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Golden Hour: Part 1


What we know so far: (See full recap in Ateez Storyline: Updated March 2024).

Even though The Golden Hour Series is set in World A, we were still given a fun lead up to the comeback which bodes well for all future comebacks. It all started at Coachella, which we can all agree was a triumph and needs to be repeated at as many well known international festivals as possible, right? (This is a rhetorical question because I already know the answer is yes!)

Then they continued their past comeback scavenger hunt through Seoul referencing the goose that lays the golden egg (more on that later), money, and receipts that give us hints related to what their album tracks will be about.

And even gave us work profiles of the Ateez members. I am using Kasey's translations because people were getting different versions based on what site they were using and Kasey is my preferred Atiny translator. Thanks @Kasey_hhh for ALL that you do for itiny!

These work profiles related to the characters Ateez played in the Work music video. Can I just say that Seognhwa's "guaranteed window seating" was not what I was anticipating. Anyone else thinking a plane with that line and was surprised to get an ostrich?

Of course, Mito was an active participant in the lead up to the come back. He stole music and asked us to guess which instrument was the real star of Work. I didn't guess correctly but I found some Atiny who did:

Then a cryptic video where Mito ends up popping out of a giant golden egg in what I am assuming is an ancient era of Korea.

The title translates to "Back when tigers used to smoke" which means "Once upon a time".

So to sum up, we have references to the goose who lays the golden egg, money, purchasing things and receiving receipts, stealing stuff (Mito and the music), hatching out of a golden egg, and work profiles. Oh and Mingi dressed as Willy Wonka during the tour and Coachella and then a gold rush music video poster.

Needless to say, those were some confusing times.

Golden Hour Intro:

This intro video gave me such a sense of nostalgia that I actually teared up the first time I saw it. If you are not one to click every video link I embed into my post, I have added the lyrics to Golden Hour here for you to read because they are poignant.

"Golden hour. The brightest moments in life. Those moments are like quick flashes and never come back. Everyone has their own special times in life. Some people look forward to what's ahead, while others cherish the memories of what's gone by. But just like every beginning has an end. What should we dream of and hope for as these fleeting moments pass? What should we call, all the other times apart from those beautiful and shining moments? Could living for the moment leave our hearts feeling emptier? The moments of laughter with friends, quiet family dinners, relaxing weekends with loved ones. Could these be the real golden hours of our lives?"

Like everything else with Ateez, the Golden Hour Intro is telling us two stories at once. The first, as told from Ateez's perspective of reflecting on their career thus far including what they have accomplished and how Atiny has been by their sides through every accomplishment. Cheering for them at their performances and concerts with a sea of Lightinys, attending their exhibits (the Grammy Museum one is featured In the video), and listening to their music. (Shout out to the use of the Discman in place of a phone! For all of you who don't know, we used to use these round devices to listen to CDs if we wanted to be mobile. They came after the Walkman (what we listed to audiocassettes/tapes on) and before the iPod.)

As stated in previous blog posts, Hongjoong informed us in the Professor Hongjoong’s Ateez Storyline Special Lecture that at the end of The World Series, we are halfway through their planned storyline. So It would make sense to start the next half of their plan with a moment of reflection. They used the poster wall as a visual representation of this moment.

There was some X/Twitter conversation about the order of the posters but I think it is more about what the posters represent: tours, on line concert events, fan club announcements, DVD/Blu Rays, big milestones, and everything that happened during the Fever 2 era. Since this video was shot in the States, the posters were what we would have seen here in the States, but they reflect those times In Ateez's career for all Atiny. When we reminisce, we don't always do it in the order of our lives, we think back to one event and then a different event but not usually in chronological order. I think that is why the posters are not in order.

I would like to take this moment to pause and put out into the world that I would very much like this to NOT be their halfway point. If they want this to be the halfway point in their current storyline series, fine, but not their career. I need them to stay around for a VERY long time. Thank you for listening to my TED Talk.

The second story this intro is telling is Ateez (the characters) back in World A reminiscing on what they went through in World Z as Halateez. Although they went through some trauma while in World Z, they left as heroes and as the diary entries tell us, they came back to A with a reestablished dream to explore their love of music and performance in their own world as well. This is a "bright moment". They are looking back at what they just accomplished In World Z and looking forward to what they want to accomplish in World A. They are thinking about their dreams and wondering if they are in their Golden Hours.

Diary Entries:

To find the Golden Hour: Part 1 Diaries in their entirety, please read them HERE. I am only going to list the key take aways for the purpose of this blog entry.

Diary Entries - Key Points

  • Z is dead, World Z/Strictland is saved, the citizens are liberated (or at least all the ones who want to be), the Black Pirates and Thunder establish a way for everyone to coexist and Ateez are the heroes!

  • Ateez decide to follow their dream again upon their return to World A but now, three years later, with the reality of needing to earn money to live and follow their dream, they have drifted apart and are living outside of that dream.

  • Hongjoong blogged about what happened in World Z and his blog later became a best selling novel. He Is now a famous author and that fame led to reuniting with his parents. He looks like he is living the perfect life but still feels like this isn't the life he dreamed of.

  • Seonghwa became a firefighter due to his desire to save people and his memories of those he could not save. He poses for the yearly firefighter calendar and is reading Hongjoong's book to remember his adventures in World Z.

  • Yunho became an archeologist, searching for more ancient relics like the cromer that could possibly send him and the members off to another world and a new set of adventures.

  • Yeosang, seeing Ateez leave their dream because of lack of money, invested in the stock market in order to earn enough capital to start his own business and reinvented himself as a leader of the investment world. He mainly focused on profits but also invested in the arts including Hongjoong’s novel.

  • San started a food truck and used it to travel around and experience new people and locations discovering that most of the people he met never realized their dreams either.

  • Mingi was scouted on the street and became a model for a high end designer which then turned into a lucrative modeling career. He was rich and famous but still longed to be an idol with the members. As he opened his phone to distract himself, the video of Hongjoong reuniting with his parents was playing.

  • Wooyoung became a flight attendant because he could still give safety presentations and use the plane as his stage. In order to encourage the passengers to pay attention, the airline was trying something new and Wooyoung delivered the announcements, including the destination and flight time, through song, rap, and dance. Yunho and Mingi were on that flight.

  • Jongho's love of music continued by becoming a singer songwriter that led to being a producer and vocal coach. He was with an idol group that ended up in a fight reminiscent of the one Jongho and Mingi had been in all those years ago. He ended up listening to an old group song while alone in the music studio; the sound of their voices piercing his hear.

So Ateez are now separated again and no longer following their dreams of becoming idols which is what we see in the transition of Ateez's logo from where they started, (look at how the line above Ateez goes from 1 bar to 8 lines) they are now 8 instead of 1 team.

"This is the story where their dimensions are split into eight pieces again."

Ateez's Diary Film.

Work Music Video:

Can we all agree that Work is Ateez's funniest music video to date, starting off with Jongho buried in the ground playing the flute? I mean, comedic GOLD! It was nice to get a little levity after the trauma of Not Okay (of course this was short lived since I then read the diary entries and found out they were all living separately outside of their dreams, but we will put a pin in that for now).

The other thing I instantly noticed was that this music video is a love letter to the Americas. I am sure some people are disappointed by this, but we have seen Ateez film or perform in other countries and the way they try to uplift the culture of that country while at the same time highlight Korean culture is one of the things I love about them. Case and point their incorporation of the US and Moroccan drinking cultures in their Arriba stages at Coachella and Mawazine.

In Work we see several references to different iconic American cultures starting with the flags on Seonghwa's ostrich. Other than his South Korean flag, we see United States, Brazilian, Mexican, and French flags the last of which are flown in many Central American and South American nations like French Guiana, Saint Martin in the French West Indies, Guadeloupe, etc.

We see traditional American diners and motels, the prospectors of the gold rush, and the many Latin American references including flamenco dancers, a mariachi band, lowrider cars and bikes, and lucha libres (a professional wrestling originating in Mexico characterized by colorful masks, rapid sequences of holds and maneuvers, and "high-flying" maneuvers). All of these references contributed to the fun atmosphere Work was trying to create.

While in the past, Ateez was chasing their dream of being idols, in Work they are chasing money. Based on the diary entries, they need that money in order to work towards their dreams and the lack of it is what gets in their way. The phrase, "It takes money to make money" fits well in this scenario.

"Gotta work (Gotta work). Gotta make that money, make purse (Yes)"

Ateez the idol group, has put in the work and has started reaping the rewards which are on display in the diner scene. We see gold records, music show trophies, end of the year awards, their Billboard number 1 placard, and lots of money in their burgers which could be taking the place of lettuce, bacon, or cheddar (cheese) since they are all slang for money. They have put in the work and now they are just showing off a little.

"Got a fur coat, so I make it purr (Make it purr). Give 'em whiplash when they see me earn (Woo)"
"Just landed from L.A. to Tokyo. Picked out a watch to match the time difference, the classic type."

To buy a new watch to match the time change instead of just changing the time on your watch, that's a level of money I could never understand.

"If I make a move, the guardians follow me (Going all the way). Breaking News popping up no matter where I go."

I also wanted to talk about this line because San says guardians are following him. Yes, this could be in reference to the android guardians of World Z but they are in World A now. What I really think it is, and what I for sure think it is when considering Ateez the idol group and not the storyline, is a reference to paparazzi. Guardian Media Group is a well known media company based in Great Britain that publishes The Guardian and The Observer. From my Knotting Hill knowledge, London reporters are the worst. Just saying.

We see the members working hard at traditional jobs, strangely enough all in different types of restaurants,

but at the same time, going about making money in less traditional ways like mining for gold or illegal ways like bootlegging, counterfeiting, and money laundering.

There is also a quick reference to Grand Theft Auto which is a video game where the main character is attempting to rise in the criminal underworld through theft or other nefarious means. [As an aside, when I looked up Grand Theft Auto to confirm that the "game over" I was seeing was from that game, I saw this poster. I know, mind blown right!?! You're welcome.]

At this point, they don't care how they make it, they just have to "make that money". That leads us to the Goose and the Golden Egg part of this tale. In the pre-chorus San sings,

"Ganso que pone huevos de oro"

which translates from Spanish into "Goose that lays golden eggs". We have seen this already in the lead up to Ateez's comeback through the Willy Wonka references as there is a scene in the movie where Veruca Salt wants a goose that lays golden eggs.

Willy Wonka is not where this originated, however. There is actually an Aesop fable which is short enough for me to just include here for you to read.

Just like Veruca Salt, she was a rich child but always wanted more and she wanted it "now", the Countryman in the fable wanted more than a single golden egg per day and ended up loosing everything due to his greed. Ateez too lost their dreams in search of money for their dreams.

Work does include references to jobs Ateez ended up with in the diaries. Yeosang makes money through investments so he is in the scene surrounded by money and golden eggs. Wooyoung becomes a flight attendant so there is an airplane in his scene. We see San's food truck although he is busy panning for gold so Jongho is keeping watch.

We also have our two members who do end up getting rich and famous, Hongjoong as a author and Mingi as a model. At first they are depicted as being at the top of the world literally making it rain money but soon that money turns into a monster they have to fight to defeat meaning their success is not actually what they want. Or at least they are not successful for what they want to be successful for (as Idols).

The other big storyline we see is that everything is not as it seems. In fact, even the addition of Mingi as Willy Wonka feeds into this duplicity.

In an interview, the late great Gene Wilder, said he accepted the role of Willy Wonka on one condition. “When I make my first entrance,” he explained, “I’d like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp. After the crowd sees Willy Wonka is a cripple, they all whisper to themselves and then become deathly quiet. As I walk toward them, my cane sinks into one of the cobblestones I’m walking on and stands straight up, by itself; but I keep on walking, until I realize that I no longer have my cane. I start to fall forward, and just before I hit the ground, I do a beautiful forward somersault and bounce back up, to great applause.” When asked why, Wilder said, “Because from that time on, no one will know if I’m lying or telling the truth.”

In Work, Jongho is playing a flute but the sound it is making is that of a clarinet which upset many an Atiny when the preview dropped, San is panning for gold nuggets but ends up finding gold coins, Seonghwa is riding an ostrich which in and of itself is weird but then he gasses it up which means it is supposed to be acting as a car, chickens not geese are the ones laying the golden eggs, the food truck is selling money burgers, and San strikes water instead of oil. These changes, while funny on the surface feeding into the light hearted nature of the music video, are upsetting deep down. We want the instrument to match what we are hearing. We want oil and not water. Ateez want their dream and not the lives they ended up with.

The music video ends with a scene that connects to a Mito preview. That of Seonghwa hatching from a golden egg.

An Atiny gave us the explanation for this:

To give you more of the story, I Wikipediaed Park Hyeokgeose. He was the founding monarch of Silla, one of the three Kingdoms of Korea. Wikipedia states, In 69 BC, the heads of the six chiefdoms gathered to discuss forming a kingdom and selecting a king. In the forest, at a well, a strange light shone from the sky, and a white horse descended. Chief Sobeolgong of Goheo discovered a large egg there. A boy came out of the egg, and when bathed, his body radiated light and birds and beasts danced. The egg was gourd-shaped, which has been posited as the origin of the Bak (Park, Pak) name, as it aligns with the Korean word for gourd (박, bak). Sobeolgong raised him, and the six chieftains revered him. The chieftains made him king when he became 13 years old and ruled for around 60 years.

Do I think this has anything to do with Ateez's storyline? No, I think this is just another cool way to insert Korean knowledge into their fandom and it was genius to use Park Seonghwa as the reference to Park Hyeokgeose.

Making of Music Video and Jacket, Album Unboxing, and Reaction to Work:

Since the comments during the making of and reaction videos were more about Golden Hour as a whole and not specifically related to Work, I am moving this section out of the Work analysis. Honestly, they didn't say all that much but I am adding what they did:

  • They pointed out the ending of Work and said, "What was that ending...? Kind of like the birth of Bak (Park) Hyeokgeose." while Seonghwa laughed out of embarrassment.

  • During the album unboxing, they discussed the name changes of the albums going from A, Diary, Z to Blue Hour, Diary, Golden Hour.

  • Jongho said, "Now that I think about It, our preview video recently went up. I think there Is a similar box (referencing the album box) In there. I think It's the same one. I think they had already given us a spoiler. They kept warning us not to give any spoilers!" (I adding an image so you know what he is talking about)

  • Hongjoong said, "Our song comes out and it's a video of our GOLDEN HOUR, right? I think they're trying to connect that the video and the album is full of our GOLDEN HOUR.

  • They then used the postcards and stamp stickers to write Atiny letters, "because the album gives like a letter vibe" per San.

  • Yeosang said in the Jacket making film, "This album, unlike the fun road we've walked together up to this point, I think it'll be a whole new road that we'll walk together. I hope everyone Is looking forward to it."

Golden Hour Album

Before I get into the full album, I need to take a minute and talk about the meaning of "golden hour", and "blue hour" for that matter since that is the other album version. Golden hour and blue hour combine to become the morning and evening "magic hours" which occur right after sunrise and before sunset each day. The are known to photographers as the light during those times makes for the most beautiful pictures. Kavya Rastogi explains these times in his article, "Understanding Golden Hour, Blue Hour, and Twilight" and I will be using his images and explanations here.

There are five light phases between daytime and night time that all depend on the elevation of the sun to the horizon.

Golden hour occurs when the sun is 6° to -4° from the horizon and blue hour occurs when the sun is -4° to -6° from the horizon with civil twilight, the first of the three twilights, occurring when the sun is 0° to -6° from the horizon. Therefore, some of golden hour and all of blue hour are taking place during civil twilight. During golden hour light has to travel a far distance so the blue lights are spread out and there is more room for red light which gives the light a golden glow. Most light is indirect, and therefore less intense. Less intense light means less harsh shadows, and this means softer pictures. In the case of blue hour instead of golden tones across the landscape, there is a cooler color across everything giving a bluish, nighttime feel. The sky is transitioning from night to day or day to night and there is a nice gradient from blue to orange.

The other way we can look at the term "golden hour" is medically, as it is often used in trauma or emergency care to suggest that an injured or sick person must receive definitive treatment within the first 60 minutes from the time of injury or appearance of symptoms. It was believed that once this time has lapsed, the risk of death or long-term complications will significantly increase. The concept of “golden hour” is derived from the French military's World War I data. The doctors then believed that there is a golden hour between life and death.

Considering the way these terms are used in the photography world, they would connect well to Ateez since they already have songs like Twilight and Sunrise, not to mention their songs dedicated to light: Silver Light, Light, and Dazzling Light. It make perfect sense to continue this theme with Golden Hour and Blue Hour. These hours are short but occur twice daily so they are often around us but we don't typically see them. We are too busy with our lives or, in my case in the mornings, sleeping through them. They are beautiful times in our lives that we aren't paying attention to until we are ready to seek them out. That is why, similar to the lyrics of Golden Hour, we are unsure if we are even in them. When considering the medical definition, our golden hour is a time where we need to urgently take action. It is the most important time in our lives. I believe we should combine both the photography and medical views on this concept and place more importance on the parts of our lives we are just walking through because we never know when they will end. We need to live every moment like it Is our Golden Hour.

Empty Box Special Clip:

Empty Box is my favorite song from the album, I feel like if there is a ballad on an Ateez album, since they are so few and far between, they instantly become my favorite. They fact that Ateez promoted it and then made a music video WHERE THEY SUNG LIVE ON IT was such a treat.

It starts with Yeosang opening an empty drawer and then sitting next to it looking forlorn while the song plays and then ends with him closing the drawer and walking away. Just those two scenes could cause you to drop into the depths of despair.

But then the lyrics stab you In the heart!

"I've been searching for an empty box, that's what I need. The memories you left in the drawer of my room. It makes it feel like a rainy day. I think I should send it now, and I'll never miss you. I'll never miss you."
"I got to move on. The dust piled up is full of traces. I can't shake it off. The memories locked in my room have stopped flowing. Now I'm going to let it go, open the window. I got to move on; it's time to move on."
"If you're feeling the same way (Ooh-ooh). I wish you better than, oh, our time together. Leave everything behind. Hope you come across something more than better."

So they are trying to move on by putting their memories into an empty box and sending it away. They also tell the person they are talking to, if they are feeling the same way, they hope that person can leave everything behind as well and move on to something better. 😭

Hearing this song again after reading the diaries and knowing they are separated and living outside of their dreams hit even harder than when I listened to it the first time. And then seeing them together in party scene and knowing when they returned from World Z and were so excited to work hard to make it to their goal of becoming idols, and then the need to earn money got in the way so they ended up separating so their excitement (their party) has ended. And to know that none of them are particularly happy and fulfilled in their current lives and they are all still longing for their time together. And or the lyrics to say they are trying to move one and hope the others can move on too. This kills me! I need to take a break.

Other Golden Hour Songs

Even though this album felt short, especially considering it is following a full album release, Ateez were kind enough to make videos of three out of six of their songs. This leaves us to discuss Blind, Shaboom, and Siren to finish up the album.


Knowing Blind comes before Work and Empty Box, I would venture to guess that this is the time in the storyline where Ateez is just excited to go for their dream.

"Dance tonight, in this burning night. Queen of the night, star of my eyes. Wake me up with your gaze. Take my soul, take my heart, love is blind (Take my soul, take my heart, love is blind; Oh, ayy)."

They are dancing, and singing, the night away in their quest to become idols. They are willing to give up their hearts and souls for it as their love for singing and dancing is blind.

"Things that change are love and youth, things that don't change are love and loca"

Their youth may change but they will always be crazy for what they love. As an aside, I don't know why the "dance tonight, queen of the night" lyrics are reminding me of the Dua Lipa scene from the Barbie movie, but if they are connecting that on purpose then WOW! The Dance the Night scene is where Barbie asks if the other Barbies if they ever think about dying and then starts worrying about why she is thinking about that. It's when the real world starts to impact Barbie's perfect fake one. That is sort of how I feel about Blind. They are blinded to the real world as they start to go for their dreams but all too soon they realize they need to Work to pay for those dreams and then end up separated and looking for an Empty Box to try to forget the dream they used to be Blind to everything else for.


I was having a hard time trying to figure out how to make sense of Shaboom since it comes after the despair of Empty Box, so I used Lyrics Layers to give me a little help. They say, "Shaboom is a high-energy anthem that celebrates living in the moment and letting go of worries. The song's lyrics emphasize the importance of enjoying life without being bogged down by the opinions of others or the uncertainties of the future."

"I don't care about what you think, 'cause I just want some more (Yeah)"

"Shaboom also touches on the fleeting nature of time and the inevitability of aging."

"Life continues to flow, busy (flow). Everyone grows old in front of time (Oh). We need mindless play time (Ooh-ooh). Make it louder, make it louder."

Considering Lyrics Layers analysis, I could imagine Shaboom is a different way to deal with the despair of losing their dreams. They have wallowed and tried to send away their memories, now they are going to let go of their worries through mindless play time. Not the most constructive or healthiest way to deal but understandable.


The beginning phrase of Siren is the fist time I have felt any hope for the storyline:

"Yo, countdown, now is the season (Woo). I won't wait any longer, I'll come out of my prison (Yeah). Breathe clear, this song is my oxygen."

Yes! Finally, let's come out of the prison.

"Keep on calling. Keep on calling louder. Ringing siren. Hear the ringing siren."

They are hearing the siren calling to them and need to follow it. When I think about a siren, I think of it in one of two ways: as an alarm alerting you to something (e.g., waking up, moving outside due to a fire, moving out of the way of an emergency vehicle, taking cover from a tornado - y'all I live in Texas, this is a common occurrence for me sadly) or as a mythological creature whose song calls to you and compels you to come near (think Homer's Odyssey). Either way the siren is calling to Ateez to get out of their prison and get a move on. I approve of this message!

Final Thoughts

This blog post took me longer to write then usual. I kept procrastinating because, to be perfectly honest, the diaries really bummed me out. I don't like that Ateez is living separately outside of their dreams. When I first read the diaries, I put them down and then walked away from the comeback for a couple of days because I was not happy with where the storyline went. This is not to say that I am unhappy with what is going on with Ateez or where KQ is taking things, because I trust them to end the full storyline in an uplifting way. I am just that type of person who likes a "happily ever after", and we are currently in the part of the story where nothing is going the way I want it to. This happens to me pretty much every time I watch a tv show or read a book so please just bear with me here. However, my hope is that, with Siren and the fact that Wooyoung saw Mingi and Yunho on his plane, that maybe Yunho did find a new artifact that could send Ateez on another exciting journey and then when they return from this one, with the help of Yeosang's money, Jongho's music producing experience, and the fame that Mingi and Hongjoong now have, they can come back together and actually reach their dream. I haven't forgotten about Scienslaver either, at some point they are going to need to tackle that issue as well.

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Melissa Cassick
Melissa Cassick
4 days ago

Thank you! It's a lot to try to unpack. (I've been searching for an empty box ... ) Sometimes all I can do is marvel at the cleverness of the symbols and connections. Then I watch the concerts and marvel at the talent. Are these men even real? Thanks for being my guide on this journey - I hope it lasts longer too!

4 days ago
Replying to

Seriously! Everything about them is top notch and they make being an Atiny so fun! I love them!!


sofia k
sofia k
4 days ago

as always, amazing job 🩷🩷 you confirmed so many of my own personal theories on this cb, and i KNEW i wasn’t the only one depressed by the diary entries. however, i also think that their teasing with first the fanmeeting vcrs and also the aniteez clips, there’s definitely

something else cooking. another story is being set up and will quickly interact with the main storyline as we know it to be right now.

i’m also happy you didn’t discount the medical and photographical meanings of golden/blue hour, in addition to the significance of OG willy wonka :))

thank you again for your posts 🩷🩷 always so much fun :))

4 days ago
Replying to

I wasn’t able to watch the fan meeting but I’ve caught some clips. I need to track down all of the VCRs and figure out what order they go in. Let me know if you already did that.

As of now, based on what the CEO said about wanting to make ATEEZ more relatable/understandable (these may be the wrong words) to the masses, I was thinking Aniteez and the fan meeting stuff was separate. Still fun and a storyline but not a part of THIS storyline. Especially since the theme was university and in this storyline they are all in the career part of their lives which would be after university. However, since I haven’t seen it all, I’m not…

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