This morning, I texted two non-British friends to do some factfinding. I wanted to know if there were aware of Craig David and his oeuvre, for I had no idea how popular he is worldwide. As a British millennial, he’s pretty much part of the furniture when it comes to the early 2000s, but is he for everyone else? Their replies confirmed to me: he’s niche in other places, or at least not the name he is in my home country. 

Why was I asking this question? Because of the release by BTS’s maknae, Jungkook of the R&B infused “Seven”. It appears to be the Gen Z version of David’s own “7 Days”, both utilising a garage sound and a smooth voice to declare their love and prowess over the days of the week. I had no idea Craig had such an influence for so long in so many places. 

Much like its millennial predecessor, “Seven” is a track with its tongue wedged firmly in its cheek, which Jungkook demonstrates clearly (and entirely in English) through an MV ripe with humour and melodrama. As his official solo debut (his World Cup official soundtrack song “Dreamers” aside) this is a bold and slightly unexpected step, adding a lot more mischief and sex to the roster of new directions that BTS members have taken in their solo endeavours.  

Straight from the title, Jungkook plays with misdirection. It would be a fair guess for BTS fans to assume “Seven” would be a reference to the seven members of the group, but the opening sequence of the video squashes this idea pretty quickly. The first shots show us Jungkook and his love, played by Nevertheless’s Han So-hee, sitting awkwardly in an upscale restaurant. As a title card gives us the title in block yellow-lined lettering, another word soon follows: ‘Monday’. It is accompanied by the brisk garage rhythm that seems to nod pretty vigorously towards “7 Days”, and makes the meaning behind “Seven” as a title immediately clear. 

This aura of the unexpected continues throughout the MV via the ridiculous set-ups of different sequences. The upscale restaurant suffers some kind of earthquake; Jungkook and Han argue as a laundrette floods completely with water; a storm blows such a fierce wind that Jungkook grips a lamppost horizontally. These moments of absurdism are all a welcome novelty, providing as they do a sense of humour that Jungkook hasn’t always been able to express through his music before. 

This humour extends to Jungkook’s own performance across the MV. No matter how ridiculous these circumstances are, Jungkook can only keep on earnestly singing, trying to convince an irritated, fed-up Han who just seems to want to get rid of him that he will love her “seven days a week”.

The humour of seeing Jungkook jump off a moving stretcher to be near her, or even, in the scene featuring the rapper Latto, popping out of his coffin at his own funeral, is an effective way to undercut the intensity of the love he appears to be singing about. And it does so neatly: the grin on his face as he greets his own mourners before singing a falsetto run completes the pastiche of the R&B template that he is working from. 

It is an interesting casting choice to have Han So Hee in the role of the exasperated object of Jungkook’s desires. Her obvious skill as an actress lends an even greater commitment to the silliness of the narrative. It takes a great straight man to make their comic partner shine, and Han does not hold back in giving a full performance as the girlfriend who is not fooled by Jungkook’s promises. 

And what promises they are. We’ll stick to the clean version, as that’s the one used in the MV, but it’s fairly clear what Jungkook is offering to do “every hour, every minute, every second”. 

You wrap around me and you give me life

And that’s why night after night

I’ll be lovin’ you right

As suggestive as these lines are, the choice to centre the story of the MV around a girl who (sometimes literally) rolls her eyes at them shows Jungkook’s willingness to put himself at the heart of this mischief. It could be argued that the MV reveals him to be parodying himself and his braggadocio, which is certainly backed up by the many absurd moments of his persistence. 

In thinking about the humour of this MV and the additional layer that Han So Hee is able to bring to it, it would be remiss not to mention Latto’s role as well. Appearing as the chief mourner at Jungkook’s Saturday funeral, she too winks at the camera as she hams up crying (on the coffin) and praying. Dressed in respectful black, but in the form of a miniskirt and barely-laced-up open cardigan, her entire performance is playful and ironic, licking her lips and feeling herself while wearing her cross necklace. Her lyrics lay bare the sense of humour that Jungkook has mainly presented visually. 

Open up, say, “Ah”

Come here, baby, let me swallow your pride

What you on I can match your vibe

Hit me up and I’ma Cha Cha Slide

Her addition to the MV, and specifically during the funeral scene, provides the apex of its absurdity, and is the most fun moment of the entire narrative. 

There is, however, a final note of sweetness to the storyline that does leave space for what some of Jungkook is promising to be sincere. Just as he sings of his devotion being “deeper than the ocean is”, so too does his character in the MV ultimately win through perseverance. Ignoring the potentially problematic undertone of a man’s persistence eventually winning a woman over (or rather, wearing her down), the final scene shows us Jungkook singing at Han during a thunderstorm, leading to her finally offering him her hand for them to walk off down the street together. 

The scene has a gritty, neo-noir vibe to it through the night-time setting, blue colour saturation and lighting from streetlamps and cars. It fits the cinematic nature of rest of the sequences, from the flooded laundrette looking oddly similar to Leo and Kate’s underwater moments in Titanic, to the Singin’ in the Rain nod from the holding of the lamppost in a storm (in front of a cinema, no less).

It is a decidedly insular and artificial choice of aesthetics throughout: the close-up shots of the mourners at the funeral almost feel like something Wes Anderson would do. Again, this points to a lack of sincerity, or perhaps more accurately a deliberate sense of creation, behind Jungkook’s sexual posturing. 

Jungkook has surely studied up on the legendary (in Britain at least) “7 Days” and the smooth silliness at its heart. It has a similarly strong groove to it, the garage-beat and gentle guitars driving the rhythm forward effortlessly, and allowing maximum space for Jungkook’s soulful vocal to play with range and melody. The chorus takes David’s naming of the days of the week one step further by making their recitation part of the song’s rhythm: a catchier, more upbeat update. 

“Seven” is ultimately that: a more upbeat version of a 2000s garage classic, but it is also a wonderfully arch pastiche of the whole idea of promising amazing love-making ‘every second’. Jungkook uses the scenarios and characters of his debut MV to wink smilingly at the audience at the same time as seducing them, and it is immense fun to watch. If he is this happy to misdirect and play with his talents and his image in his debut single, his upcoming work promises even more excitement. 

(YouTube, Images via Hybe Labels, Lyrics via Genius.)