“ON” is the enlightenment that comes at the end of a seven-year journey.
“Of course I‘m not unafraid / Of course it’s not all OK,” RM raps. “But I know / Awkwardly I flow.” This sense of acceptance — knowing that it’s OK to not feel OK, it’s normal to be flawed, to fail — permeates the empowering track. And with it comes complete control. (Vocalist V has the words “the shadow like me” written on his cheek in the music video.) By admitting and accepting these parts of themselves, they’ve become whole. “Gotta go insane to stay sane,” Jungkook sings on the pre-chorus.
In many ways, it’s the perfect introduction to BTS; seven years of history effortlessly condensed to four minutes. On the bridge, haunting and sonically hollow, vocalist Jungkook makes a direct reference to their Wings-era track “Blood Sweat & Tears,” singing, “My blood and tears / Got no fears … I’m taking over.”
The bright and dynamic visual features a diverse group of dancers from creative agency The Lab and the Blue Devils marching band, invoking past music videos like “Not Today.” A version of “ON” featuring Sia is also available to stream in the U.S.
With “ON,” BTS wipes the slate clean. It’s reflective, yet propulsive at the same time. BTS continue to push forward, “going on and on and on and on.” It feels more like a beginning than an ending. Because with true acceptance comes peace of mind — a chance to start fresh. To fall again, and to get back up even stronger.