a closer kpop reading of golden child’s burn it

delve into the visuals of the new music video with BG

After its release on January 25, 2021, the music video for ‘Burn It’ has already exceeded 1.5 million views, meaning Goldenness has been hard at work streaming. Whether you’ve watched the video once or hundreds of times, you may have missed out on the connections between the visual imagery and the meaning behind Golden Child‘s new song. Let’s take a closer look.

Burn It music video, Golden Child

What is ‘Burn It’ by Golden Child about, anyway?

‘Burn It’ is a song about the effects that our memories have on our present selves. The lyrics address a second person who is struggling to move on from the past. At the beginning, the song speaks about accepting the person where they are and embracing them despite their challenges. It describes this person’s burdens as a weight dragging them down.

Then, the song goes on to powerfully inspire the person and reassure them that there are better times ahead. The burning described in the chorus refers to destroying the chains posed by past hurts. It represents burying “worries and regrets.” The message is clear: even though our problems may be seem insurmountable, we can get through them when we have support and love.


The Zombie Horde

Setting the MV during the zombie apocalypse created an opportunity to make a video that is in effect a short horror film, but the walking dead is also a powerful symbol. Zombies by definition are undead–they are no longer living but they still move and they still experience hunger.

You can draw a comparison here to bad memories. Even though whatever happened is over, the memories pursue you. They can drag you down. They can hurt you as badly as the dead’s bite, destroying your future happiness and leaving you moving through life like a zombie yourself.


The Zombie Mother

There’s a saying that ”hurt people hurt people.” People who have been injured by the past and put into a ”zombie state” may go on to hurt other people, creating even more undead. That’s the message behind the zombie mother. Jaehyun can’t bring himself to abandon or kill her, even though it’s too late to bring her back. He is stuck in his own now-painful memories of how she used to b, evidenced by how he keeps staring at the picture. At the end, we see him cuddle up close to her, and we can assume that soon enough she will bite him.


The Zombie Miracle

If you’re a fan of the genre, you know once you’re a zombie there’s no coming back. That’s why the moment in the video where Bomin embraces his girlfriend and we see her eyes go from zombie back to human is a huge surprise.

When you consider the lyrics of the song and think of zombies as a metaphor, it makes perfect sense. The idea of ‘Burn It’ is that you can be helped during bad times and help others get through them, too. It wasn’t too late for Bomin’s girlfriend because she hadn’t become lost in the pain of her past. By refusing to leave her and instead holding her tight, his love helped her heal.


The Use of Light & Plants

The dance sequences are shown against two sets that vary greatly from the hellscape that the rest of the video is shot in. The first is a room with a skylight and large windows that let in tons of pleasant white light. During the course of the video, the vines that are present in the room begin to grow and cover more of the stone walls.

In the second space, we see crumbling ruins which seem closer to the desolate urban environments found in the zombie scenes; however, there is one big difference. Take a look at that sky. There are dark clouds on both edges of the shot but there is light beginning to shine through.

With both sets, light conveys a sense of hopefulness. It reinforces the idea that there are better, brighter times ahead. The plants represent the resilience of life, how we can grow and flourish even after big setbacks.


The Flare

The video ends with the flare, which I believe has a dual symbolic message. For one thing, flares are used in times of distress. We light them to help people find us or to warn them of hazards. Its presence here suggests that it’s okay to send up a flare, to ask for help when you need to work through something. Additionally, this flare is literally a light in the darkness, another hopeful symbol.


Final Thoughts

This video would be powerful no matter when it was released, but I think its timing during the COVID-19 pandemic is especially poignant. Globally, we have all gone through trauma. Millions are dead around the world from a virus–usually the causes of zombies in movies and TV shows. I think we can all get inspired by this video to acknowledge that we’re having a hard time by sending up that flare and to embrace those around us who need our help. Life can come back as surely as those vines grew during the dance sequence. It’s not too late for any of us, but we need to reach out.

There you have it–my visual analysis of the video ‘Burn It’ by Golden Child. What did you think of the video? See something I missed? Tell me about it in the comments. And don’t forget to follow I’m Too Old to Be This Into K-Pop on social media.

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2 thoughts on “a closer kpop reading of golden child’s burn it

  1. Love this analysis! I really enjoyed the music video immensely, it brought back those early 2010s vibes kpop videos had.

    1. It’s a fantastic video, and I totally agree–it reminds me of the kinds of stories you saw in videos by 2nd generation groups. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment!

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