thorn bracelet. The image of Jungkook is associated with the image of a dove – as we remember, a dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness, love and, in general, all the best. The meaning of his storyline is this: a bright pure spirit suffers in captivity (systems / prejudices: substitute your option) and strives for freedom. In the end, he really is free – like a flock of white birds that fly away into the distance at the end of the video.

The storyline with the sunken ship and exotic animals in the background is an allusion to Noah’s Ark. It was only in BTS’ interpretation that the ark was wrecked. This is an alternative version of the biblical story, in which salvation, apparently, failed. But history continues, and the fight for freedom is not over yet.

The blindfolded girl and the rest of the children in the video are a symbol of the “inner child” from psychology. In everyday life, our “inner child” really often has to “blindfold”. Adult serious affairs, the routine of everyday life, and sometimes deals with conscience – this is what takes the strength and time of an adult, not giving free rein to his childish, carefree part.

In the video, the hero finally unties the girl’s eyes, and at the same time the wall parted in front of them. Indeed, in order to gain inner freedom, sometimes you just need to look at the world with a simpler, more trusting, “childish” look.

In the second part of the video, the frame abruptly changes: we find ourselves in a dark space with a frightening scenery, where the entire BTS line-up performs an amazing dance. Obviously, in this episode, the directors were inspired by the Hunger Games series of films: the style is exactly the same from there.

Very impressive, but what does it all mean? This dance is the final battle between darkness and light. Heroes who strive for freedom are fighting the heroes who have kept them imprisoned all this time.

At the end we see the scene of gaining freedom. The full line-up of BTS and their followers are breaking out of their confinement. And then seven of them rise to the dais as prophets and conquerors.

The meaning of the video ON By BTS

With a video, everything is easier. He is bright, beautiful, incendiary, but he performs only in addition to the song, and not vice versa. But we simply cannot let it pass our eyes, because the video and the song are an integral composition that should be considered only as a whole, but not separately.

There are many references to Western culture in the video. There are scenes parodying The Maze Runner, The Lion King and other films. This was done intentionally – so BTS wanted to pay tribute to Western fans. And they did it! The Western audience, judging by the comments, is delighted.

But back to the meaning of the video. At the very beginning we see the place of the old battle. Corpses, armor, arrows – all this leads to real horror. The main character (each performer will perform it) approaches the armor. His face expresses only desperation. But, like the lyrics of the song, throughout the video he is convinced that it is time for him to build his own path.

His hands are tied, circumstances are literally against him, but the lyrical hero does not give up. He fights for his happiness. Overcoming various difficulties, he meets a girl, whom he takes by the hand and leads to a new world. It is symbolic that the passage to this world is a giant stone gate, which for the hero is the gate to a new life. This video is so symbolic!

It can also be noted that the name “On” is translated from English as “turn on”. That is, even the name hints that it’s time to become someone more!

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