Monsta X have always explored dark concepts accompanied by rock and trap-based music. They definitely have a formula when it comes to their MVs: they feature black outfits, heavy eyeliner, and a focus on choreography shots. But their recent MV, “Shoot Out,” is their most memorable take on this so far.

Despite familiar elements, “Shoot Out” is a strong comeback, and one of the best MVs for the month of October. There’s no plot, but there’s several scenes and symbols that help us piece together the theme of the MV and how it relates to the lyrics. For instance, the members wear jumpsuits and dance inside a prison-like cage. We also see handcuffs, chains, muzzles, and bullets. Since they’re channeling their inner monsters, it’s clear they’re behind bars for the safety of others.

On the top of this prison theme, the members read tarot cards, and the camera focuses on the envy and wrath cards. While the lyrics portray seemingly barbaric thoughts of a zombie, it’s also a metaphor for a relationship coming to an end. The tarot cards in the MV imply the reasoning behind the demise of that relationship.

The lyrics are sometimes incoherent sentences, forming a parallel to a zombie’s chaotic thoughts. At times, they’re not even real words, just mumbling and grunting. Jooheon delivers his lines with great power and emotion:

Excuse me, I’m walkin’ like zombie uh
I’m half dead, crazy and jumpin’ uh
Carefully remember the shape of my hands, the shape of a gun, blokka blokka huh huh
I became your setback, choppa choppa

However, in between all those primitive and turbulent lyrics, there are intertwined moments of clarity showing this song is about a broken relationship:

After I wanted you, there’s not a single place in my heart that’s fine
I’m always hurt, but still, because it’s you

Unless you’re in a young adult novel, zombies and romance don’t exactly fit together. However, the metaphor is apt: the persona feels like he’s half-dead knowing that his relationship will eventually end. In popular media, sometimes the only way for a zombie to die is being shot in the head. During the chorus, the members chant “shoot out” as if this is the climax of their undead love story. It’s a creative and interesting take on a relationship, and it fits in with the eerie and gloomy month of Halloween.

Monsta X never let us down when it comes to their intricate dance routines, and “Shoot Out” is no exception. Right at the beginning of the MV their bodies tremble with the strong base of the music. In keeping with the zombie theme, they also shuffle their feet during the “walker” line, as if they were zombies. (For the unacquainted, “walker” is what zombies are referred to in the American TV show, The Walking Dead.) In the last scene, Wonho mimics shooting a gun and the rest of the members fall to their knees as if they’ve been shot. Altogether, the details in the dance moves helps bring together the zombie-prisoner theme of the MV.

Adding the final touch to their MV is Monsta X’s dark and eclectic fashion. As mentioned before, one of their looks are gray-green prison jumpsuits that they wear with the buttons open and heavy chains. It creates a tough and bold look while they’re in their cages. Other prominent looks include mostly black outfits with a touch of white. They pair it with smoky eye makeup, lace, chokers, and intricate face jewelry. While the colour black dominates, Monsta X still aren’t afraid to experiment with different styles.

Monsta X definitely know who they are when it comes to their music, and they keep consistent with the type of image they put out. Although sometimes sticking to one concept can come off as boring, Monsta X makes enough changes to keep them exciting. 

(Youtube, lyrics via LyricsTranslate, images via Starship Entertainment)