a closer kpop reading of ikon’s why why why

discover the symbolism of the new music video

iKON‘s Why, Why, Why has already racked up over more than 11 million views at the moment I’m writing this, and by the time you’re reading this, millions more will likely have watched it. If you’re one of them, you’re sure to have picked up on the poignant, melancholic mood of the video, but did you notice all of the symbols hidden in the visuals that help to tell the story of the song? Let’s take a look at what I mean.

What Is Why Why Why by iKON about, anyway?

Why, Why, Why is a remorseful song describing a breakup. The lyrics paint the picture of a person who took their relationship for granted. Even though they loved their partner, they did not put effort into keeping their connection strong. Now, they have lost the love of their life and are asking why they let that happen.


The Cafe

The video opens up on Chan in a cafe. In front of him is a glass of water with a woman’s face on it. The glass is sweating causing moisture to run down, creating the illusion that the figure is crying. We see him looking very forlorn as he sits all by himself. In front of him, a face-down photograph is on fire.

The camera zooms out and we see that something’s not right with this space. A butterfly is hovering in midair, and there is a mug caught mid-spill.

These images convey that Chan is caught up in his own head. It’s as if time has stopped because all he can do is think about his relationship that went up in flames. He is feeling so sad that even his drink is shedding tears.


The Flowered Wall

As the video moves on, we find Song in front of a wall covered with beautiful flowers. Even though they are so colorful, he doesn’t pay them any attention. Slowly the lighting in the room changes and the flowers begin to become brown and wilt.

This visual metaphor ties into the lyrics of the song that describe a relationship that

Blossomed a beautiful love flower

But because that relationship wasn’t tended to, it withered and died. Here we see the representation of that. Song isn’t looking at the flowers, and so the next time he turns around they are dying.


The Flooded House

The video continues on to find DK in a living room that has been flooded. We see his cell phone submerged in a pitcher of water. He is receiving a call from “passé.”

When you know that the name on the screen is the French word for “past,” the visuals come into focus. The past continues to call to DK, but he is trying to drown out his memories. He’s even allowing his life, represented by the living room, to become ruined because he is so focused on trying to forget.

Later on, he does grab the phone from the pitcher. This could be read as him giving in and allowing the past to upset him all over again or as his decision to answer the past’s call, confront what he did and finally move on.

At one point, water rises in the room. When you look closely at the shape it takes, it seems like a couple caught up in an embrace, representing the relationship. Obviously, that water can’t hover there forever. Eventually, it will crash down and the illusion of togetherness will be gone, just like a failing couple.


Bobby’s Station Sign & Ring

In a bus station, Bobby gazes up at a sign that says “Pourquoi, pourquois pas, pourquois on comprends toujours apres avoir tour perdu c’étai si précieux.”

This translates to roughly

Why? Why not? Why do we always understand something is precious after we lose it?

The sign is a summary of the question the song poses: why didn’t I do more to protect this precious thing?

As the short scene ends, Bobby puts his ring down by pay phone. He could use that phone to call the person whose relationship that ring symbolizes, but he doesn’t. He just abandons his ring and moves on.

This shows that he’s given up, that he wants no more reminders. It also shows that even now he’s careless about the relationship in a way, showing us that the actions of the singer caused the love to sour in the first place.


The Bus & Bus Station

Several times, we find iKon riding a bus. All of them are looking straight ahead, caught up in their own thoughts. We also see them dancing in a broken down, abandoned bus station and waiting in a newer one.

Buses are a way to get from one place to another, they connect you to another location. A bus can take you toward someone you love or away from them. Seeing iKon looking so solemn on the bus suggests that they are leaving behind the person they loved. But they don’t make it to a new destination. Instead, they find themselves just stranded there in the bus station.

And why are they stuck?

Because the bus literally went up in flames. The boys stand and watch it and then turn and walk away as there is nothing that can be done to put out the blaze.

With the bus and the bus station, the video shows that there is no way back to that relationship. It’s too late to put out the fire. But there’s no way forward. Right now, they’re just trapped with their own thoughts about what went wrong and why, why, why they let it happen.

That wraps up my visual analysis of Why, Why, Why. Watch the video for yourself and then drop me a comment, telling me what you think (and I apologize if I messed up any of the members’ names. I’m a baby iKONIC).

ab6ix astro ATEEZ baekhyun blackpink bts chung ha cix cravity dreamcatcher DRIPPIN exo gidle golden child got7 hoppipolla ikon itzy iu Kang Daniel mamamoo MCND mirae MONSTA x nct Oh My Girl Oneus ONF OnlyOneOf Pentagon PIXY Purple Kiss Red Velvet Seventeen SHINEE stray kids Super Junior T1419 Twice TXT Up10TION Verivery Victon WEi WJSN

5 thoughts on “a closer kpop reading of ikon’s why why why

  1. This is my first time listening to an IKON song and honestly my first time hearing about the group. I enjoyed the music video. The song itself was a very sweet and sad song. I listened to it a few times and after reading the analysis the video makes A LOT of sense. Everything about the song felt very poetic. I liked it 🙂

  2. I have yet to see the video but after reading this analysis I am very tempted to watch it. I think thats what I will do right after class!

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