In “Life goes on” their # 1 single released in November of last year, the members of BTS extended a reassuring hand.

“Close your eyes for a moment / Hold my hand,” they sing before launching into the chorus. “Towards the future, let’s run away. “

Looks like that future has finally arrived on Friday, with the release of the band’s latest single, “Permission to Dance”. Co-written by Ed Sheeran – starring Snow Patrol’s Jenna Andrews, Steve Mac and Johnny McDaid – the song is packed with irresistibly bouncy piano bars and lyrics written for the sole purpose of uplifting. According to the group’s label, Big Hit Music, “Permission to Dance” is “dedicated to anyone who is having a bad day or is discouraged in the face of reality.”

Providing comfort in the middle of the dark is what BTS does best; that’s what they have always done, throughout the eight years since their debut. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, forcing the group to postpone their next stadium tour indefinitely, RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook embarked on their new mission to provide their fans , ARMY, a distraction from despair. “Permission to Dance” is the latest single in a series of works produced by the group in Pandemic, which includes last summer’s hit “Dynamite”, current Billboard No. 1 single “Butter” and their november album. TO BE.

“Most of the music I listened to growing up was about dreams and hope and soul-searching in the midst of despair,” rapper Suga told BuzzFeed News in May, when the band released “Butter”. “I was influenced by this kind of music and I became what I am today. So in my turn, I also want to give that kind of influence.

Where the music of the past year has provided distraction, camaraderie and melancholy understanding, “Permission to Dance” offers a different kind of solace: the hope that the future promised in “Life Goes On” is only away. our doors. That hope is manifested physically in her music video as an ubiquitous flock of balloons in varying shades of purple – the signature color of BTS and ARMY. A newspaper headline seen in the song’s teaser, released earlier this week, reads: “Harbingers of Hope: Purple Balloons Signify End of COVID-19.” “

As always, the clip is full of these subtle BTS ARMY nods, even until its release date – July 9, 2013, was the day fans of the group officially received their names, and every year. , the fandom celebrates its birthday on this day. But “Permission to Dance” also celebrates the community on a larger scale, spotlighting a diversity of characters from around the world and in so doing, promising that the song’s message of hope is extended to everyone, bar none. . The inclusiveness of the song’s message is even reflected in its choreography, which incorporates the international sign language to “dance”, “have fun” and “peace” in his bridge.

A particular spotlight on service workers throughout the video brings to mind the message of BTS’s 2018 song “Anpanman.” Inspired by the hero of the Japanese picture book of the same name, this song was a pledge from the members to give their all to improve the lives of fans; when they kicked off his performance, they donned the uniforms of firefighters and construction workers, the everyday superheroes who do the same. They replayed it on Today spectacle in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when healthcare professionals were rightly presented as our frontline heroes.

“Permission to Dance” features something similar: scenes of masked employees in an office, greeted after a year of absence; a waiter dancing alone in an empty restaurant; a janitor plunging a teacher into a deserted school corridor; a postman spotting one of those ubiquitous purple balloons as she goes about her duty. The last 60 seconds of the clip are dedicated to the team that works with BTS behind the scenes: a host of stylists, choreographers, makeup artists, each of the multitude of people who do the support work to make music, dance the la choreography of the song alongside the stars themselves. It’s a warm celebration of the community, well, I admit it: it melted my pessimistic heart. (Like butter. Heh.)

The message of “Permission to Dance” is by no means revolutionary, but treating it with a completely non-cynical spirit seems radical nonetheless. As humans, we’re so predisposed to deny ourselves joy, and it may seem inappropriate – or simply impossible – to be happy after nearly a year and a half of increasingly dragging desperation.

“Permission to Dance”, however, is a refreshing reminder that not only is happiness possible, but there is no shame in feeling it – even if it is only, to begin with, for the duration of your life. three minutes and seven seconds of a carefree summer pop song.

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