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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cut to the B.A.P headquarters, which are pretty cool, assuming you 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?
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—
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):
In particular, this sign:
Meanwhile, Daehyun and a newly recovered Jongup are stalking around abandoned subway stations, meeting with shady dealers who dole out boxes of guns.
And Himchan...fixes trucks.
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—
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:
Then comes The Confrontation, which takes place at that same abandoned subway. Clearly the police there should patrol in abandoned subways more often.
The exchange of cash for Youngjae is made.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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*
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?
Zelo spazzing out all over the floor and then topping it all off with the scorpion move?
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!
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. :)
Speaking of, have a flashback photo from “Warrior”:
And one from the teasers for “Power,” in which they did actually color-code their hair:
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!
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.
“I'm on a boat, m*#^$%*^%r, don't you ever forget!” That link has very bad language; be careful. :)
[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.