Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: B.A.P–“One Shot”

B.A.P tangle with gangsters and incompetent security guards in their new music video.

Did you like the song?
Just like B.A.P’s songs “Warrior” (their debut), “Power,” and “No Mercy” before it, “One Shot” follows a similar style and structure: opening rap by Yongguk, pretty vocals by Youngjae and Daehyun, rap in the middle by Zelo, impressive dance, aggressive masculine themes. I didn’t feel like this song had as much, uh, power as “Warrior,” still my favorite of the bunch, but nevertheless it’s still a very good song, worthy of praise, and I liked it a lot and continue to be impressed by B.A.P’s performances.

One thing I really appreciate is how intense and passionate the group as a whole is. It seems nobody ever slacks off; they always put a huge amount of energy into their performances. I know we as fans tend to claim this about a lot of groups, but in B.A.P’s case, I think fans can assert this sentiment with all sincerity: they are working hard, and it’s paying off.

B.A.P BAP One Shot members review brown picture
Yongguk, Himchan, Daehyun, Youngjae, Jongup, and Zelo.

What was your favorite part of the song?
This is going to look dumb, but the “ooh-ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh-ooh” part was amaaazing. So pretty.

Does the English make you want to rip your eardrums out?
Hmm. Yongguk: “One shot, let me tell you something that you already know. You just get the rock to me. You know what I mean?” Sorry, I’m not sure I do.

However, I’m willing to forgive pretty much any English infraction because he references Martin Luther King, Jr., in the line “Bicheul barkhyeo Martin Luther King cheoreom” (“Shine your light like Martin Luther King”)! In his opening rap in “Power,” Yongguk referenced Guernica, a Cubist painting (i.e. very abstract) by Pablo Picasso about the horror and devastation of war. It was created in response to the bombing of the Basque city Guernica in the Spanish Civil War. And in this music video, he’s referencing Martin Luther King, Jr., an American hero and civil rights activist who used civil disobedience to combat racial injustice.

BAP One Shot Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am willing to overlook every other questionable English phrase in this song because of the mind-blowing depth of Yongguk alluding to Picasso and Martin Luther King. This is not content you usually get in Korean pop music videos, and I very much appreciate the references.

See, I complained about MBLAQ sampling a speech by Malcom X in their “This is War,” but here I am praising B.A.P for referencing Martin Luther King, Jr.—what’s up with that?

The real difference to me is the theme of each song. MBLAQ’s “This is War” is about how the speaker is angry that another guy stole his girlfriend and made her cry—the speaker then melodramatically “declares war” on the other guy. Now, it’s a good song, but in my opinion, that’s not really appropriate material for inserting a speech by a human rights activist. It felt rather like the songwriters just threw that speech sample in there because it sounded dramatic and interesting, but they weren’t really considering the impact or history of the content.

Contrast that to B.A.P’s “One Shot,” which is an inspirational song that encourages the listener to get up, get out there, and make a difference in the world because time is running out, and they only have this “one shot” (a phrase used as a double-entendre in the music video). When Yongguk declares that we should go out there and shine our lights like Martin Luther King, Jr.—yeah, that not only fits and make sense, it enhances and elevates the song by giving us a concrete example of what we can achieve as humans in a complex world.

Did you like the video?
Multiple member deaths, members spitting blood, member betrayals, alternate endings, blood splatters all over the camera—yup, sounds good to me. I really like how the members get to act in different roles, and everybody seems to have something significant to do. Also, I doubt it’s like this in Korea, but in the U.S. right now, there are some serious discussions going on about why America seems to have so many gun-related mass killings and what kinds of regulations are needed to attempt to prevent these in the future. These discussions include examining what role media may play in shaping our attitudes towards guns.

B.A.P BAP One Shot Daehyun guns
Daehyun’s crate of guns.

In this music video, while there was, of course, some of the glorification of guns (i.e. the guys looking pretty cool while holding them and shooting them), I appreciate that B.A.P’s scriptwriters actually showed that, yeah, people with guns can kill good guys as well as bad guys. In this case, fans were treated to the sight of all the members being shot to death—which might be a tad traumatic! The scriptwriters instantly undid the damage with an alternate ending in which Youngjae was actually just an undercover cop all along and nobody had to die, but nonetheless, those images of the members being shot and killed are haunting reminders of what guns can do, even to beautiful and badass people.

B.A.P BAP One Shot Jongup guns
Jongup contemplates violence.

Was there a storyline? If so, did it make sense?
Turns out it takes a lot more than just one shot to take down the B.A.P gang.

There are two versions of what happened here, so I’ll do the first and then the second version instead of mixing them together.

Version One

The members of B.A.P are all in some kind of gang. We see them at the beginning enjoying the rewards of their ill-gotten gains.

B.A.P One Shot members on a boat
Fine dining, fancy clothes, and scantily-clad women on a yacht.

Then it’s down to business. I’m guessing at some point the B.A.P gang got in trouble with some bad (worse?) people who are now seeking their revenge. They drive by the headquarters where Yongguk is just starting his day by greeting Jongup, when—BAM!—one of the bad gangsters hits Jongup with a lead pipe and throws a zip drive down on his unconscious body, clearly sending a message that they are unhappy with Yongguk’s B.A.P gang.

B.A.P BAP One Shot Yongguk Jongup pipe
During the next part of this music video, Jongup will have a bandage around his head with a bloodstain on his forehead, even though he was hit in the back of his head.

Cut to the B.A.P headquarters, which are pretty cool, assuming you like motorcycles:

B.A.P BAP One Shot headquarters
Assuming you really like motorcycles.

They examine the content of the zip drive, which reveals that the rival gang is keeping Youngjae in a torture dungeon, beating him up, and holding him hostage for 10 million dollars—in U.S. currency, that is. Why they want U.S. money is never explained. I feel a bit obligated, although it might seem superfluous, to point out that $10,000,000 is quite a lot of money—more than I would have anticipated from kidnapping just one person and way more than one person could reasonably and legally hope to raise in a short time period. But then, I suppose the bad kidnappers are attempting to extort a gang that is operating outside the law, and if they figure the B.A.P gang is going to steal it anyway, why not aim high?

B.A.P BAP One Shot Youngjae ransom
Youngjae and his insane ransom.

Yongguk slams down the laptop lid in anger (warning: don’t actually do this! I destroyed my old laptop by doing this!) and then gets to planning an elaborate heist, full of intricate back-door dealings and perhaps involving a poker game or seduction or out-maneuvering a kingpin or—

B.A.P BAP One Shot toy cars
Or playing with toy cars, yeah, I guess that could work...? I know you guys are super into motorcycles, but...

And can we just talk about Jongup’s blingy handcuff necklace for a minute...? No wonder they hit you with a lead pipe, man; there’s fashion and then there’s going way overboard.

Yongguk and Zelo wander around taking pictures of the sights in Manila (the capital of the Philippines, where this music video was shot, in case you were wondering):

B.A.P BAP One Shot Manila Philippines

In particular, this sign:

B.A.P BAP One Shot meaning summary review
Pearl Plaza Now Open—we had to take a photo because we couldn’t remember four words...

Meanwhile, Daehyun and a newly recovered Jongup are stalking around abandoned subway stations, meeting with shady dealers who dole out boxes of guns.

B.A.P BAP One Shot Daehyun Jongup subway
Seriously shady.

And Himchan...fixes trucks.

B.A.P BAP One Shot Himchan truck
Somebody’s gotta make a living around here! (Just kidding, it’s their getaway truck he’s fixing up.)

So this, then, appears to be the master plan: the B.A.P gang is going to accede to the evil kidnappers’ demands and procure $10 million in exchange for the captured Youngjae. They’re going to do this by robbing an armored security vehicle carrying the proceeds from the newly opened Pearl Plaza. The B.A.P gang, organized by Yongguk on a walkie-talkie, corners and traps the security vehicle, whose professional, trained occupants then do the sensible, professional thing of sitting tight in their bulletproof van, calling the cops, and simply waiting for the police to take the B.A.P gang away—

B.A.P BAP One Shot armored car
Or—oh, okay, so they’re just going to get out of their cars and confront the B.A.P gang, two vs. four. Well, surely nothing can go wrong with that plan...

B.A.P BAP One Shot armored car 2
Ah. Nobody could have foreseen this one coming.

The B.A.P gang overwhelms the two security guards and takes their keys and cash. I feel pretty sorry for the security guards and the pearl sellers at this point, losing all their cash in one hit:

B.A.P BAP One Shot stolen cash
Stolen cash.

Then comes The Confrontation, which takes place at that same abandoned subway. Clearly the police there should patrol in abandoned subways more often.

B.A.P BAP One Shot Youngjae kidnapped
The Confrontation. By the way, wearing earrings to a fight is probably not the best idea.

The exchange of cash for Youngjae is made.

B.A.P BAP One Shot Youngjae beaten up
Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the makeup job on Youngjae.

He and Yongguk have A Bromance Moment, just before the evil kidnappers prove that, yes, they are actually the bad guys here, and decide that now they have their money, they should just go ahead and kill the entire B.A.P gang anyway.

B.A.P BAP One Shot kidnapper shooting Youngjae
The kidnapper’s t-shirt is prophetic.

We’re then treated to a massive shootout in which every damn person involved ends up dead. I found Zelo’s death most affecting because, well, he’s just so young, but Himchan’s had the advantage of cinematic blood:

B.A.P BAP One Shot Himchan blood
R.I.P. Himchan :(((

Version Two

B.A.P BAP One Shot Youngjae undercover officer
Twist ending: Officer Youngjae!

This is an alternate ending in which Youngjae is actually working undercover in a police sting operation designed to catch the B.A.P gang in wrongdoing by fabricating a fake kidnapping. We get a flashback to undercover!Youngjae implanting some kind of tracking or recording device at the B.A.P gang headquarters so that officers could listen in to the gang’s plan to procure $10 million (illegally). Then the police can take them all in.

B.A.P BAP One Shot Youngjae undercover officer tracking or recording device

It looks like at least two of the “rival gang” were in on the sting, as well, either as hired actors or also undercover operatives.

B.A.P BAP One Shot Youngjae undercover officer rival gangs
Either way, they’re on Youngjae’s side, as he’s shaking their hands.

What’s not clear to me is if any of the rival gang is real or not. It looked like some of them were also being arrested at the end. *shrug*

B.A.P BAP One Shot Youngjae undercover officer salute
Ooh, the smell of betrayal.

This alternate ending is nice because nobody dies, but it’s also awful because Youngjae betrays his team! Which one do you prefer?

Was the dance cool and distinctive?
I love love love this dance. I mean, B.A.P is always awesome, but this one is something particularly special. I can’t decide which part I like most: the lying on the floor bit? The leg criss-crossing bit? The push-ups? Puppet-master!Himchan? Jongup leapfrogging? The part where they all basically collapse in a circle around Youngjae?

B.A.P One Shot Youngjae circle dance review

Zelo spazzing out all over the floor and then topping it all off with the scorpion move?

B.A.P One Shot Zelo dance move sick review

Okay...yeah, actually, that was probably the coolest moment. Zelo is a freakin’ badass, singlehandedly doing an inverse worm and a scorpion and this weird head spinning move. But the other parts were really neat too, so yes, this dance wins!

B.A.P One Shot Zelo closeup review
Well done, Zelo.

You can check out the dance version here.

Do the members look good?
Heck, yes! Although I prefer it when they color-code their hair, at least they’re not all blonde anymore. :)

B.A.P BAP One Shot members review picture with words
Youngjae, Daehyun, Himchan, Yongguk, Jongup, and Zelo.

Speaking of, have a flashback photo from “Warrior”:

BAP members names age order Warrior photos
Members in age order: (top:) Yongguk, Himchan, Daehyun, (bottom:) Youngjae, Jongup, and Zelo.

And one from the teasers for “Power,” in which they did actually color-code their hair:

BAP members names age order Power closeups primary promo teaser photo
Members in age order: (top:) Yongguk, Himchan, Daehyun, (bottom:) Youngjae, Jongup, and Zelo.

Which member stood out the most?
Um, this is really hard because I’m biased toward Himchan and his dramatic looks, but Yongguk’s low-voiced rapping stood out to me, and that circle part of Youngjae’s was amazing (as was his acting), and Jongup’s scene where he’s beaten up was very memorable, and Daehyun’s high note was awesome, and Zelo throwing himself all over the floor was sooo cool.

Still, it’s hard to pick anybody but Yongguk for this one, as he seemed to have the most screentime and some seriously interesting scenes to film while being the leader of B.A.P and playing the leader of the B.A.P gang. That scene where he recognizes Youngjae’s betrayal, just...ouch, my heart!

B.A.P One Shot
Those earrings don’t hurt, either. :)

Do you like it enough to buy the song?
At first, I was leaning towards no, but I think I’m going to seriously get into this group and start watching their variety shows soon (Ta-dah! It’s B.A.P., MTV’s B.A.P Diary, and B.A.P’s Killing Camp), so I’ll probably want it. Also, that “ooh” part and Daehyun’s high note are things I will want to listen to repeatedly.

Any ending thoughts?
Keep doing what you’re doing, B.A.P—it’s seriously working for you.

B.A.P BAP One Shot rabbit bunny logo
The bunny is back!

Fiancé’s one-liner:
I'm on a boat, m*#^$%*^%&#r, don't you ever forget!” That link has very bad language; be careful. :)

B.A.P One Shot boat scene
Looks like fun!

[P.S. Yes, as of Saturday, February 16, the boyfriend and I are engaged! He got down on one knee and gave me a ring and everything, and I started crying even though I really wasn’t anticipating doing that and didn’t think I was that soppy and weepy, haha. But whatever! So happy! And now instead of “boyfriend’s one-liner” it will be “fiancé’s one-liner.”]

Thanks for reading! Please let me know your thoughts, and feel free to request a review if you would like.


  1. Congrats on the engagement, anyways I agree with everything you said, I love your reviews and I anxiously wait for the next review :)

  2. This site is cool!i love B.A.P very much,but in my country (in Greece) few people listen korean pop songs,but i support B.A.P and my friend and i love you;-)

  3. I really loved your review. I totally agree with you and pointing out such details like
    the handcuff necklace (I had never paid attention to that before), the
    earrings, the abandoned subway etc. made me laugh because it was so true. You
    gave your point of view in a very objective way and I liked that. I have no
    more things to say actually, because you said all the important things.

    I just had to post a comment because you said you were going to watch their shows and all, and that’s just what happened to me with this song. I have been listening to
    them since Warrior but One Shot made me realize they were just too unique and that
    I had to grab more info on this group.

    Great review and I hope you will appreciate their shows, which are quite

    And even if I don’t know you, congratulations for your engagement!

  4. Oh, thanks so much for the engagement wishes! It really means a lot to me, even if we don't know each other in person, so thanks! :)

    I'm glad you liked the review, as well! I haven't seen all their shows yet, but this video really helped catapult B.A.P to the top of my list and made me a big fan.

    Thanks again for your very kind words; I appreciate them! *hugs*

  5. I couldn't even imagine that Youngguk would reference Martin Luther King. I've got mad respect for him even more now. but it is kinda weird because the video is violent but Martin Luther King was against violence.

  6. So what is the meaning of the song? Their friend was captured then they had to give the bad guys money?

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