RM 10: Adrift

표류, translated here as ‘Adrift’, is Track 10 of RM, the first mixtape released by RM (formerly known as Rap Monster) on March 20, 2015. 
A line-by-line translation and interpretation follows this clean version. English lyrics in the original text are italicised.

English Translation
What I’d been living for,
I did not know

They say we live to be happy,
but what does that even mean

I think there are too many things in the world
that cannot be known or seen
I won’t hear the crap that adults have to say,
that they can be known with the passage of time

‘Let’s be happy, let’s be happy’
Even if I parrot these words daily,
I honestly still don’t know 
Why am I so often lonely  

Continue reading “RM 10: Adrift”


RM 09: Life

‘Life’ is Track 09 of RM, the first mixtape released by RM (formerly known as Rap Monster) on March 20, 2015. 

A line-by-line translation and interpretation follows this clean version. English lyrics in the original text are italicised.

English Translation

I felt it after throwing back a shot of alcohol,
that life is a repeated cycle of becoming familiar with loneliness
However many people there were around me,
the small me inside of me was always lonely
Why is there no antonym of ‘loneliness’ –
perhaps it’s because there isn’t a time where one isn’t lonely in life
Even as the surroundings overflow with boisterous movement,
the moment in which one has to be alone surely comes searching
Yeah that’s a life
We live lives fraught with danger
As payment for being able to see this beautiful world,
no bulletproof vest, street light, or sturdy car
can completely shield us from death
Life is more beautiful because everyone has death as their collateral
from the moment they’re born;
just as light needs darkness to truly shine,
just as the sun shines after a violent storm

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For the interim moments

A warning that this piece, much like the music itself, gets quite dark. It’s okay to put this aside for another day.

I have not listened to Namjoon or Yoongi’s mixtapes
RM and Agust D many times. 
There are a couple of reasons for this. 
First, there is a layer of inescapable anxiety when I listen to a track by BTS that I have not yet translated. For most songs, the layer is thin, transparent, and easier to ignore by the day. After all, there are other good translations, and I am not arrogant enough to believe mine are necessary. But it does remain, persistent. 
Second, this is not background listening. Many of the tracks are a cacophony of sounds; the harsh beats reverberate without pause, and they’re overlaid with words that are ugly and defiant. Others are existential crises put to echoes; quieter and therefore even more devastating. 
I make it sound painful, and that’s because it is. What a reminder that the world is as ugly as it is beautiful; that I am both a victim and perpetrator of this truth. Entertainment is funny until it hits home, and then you only feel sick. 
RM and Agust D are the most intense of albums BTS has ever put out, and I hope that continues to be the case. (Perhaps this is a well-meaning but dangerous expectation for a fan to have – that their music continues to be all the things it is but without that 2015-2016 brand of frustration and defensiveness.) Don’t get me wrong, I do love them. But I respond viscerally to them because it brings forth the older parts of me that have, since then, thankfully mellowed out and found safer homes.

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We don’t talk together, by Heize ft. Giriboy


‘We don’t talk together’ by Heize, featuring Giriboy
Produced by SUGA
Lyrics by Heize, SUGA, Giriboy
Composed by SUGA, Heize, EL CAPITXN
Vocal Arranged by Heize
Synthesizer by SUGA, EL CAPITXN
Guitar by Zenur (VENDORS)

Would you be feeling the same way as me now?
It’s strange, this evening,
you and I walking together for the first time in awhile —
for though it’s a little awkward,
I continue to be yours
I’m sorry, I was too heartless, wasn’t I,
without any fear
I don’t know, I don’t know 
I probably, back then,
trusted you’d comfort me and
waited it out
When you disappeared,
everything collapsed
And so I probably, with a blank expression,
built a whole house after that; my
footsteps are getting heavier and heavier
I can’t walk anymore
I can’t let you leave like this, 
but nothing’s coming out of my mouth
Continue reading “We don’t talk together, by Heize ft. Giriboy”

Heartbeat, by BTS

‘Heartbeat’ is the fourth of the official soundtrack for the game BTS World, and features all the BTS members.
The English lyrics are italicised, and simply taken as published.
There are a lot of Easter eggs in the lyrics, as you will be able to tell.
Enjoy (crying)!

It leaves me feeling seasick baby
I must be trapped in a dream-like reality
It spins me round and drives me crazy
I must be like a moon that hangs in the sky at noon
If perhaps I had been alone — if perhaps I had not known you,
I might have given up, lost at sea
But my heart’s still on fire with a burning desire
I’m going to find you again, like fate

I wish that you would love me
Don’t let go of this hand like yesterday
And every time my heart beats
Orient your feet so that there’s no more lost wandering

I’m feeling fate, you you
I’m feeling fate, me, me
Continue reading “Heartbeat, by BTS”

Scenery, by V

V uploaded his self-composition ‘Scenery’ onto BTS’ official Soundcloud on January 30th, 2019. He had previously hinted to the release in award speeches and a fancafe post. Much like ‘4 o’clock’ , the lyrics capture a scene in its entirety.
The strength of this style of lyricism is that different metaphors do not need to be linked and then interwoven through the song. Instead, we are invited into one particular landscape that simply grows and deepens as we follow along. I have often felt that Taehyung spins words together much like one with the power to use and consume all things haphazardly, and yet only picks out the things that truly resonate; someone who is certain of the image or emotions he wants to express, and feels lopsided when the words at his disposal can’t get him there in a satisfying way.
The landscape Taehyung sings of is lovely, but it is the way that he sees and experiences the landscape that is truly lovely. At its release, I said that this is the gentlest song I have ever heard, and that he reflects a love that holds through the night and into the dawn, in a manner of waiting that holds no expectation for anything in return.

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All Night, by BTS & Juice WRLD

‘All Night’ is the third of the official soundtrack for the game BTS World, and is a unit track sung-rapped by RM and SUGA, and featuring Juice WLRD.
The English lyrics are italicised.

I kick out the door yeah I kick out the door

Go grab the mic and I let out the sore
This my fanmail wanna give out my heart
This an archive I just record the flow
Come to my studio
magic happens
Two step chillin’ this feels classic
Ain’t no job with no stress
no pressin
So baby let’s go seatbelts are fastened
Flashin’ lights like the glow of the fireflies
Flashin’ nights that brush past us
It has to hurt, it can’t be done otherwise,
though we’ll laugh once time has passed

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