Lots of hype is surrounding the impending comeback of BTS with their new, softer concept accompanying album HER. As BTS returns back to the spotlight, I’d like to take the time to highlight my favorite concept any K-Pop group has ever executed, “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life.”
The Artistic Elements
As a designer, I find myself particularly drawn to the artistic elements presented in The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt 2. BTS’s introduction videos have been artistically driven since the Skool Luv Affair era, but I especially adore the artistry used in the comeback trailer of “Never Mind.” With the novelization of not only the powerful narrative Min Yoongi spins in his compelling introduction, but also important added metaphorical elements of the butterfly and the person running forward, the trailer spins a beautiful picture that sums up the purpose of the entire concept.
The two sets of teaser photos had either the theme of “Je Ne Regrette Rien” (translated to “I regret nothing”) or “Butterfly Dream/Neverland.” Both concepts have a dreamy element that also adds in the very important concept of self-acceptance: in one vein not regretting action and in the other, chasing dreams. The use of pastel colorings really highlights the dreamy metaphors used as well.
The Beauty in Duality of Youth
The Most Beautiful Moment in Life era, also known as 화양연화 and shortened by the fandom as HYYH, expresses the beauty in youth. One of the most striking elements in this concept was the focus not just on the beautiful elements of love (in all forms, not just romantic), but the more painful and less glamorous feelings hidden behind it as well. Highlighting the idea that it’s okay to not be okay is incredibly meaningful for the group’s target audience. It’s not common for any group, especially in K-Pop, to focus on the realities that many face during their youth that includes a level of angst most people try to ignore. “Run” as a title song is the epitome of the theme of the entire HYYH concept up to its release, encompassing elements of both hopeless love and a desperate need to detach from that love in its lyrics.
Other notable songs in the HYYH series that deal with deep and heavy topics include “Whalien 52,” which discusses depression and the desire to be heard by others, “Dead Leaves,” which compares a dying love to the death of a season, “Move,” which covers the often difficult topic of change in one’s life, and “House of Cards,” which discusses a harmful or hollow love that is acknowledged as toxic but refused to be given up despite that. These topics are all incredibly relevant to BTS’s target audience and strike a deep chord within listeners for the genuine understanding of confused feelings that many experience because of these kinds of circumstances. Instead of accusing youth of being an immature time that should be avoided, ultimately BTS highlights how that optimistic and dreamy time of life should carry one through adulthood despite the struggles.
HYYH has multiple recurring metaphors that hold significant meaning. One of these metaphors is the reoccurrence throughout the series of the butterfly. Butterflies have always carried a meaningful weight in literature, but perhaps the most famous metaphorical interpretation of the butterfly is that it symbolizes transformation. The song “Butterfly” takes a much more melancholy stance on the butterfly metaphor, implying a level of freedom that the singer cannot reach. One could also argue that the image of the person chasing after the butterfly in “Never Mind” was a metaphor in chasing after a new and unknown future. There’s no doubt that the permeation of the butterfly in the HYYH series holds a slew of meanings.
“Whalien 52” also holds a particularly powerful symbol in the use of the 52 hertz whale. The whale in the song represents a person struggling with depression (at least in my interpretation) who feels as if they speak on a different frequency from the rest of the world, and is therefore isolated. There’s also a recurring theme of a house of cards either being built or destroyed in the group’s videos (see said house of cards being destroyed amongst Jungkook and Suga’s fighting in “Run.”) The meaning of a house of cards is essentially that a certain feeling, situation, or belief is rooted in a shaky foundation that is bound to collapse.
That’s just a tip of the iceberg in different elements to be interpreted in The Most Beautiful Moment in Life series. There’s no doubt that BTS’ use of this concept has had a huge impact not only on the group’s career, but on the feelings of their fans as well. HYYH will always be a masterpiece in its own right.