Better than some, but not by much . . .
Sweet Shisus, the MV ... it's a WRECK in terms of human rights and even when counting myself as a rather weak-willed feminist, I found the whole of it disturbing. And the fact that I found it enjoyable and full of hella-hot eye-candy (instead of simply being outraged) made my skin crawl . . . I'll say it again, this sort of valorized and validated depiction of romanticized violence IS JUST PLAIN WRONG AND IT IS NOT OKAY TO PROMOTE THIS SORT OF CULTURAL IDEAL. THIS. IS. RAPE. CULTURE.
I think one of the most frightening aspects of it is the thread of comments on YT (and other sites with the embedded video) following the idea "He pushed her against locker like he was going to kiss her and then dragged her off to a different guy! WTF?!? Like screw that for messing with my feels! That should have been a kiss, it would have be so hot" . . . because THAT is the result of rape culture, thinking that it's hot to be thrown about like a rag doll and sexually assaulted at every turn. *shivers* It's frickin' creepy is what it is. It's not the boys' fault, not entirely, but it's still not something they're entirely blameless for; there are lines that really shouldn't be crossed. SOMEONE should have stopped this. Their company's slogan is "Music & Art for Healing" for heaven's sake. This MV is definitely NOT healing in any way shape or form...
Also, I think it's important to make a delineation between the Rape Culture harassment in Boy in Luv and the attacking-the-oppressor violence of N.O. because they are very different things. I've seen people justifying Boy in Luv by saying that none of the fans (or much of anyone at all for that matter) spoke out against the violence in N.O. which is true enough, but that doesn't validate the violence in Boy in Luv at all. For N.O. , the attacks were more obviously aggressive and flat out obviously violent: starting around 1:45 or so, things get very violent in N.O. However there is a massive difference between a subjugated people rising up against their oppressor and a predatory pack of aggressors victimizing a subject with less power than themselves. In N.O. the boys are rebelling against their oppressors, in Boy in Luv, THEY ARE THE OPPRESSORS THAT NEED TO BE OPPOSED.
Now, I'm meant to be making an objective analysis of the way in which the MV has been made and is pulled off, so I can set most of the Rape Culture issues aside, but you can be sure that they're responsible for a lot of the points I've deducted.
The MV's story is delivered through pretty standard methods and the styling for it all is gorgeous. The lighting plays off every detail and it highlights the nitty-gritty feel of the track (and also of the sense of underworld violence). It frames the boys in beautifully angsty heroism, taking their feelings' negative impacts on their lives into consideration and showing off their collective cleverness and a sort of sweetness in braving a confession. All the shots line up to pose the boys in a grand depiction of power (lots of low angle shots and aggressive close-ups), and along with the epic choreography, it stands well to highlight the physical prowess of each member. I really want a dance version, not just a practice vid (though I do want one of those too), but a full on multi-set dance version, because some of the cuts, and choreography moves paired to set-transitions that tie them all together, are absolutely SPECTACULAR. I mean really, the filmography is beautiful.
The track itself is kickin'. The beat rocks and the transitions are beautiful, perfectly timed. The track and melody evolve, harmonies slide neatly in and out, the bridge lets a drop of tension push the track over the edge. The high energy of the pre-chorus isn't a traditional vamp, but it does the job way better than any usual power-up could have, creating stress-tension for the chorus to blow away. And the high line in the last swing of things adds a fabulous feel of stretch to it, allowing the track to resolve in a smoothe cadence without lengthy lead up but still allowing a bit of a tail for the different elements to trail off piecemeal.
The Lyrics are an interesting look at how sometimes crushes aren't actually welcome, and the idea that falling in love is actually incredibly disruptive to life as a whole and generally rather unpleasant. Other than the threats of violence laced within the lyrics, I love them. They depict a very well-thought out position on the matter disliking of love that very few songs have ever looked at, the unfairness of it all and the ways in which crushes are really not that much fun. It all resolves happily though, which I feel runs counter to the main message of the song, but hey, who doesn't love a happy ending?
All in all, I would love to give this release a 9/10. Even with the aggression in the lyrics and one or two of the transgressions in visual violence, an 8/10 might have been possible for the fact that the track and the MV are both extremely well produced, and incredibly addicting. However, the sheer number of moments where I had to step back and think about how utterly not okay this MV is makes giving it such a score impossible. Music has the power to change the world and it's time people started respecting that. I'd almost want to give it a 0/10, simply because I'm more than just insulted, I feel sick seeing how enjoyable they've made watching such blatantly wrong actions. But the release IS extraordinarily well made, so the final score must reflect that.
I've pretty much just decided to split the difference.