There’s a lot to be said for someone who can strip away the outer trappings of life, expectations, and facades to reveal the raw, painful-to-the-touch inner hurt and trauma. When you’re a celebrity like BM who dropped his “Broken Me” music video on June 9 as hard as he dropped the intense confession of his pain, the emotionally-charged art he shares is magnified by his medium. Not only was this release brave, but it was packed with fresh creativity supported by the production efforts of 8PEX, where he is a songwriter, and Vive Studios, the high-tech studio that orchestrated BTS Suga’s holographic performance at MAMA 2020.
It’s hard to know where to begin when parsing this 360 degree creative force, but the lyrics form the emotional backbone of “Broken Me.”
‘Cause I’m broken
I don’t wanna be broken
Feelin’ all alone
No matter how I try
It’s aching to the bone
And it kills me everytime
Baby I’ve been broken
Don’t leave me here broken, baby
They admit the difficult feelings of hiding terrible damage and scars from the world while also asking for absolution. The last lyric “Don’t leave me here broken, baby,” despite all of the darkness shown in the verse and pre-chorus, carries a note of hope, which BM has always given to fans. The way he has written the most revealing lyric of his career is, rather than poetic, straight, honest prose with no twists or turns. Honesty is the heart of the underlying message for his fans: it’s okay to share your pain. In an interview conducted by Vive Studios BM admits, “‘Broken Me’ touches on a more intimate side of myself. The lyrics revolve around [the] internal struggle that I feel everyone goes through numerous times in their life. I want people to realize through this song that there is always a light and no matter how broken you become, I want to instill a sense of hope that you can bring yourself out of it at the end.”
Turning to the song itself, the layers it has are a mix of decades, from ‘90s punk-pop vocals and guitar arpeggiations, to the 2000s R&B beats and modern day synth syncopations. In a deviation from the contemporary sounds he has penned for KARD, the thought behind how this song was crafted from a multitude of genres is evident. The choice was wise as it matched his throaty, plaintive vocal style throughout the lyrical confession that is “Broken Me.”
The third point of artistic triangle is the music video itself, which matches the lyrics and song as well as amplifies the pain and hope that BM conveys. A feat of innovative technology spearheaded by Vive Studios and their VIT (Vive Studios Immersive Technology), the video was filmed in a single day on a single stage and features seven locations and six scenes. Quite frankly, the video is gorgeous, a mix of grand seaside vistas, sexy cars on winding roads, and nighttime cityscapes complemented by a bare-chested BM. He revealed that “Just being able to see the power of virtual technology was the biggest thrill! [It’s] pretty much the impossible being made possible through VIVE Studios!”
Following BM’s tumultuous emotional journey over the years, the video juxtaposes two characters, BM himself who seems to represent his voice that shares the pain, but who also represents hope. Actor Park Eun-seok (most popularly known for his role in “The Penthouse: War in Life”) represents the pain and the trauma trapped inside BM. Eun-seok’s scenes cut from working on music production to smashing the bathroom mirror in frustration to racing the city and Icelandic mountain streets in an attempt to escape the pain. Each of his scenes is intercut with BM present in the same spaces, making them a yin and yang, dark and light. At one point near the end of the video Eun-seok meets with who looks like death, caped in a dark cloak and hood, who entices the actor to the end of a cliff where he jerks to a stop – a clear message that there is always hope that rings together with the lyric “Don’t leave me here broken, baby.”
BM’s creative efforts don’t stop with this release. According to an interview that BM did with Hypebae, “There will be an English and Korean version of ‘Broken Me,’ and it was chosen as an OST for a short film called ‘The Brave New World’ with Park Eun-Seok. Though[ the song] is dropping first, the rest of the album can be expected to release in early July.”
A mix of his deep-rooted pain that is reflected in the throwback rock tune and the sleek new production style, BM’s solo and music video “Broken Me” is an anthem of anguish and hope. His touch and fervent efforts are visible throughout all three points of the creative triangle – BM has always been known for going above and beyond with his art and in his career. It is a stand out track that is more than an enjoyable listen. It shares a clear message and is bound up in a story. His story.