‘Beauty in simplicity’: if I were limited to one sentence for this review, it would be that. I would not be exaggerating when I say that this is one of the best K-Pop music videos I’ve seen. Everything – from the track to the choreography – is perfect. I would admit that my opinion is probably exacerbated by the fact that BTS is one of my favourite K-Pop groups. But nevertheless, there are so many things that make this music video one of the best releases this year so far. Finally, released as the third music video for ‘Hwayang Yeonhwa Pt.3‘ on 15th May 2016, the music video for “Save Me” is the highly-anticipated final instalment of the series. And all I can say is: if you haven’t fallen in love with this song already, then this video will definitely change your mind.
You can check out my review for the track itself as part of ‘Hwayang Yeonhwa Pt.3’ album review here. But as for the music video, from the moment the camera pans onto the expanse of desert, where Jimin stands alone waiting for his first lines, you are immediately drawn in. From its cinematography to choreography, it’s entirely different from the previous videos of the series. There are three things that I should comment on.
Firstly, the setting is stunning. It’s dark, desolate, melancholic, cloudy, wind-stricken, and absolutely spectacular. I don’t think I’ve seen such a far-reaching setting in a K-Pop music video before. It doesn’t use any colour or light either, and to be honest it doesn’t need it. The brightness was offered in “Epilogue”, the chaotic colour was offered in “Fire”, so naturally it is appropriate that the music video for “Save Me” – complemented by its EDM/House track – is slightly darker, more monotint, the only colours standing out being V’s and Jin’s dyed hair. Even the members’ outfits are mainly black and white or darker tone (and fantastically fashionable if I do say so!)
Secondly, the choreography is brilliant. It’s seamless, fluid, and seems simple and effortless. Unlike the heavier, more mechanical choreography of “Fire”, the choreo for “Save Me” resembles the style performed in “I Need U” and “Run”. But even then, neither of those choreographies match the simplicity and fluidity that BTS present here. Enhancing this is the fact that at no point, apart from the beginning and end shots, is the choreography or the video static. There’s always motion, whether these are the members’ individual choreography shots (which adds to their individual charms), the other members performing in the background, or even the rotating camera.
This brings me to my third point, the way in which the video is recorded is fantastic. The cinematography is amazing. The entire music video is a one-shot video recorded on a rotating dolly camera, and this definitely adds to its appeal. Firstly, it emphasises how vast the setting is, and secondly gives BTS a chance to showcase their brilliant choreography, both as a group and as individuals. In fact, there are even points – rather unusually – when only four or three members are dancing as units, before the others jump and follow the choreography. It makes for a much more interesting video to watch. The cinematography is the one thing that completes and complements the track, the setting, the choreography, and of course the group.
There’s no story, which initially I had been hoping to conclude the series (though I think at this point, we have to accept that “Epilogue” was the concluding storyline music video). But to be honest, “Save Me” doesn’t need it. In fact, we get enough of a story from the lyrics and English subtitles, which – and I am eternally grateful to Big Hit for it! – were included on the official YouTube release of the music video. The lyrics paint a beautiful picture, one as beautiful as the desolate setting and choreography of the video, and are a wonderful conclusion to the ‘Hwayang Yeonhwa’ trilogy.
Though, we are left with one thing: ‘Boy Meets _’. Whether or not we’ll get answer to this final enigmatic statement, I don’t know. But all I can say is that with this fantastic conclusion, we’ll always be asking.
Review by Tariq