2021 marked a significant turning point for B.I, both with the launch of his new label 131online and his budding solo career. Starting this new chapter led to complete control over his musical direction, as well as a new platform to showcase them. Naturally, fans may have expected his style to differ from his days in iKon, as the expectations and requirements of a solo artist vary from that of being in a group.
Thankfully, B.I proved to grow into a stellar artist of his own. Since his transition, he’s been churning out hit after hit, his skills only improving in genre, lyrics, dance, and most of all storytelling. Jumping from “BTBT” to “illa illa,” “Daydream” to “Keep me up” shows his wide range of R&B, hip-hop, pop, and ballad — something for everyone to enjoy. Beyond his musical abilities, however, it is his emotional range and capacity that mesh with his imagination to make something refined.
“Loved” is no exception, as it plucks the heartstrings with its lonely guitar tune and raw lyrics. Displaying a love now lost, B.I tells a story that’s common but relatable, enhanced with the story that visibly unfolds. Just like the film parts that B.I attempts to connect, we see scattered moments of happiness and despair, desperation versus joy. The contrast is stark, as moments together are bright in color, while the palette darkens whenever B.I stands alone. Light is bleak for his reality, and in response his outfits embody darker colors than when he is with his lover. Together with his emotive acting, we as viewers can put together the depth of sadness and abandonment that the song expresses.
The overall story arc comes in full circle as B.I witnesses a love now lost. The MV starts with him watching happy moments as an outsider, and by the end of it, he runs around the building to find that exact same spot. Whether it’s the same moment or he simply returns to the same “door of memories” is up to one’s interpretation, but this is just one of the scenes where symbolism works strongly. Being astray from the path is further represented in more than one way, whether B.I is in water or on land, running or lost in thought. Whether he’s still or moving, he is mentally in the past, stuck in the moments that can never be reconciled. The only time he is in action is when he tries to reconnect his lost story — but even that loses momentum as his world cruelly interrupts him.
Indeed, the symbolism behind water and doors enhances the theme of transition. Water symbolizes many things, such as rebirth and cleansing — and, it emotionally represents depth and longing. Throughout the MV, memories with his lover are mainly associated with their time at a beach, in the water. Later on, B.I is seen drowning versus coming back up to the surface, confronting his new reality. In this scenario, both longing and rebirth apply to his new identity of loneliness.
In response, he utilizes doors to try and go back to that impossible time. They’re his only portal to witness what used to be, and what he used to have before it became lost. He runs through many doors to try and find his lover, only to have her walk out. Then, he runs around to look for her, but is never able to grasp the current version of her — instead, he’s stuck in the past once more, unable to move beyond that spot.
In these ways, the labyrinth that the production made was visually on-point with the theme of loss and wandering. Both the indoor “maze” setting and the ocean setting really drove home the melancholic undertones of the song. The only time he runs in a surefire direction is when he holds hands with his lover, amongst the bright sparklers. But without her and without the lights, he is lost, only with the past to guide him.
All in all, while the premise of this MV may have seemed simple, it is brimming with emotive storytelling that goes hand in hand with the poetic lyrics and raw acting. All of it together was an amazing production to experience and gives a nod to B.I’s extensive growth as an artist.
(YouTube; images via 131online)