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We Analyzed SEVENTEEN ‘s ‘Darl+ing’ MV: These Are Our Theories

We Analyzed SEVENTEEN ‘s ‘Darl+ing’ MV: These Are Our Theories

It’s here CARATs, SEVENTEEN released their first English single ‘Darl+ing,’ and it is beautiful! The single serves as a pre-release for their upcoming album, which will drop this May. Stream ‘Darl+ing’ on your favorite streaming platform here and brace yourself for their new album coming in just a few weeks (*screams*!) 

‘Darl+ing’ is another top-tier self-produced track, and member Woozi also produced, composed, and wrote lyrics for their new single. Asia Artist Awards “Best Producer” winner is right! We have too many favorite SEVENTEEN songs to name, but ‘Darl+ing’ has without a doubt taken its place among our top five. 

The group has also recently teamed up with Apple on the first K-pop Today at Apple Remix session in Korea. Fans can attend hour-long sessions in stores to learn more about SEVENTEEN’s creative process as well as take part in a hands-on lesson where they will use GarageBand and Apple devices to remix ‘Darl+ing!’ 

But that’s not all, the group’s first performance of ‘Darl+ing’ aired in collaboration with MTV Fresh Out, so be sure to check it out below!

CARATs all over the world tuned in for the music video premiere (we were one of those CARATs) in anticipation of the new single. While the tempo and music video are upbeat and colorful, the lyrics tell a different story. We were vibing along, happy to have a new SEVENTEEN song, when suddenly the music video storyline started taking a turn… So, of course, we had to analyze what it all means and make some theories of our own!

First, we must add a disclaimer, we’re going to have to skip some scenes, or this article will easily become an essay. There is a lot of symbolism in this music video, but for now, we’ll only look at the major moments that we caught. All right, ready? Let’s get into it!

Episode 0

Let’s begin with a tweet from the official SEVENTEEN Twitter account. One of the hashtags used is “ep0” meaning ‘Darl+ing’ is a prequel episode. Speculations are swirling in CARAT LAND as to what this might mean! Perhaps their forthcoming album will be episode 1? How many episodes will there be?? We need answers, SEVENTEEN!

Let’s Break It Down

Image Source: ‘Darl+ing’ MV By SEVENTEEN
MV

The music video opens with two broken pieces of what was once a highway, a road, a path, if you will. It’s in pieces but still has flowers growing on it. Vernon is asleep on this random piece of highway, his eyes are closed and blocking out the sunlight. Suddenly a bird flies overhead, and a shadow crosses his face, then his eyes open. Then, the ground beneath the broken road he’s on starts to crumble and fall into the earth.

Interpretation

The path he thought he would be on broke down, but he’s not willing to leave that road just yet. Instead of opening his eyes to the reality that he’s on a dilapidated road, he’s choosing to feel the warmth of the sunshine despite the brokenness around him. When Vernon notices the bird and its shadow, he realizes that life is moving on while he stays still. Reality hits him, and his world begins to break apart.

MV

We find the members each doing something meant to occupy the time or get their minds off of something, i.e., reading books and playing board games. Yet, while Joshua reads his book, there are clocks submerged in a bathtub beside him, and once we see what words the four members are using to play Scrabble (“Shadow” and “Grow”), we get a look into the darker side of this music video.

Interpretation

Joshua is doing his best to stop time from moving forward; he reads casually as if nothing is wrong, all the while, there are countless clocks that have stopped working because they were tossed into the water. The Scrabble playing members are having fun with their friends, but the truth of their emotions comes out in their choice of words. A shadow is growing despite their efforts to stall it.

MV

A second glance at this bejeweled clock will reveal that there is a pin hammered into the wood to keep the hands from moving. In the second scene, Wonwoo reads a book entitled Growing Pains to S.Coups.

Interpretation

The continued theme of trying to stop time from moving forward is shown with the clock, and we think the book title pretty much gives it away at this point. Wonwoo is currently the only one who is acknowledging the “growing pains.”

MV

Everyone is gathered at what appears to be a church, they’re performing on the stage and throwing flowers, it’s all very lovely. Until Woozi plugs an amp into the heart of a teddy bear. At that exact moment, Vernon bursts through the doors, and Woozi loses his smile. 

Interpretation

Once what was on their heart is amplified, avoiding their feelings is no longer an option. Vernon represents the truth, he represents reality.

MV

Vernon closes the curtain, blocking out the sunshine he was soaking up at the beginning of the video, then he gathers the members and starts spilling some tea.

Interpretation

Vernon no longer is avoiding the reality around him just for the warmth he feels when he blocks it out. He’s decided to close the curtains on his distractions and take some time for self-talk to come to terms with reality. 

MV

Vernon gives Joshua a flower, and Joshua holds it in front of a sliver of sunlight to test what Vernon said for himself. They discover that they have no shadows. Hoshi is so surprised he drops his daisies and then goes to pick up the pieces but cuts his finger and bleeds onto the flowers.

Interpretation

The fact that they don’t have shadows means they’re physically not there. They’re not present in their own lives, they’ve been walking around detached from the world. Hoshi dropping the vase represents their world shattering. He tries to pick up the pieces, but it’s not salvageable, and it has already begun to hurt him. (Excuse us while we take a minute to cry out our feelings 😭.)

Image Source: ‘Darl+ing’ MV By SEVENTEEN
MV

Take a look behind Jun, what do you see? It’s a snapshot of what happens in the music video! From their frolicking fun in the beginning to their traverse into the darker alternate reality. Jun chipped away at this wall to reveal this drawing. 

Interpretation

If we look at the last panel in the drawing it seems like they manage to escape the dark reality and come out on the other side. Also, there is a recurring sun symbol which you can see right behind Jun’s head. It’s also on the lid of a box he opens later and on the floor right in front of the church. We’re not entirely sure what the sun symbol means, maybe we’ll get more info from their next music video!

Image Source: ‘Darl+ing’ MV By SEVENTEEN
MV

As the members prepare to re-enter the church after Vernon flipped their world on its head, Wonwoo is the only member facing the opposite direction. He sings: “Don’t wanna say goodbye.” 

Interpretation

Throughout the MV, all of the other members are seen running through the fields, smiling, and just having a good ol’ time but not once does Wonwoo smile. He seems to be an observer, neither getting involved nor actively trying to change their situation. Here, he doesn’t stop them from chasing the truth of their own feelings, but he expresses his own desire: He doesn’t want to let go or say goodbye to those happy moments just yet. 

MV

Once they open the church doors, they’re sent back to the field of happiness but, this time, we see them with blindfolds. S.Coups takes his off and finds himself alone when only seconds before, he was surrounded by his members. 

Interpretation

Finally, they’ve come to terms with the breakup that they have been singing about since verse one. As the blindfolds come off, they realize they have no one beside them. 

MV

Woozi wipes away a dirty mirror to view himself. We see his shadow grow behind him as he faces himself without the filter of dust over the mirror.

Interpretation

Only when he faces reality can he be fully present. Unlike before, when we see that Joshua has no shadow, they are starting to truly exist again, grounded by their self-discovery. This moment is also foreshadowed by the words in the scrabble game.

MV

Jeonghan wipes away the smiley faces he drew on the mirror earlier in the music video and reveals a grungy, beat-up version of himself with some blood at the corner of his lips. 

​​Interpretation

First of all, drawing a smiley face on a mirror to us symbolizes faking a smile even to yourself. Secondly, once the smiley face facade is wiped away, he can see just how bad of shape he really is in. It’s a wake-up call. 

MV

We enter a space devoid of color where Jun comes face to face with a version of himself that is bruised up. He touches his fingers with his other version through a mirror, and it shatters. Then, color returns, but the world starts disintegrating around him. 

Interpretation

A portal has opened between two worlds. The other version of Jun is even wearing different clothes, they’re clearly not from the same reality. Touching their fingers connects reality with the daydream, and everything starts getting mixed up.  

See Also

MV

Right after Jun connects the worlds, Mingyu takes off his blindfold, and suddenly the sunshiney day turns into night. The sunlight is gone. 

Interpretation

We think this might be the moment the solar eclipse we see later in the video begins. Their newfound realizations block out the brightness they’ve been so accustomed to.

MV

The pin that was stuck in the clock shatters, and the members now have shadows!

Interpretation

Time is allowed to move once again. They’re now present in the world around them, physically, mentally, and emotionally. 

MV

An alternate reality is revealed. Literally an upside-down version of their bright and sunny reality. Vernon holds a light in his hands as his members look back at him after seeing their shadows.

Interpretation

Their world is flipped upside down. What was light is now dark. Vernon is the one who brought them this revelation. Their world has darkened, but there is still a light for them to hold onto. 

MV

Their colorful world starts crumbling Thanos-Finger-Snap style, then DK falls into a hole in the ground, and they all tumble in after him. A version of Wonwoo with cuts on his face watches a solar eclipse.

Interpretation

Their world is literally falling apart, and they fall into that devastation. This Wonwoo seems to be the one from an alternate reality since he is injured and Wonwoo from the Sunny World isn’t. Is he some kind of mastermind? There’s an overarching storyline here that we won’t have answers to until they drop their album and title track music video for sure. 

A solar eclipse happens when the moon covers the sun, so we’ll call the two realities Sun and Moon from now on. But one thing to note, eclipses are temporary. Even if the sunshine is swallowed up by darkness, it will always come peeking around the corner soon enough, so there is hope for SEVENTEEN yet!

MV

The first image is from the beginning of the music video, and the second image is from the ending scene. The members are in different clothes, and they are each injured somehow. There’s a rusty, bent smiley face in the left corner and a sign that is partially visible but appears to read: “Fear is coming.”

Interpretation

Maybe they switched places with their doppelgangers in the Moon reality? Maybe this was their reality the entire time, but they were willfully blinded toward it? Their happiness is bruised now, and apparently, fear is coming, which doesn’t sound good at all. Fear of what? Fear of the unknown? Will they have to fight the Moon versions of themselves in order to get back to their own world? We’ll have to wait and see!

Image Source: ‘Darl+ing’ MV By SEVENTEEN

Whew, we’ve made it to the end of the ‘Darli+ing’ music video! There’s a lot to unpack, and we’re certain we missed some connections and hints so be sure to share your theories with us!

SEVENTEEN only knows how to make hits, so we are not surprised at the depth of this incredible song and music video. Be sure to stream it and get ready for their new album dropping next month!

Homerun Semicolon GIF by SEVENTEEN - Find & Share on GIPHY
Image Source: GIPHY

CARATs, what do you think of the ‘Darl+ing’ music video? Drop your theories in the common section below, tweet us @TheHoneyPop, or comment on our Instagram and Facebook

Need more SEVENTEEN? Check out our recap of SEVENTEEN’s 2021 and Vernon’s collab with Charli XCX!

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SEVENTEEN:
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