a closer kpop reading of ab6ix’s ‘stay young’

delve into the visuals of the new music video with BG

Within its first day of debut, AB6IX’s video for ‘Stay Young’ has been viewed more than 1.5 million times. If you’re one of the many ABNEW or multi kpop fans streaming, you may have missed some of the visual elements used to convey the meaning of the song. But not to worry. I’m here to break them down for you.

What is ‘Stay Young’ by AB6IX about, anyway?

‘Stay Young’ paints a picture of someone who is trying to find their own way in the world. People around them, likely older adults, cast criticisms on their life choices. They accuse the person of being aimless, of not having any plans. In actuality, the person may not be exactly sure where they are going but they are determined to press on and forge their own path. At its heart, the song is an invitation for listeners to do the same–to know that they’re not alone while figuring things out. It encourages us to move forward bravely and embrace the future, trusting that everything will work out for the best, and the imagery in the video helps to convey this message.

The Main Setting

The primary setting for the music video is an amusement park. Through much of the video, the boys are outside of the gate. The rides are visible in the background as well as the glow of the northern lights in the sky.

When you think of an amusement park, carefree images flood your mind. An amusement park is a place for fun and excitement. Being just outside the entrance represents how close we are to the good things the song promises. The name of the amusement park, “A New Hope” reinforces the metaphor.

It’s important to note that there is noone working the ticket window. This symbolizes the fact that you can’t buy your way into a happy life. In the end, you have to get there on your own.

By the end of the video, AB6IX is shown inside the amusement park with fireworks lighting up the sky. It seems they’ve found their way to their happy place, and in the very last scene as they move through the gate, they seem to be asking us to join them.

The Longing for Connection

People walking on the street are busy like a dust

They are all laughing outwardly but in fact they are frightened

Another theme of both the song and the video is connection. The above quote describes people moving past each other, scattered in all directions and drifting aimlessly. These individuals are not comfortable enough to tell others how they are feeling, they paste on smiles and keep going. They are disconnected, frightened and alone.

The theme of connection plays out in the scenes that involve Daehwi and Woojin. At one point, we see Woojin talking happily while Daehwi sits forlornly across from him. Suddenly, Woojin vanishes, and we realize that he was just a memory. It is clear from Daehwi’s body language that he misses him. Meanwhile, we see Woojin on his own in a cafe. As the video progresses, both Daehwi and Woojin decide to reach out. Woojin gets on the phone, and Daehwi starts to write a letter. The video encourages us to get connected, to tell other people how we feel.

A Flower in the Destruction

The final and most powerful symbol in the video is the flower that appears in Woong’s hand as the group stands among a place that has clearly seen some terrible tragedy. The image may seem out of place until you consider the following lines from the song:

Even if I don’t follow and fall in the middle of nowhere…

I will make flowers bloom there and sing a song

That line brings the metaphor into clear meaning. It represents the idea of picking yourself up and making something beautiful in the worst of circumstances and when you make mistakes.

Powerfully, the envelope for the letter that Daehwi is writing to Woojin appears in his hand immediately after the flower sequence. Yes, the two of them apparently had some falling out or separation in the story of this video, but it’s not too late to repair things. Maybe their relationship will be even more beautiful after they reconcile.

There you have it–my visual analysis of the ‘Stay Young’ MV. Did you see any symbols that I missed? Tell me about them in the comments.

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