Pied Piper

Produced by Pdogg
Written by Pdogg, JINBO, KASS, RM, SUGA, j-hope, “Hitman” Bang


Verse 1, Jungkook
You like it more because it’s bad for you
You do know that, deep within
You’re unable to stop now
(You can’t stop)
It’s time to be a bit more honest

Verse 2, RM
(Stop)

Now stop watching and study for your exams,
your parents and boss hate me
Videos you’ve already watched, various photos, Twitter,
V App, Bon Voyage –
I know, what can you do, since you like it so much
Stop, analyse the MV later
You already have a lot of photos of me in your room anyway
It’s not just an hour, it’s a year or two that’d fly away
This song is the prize I’m giving you
(You’ve been good)

Bridge, Jin & V
It’s not as if you’re being punished
Come to me, I’m your paradise (paradise)
Can’t close your eyes (can’t close your eyes) 
Even if you try to resist, it’s probably useless now
(Don’t refuse me)
Just close your eyes and listen intently

🎶 Chorus, Jimin & Jungkook
Follow the sound of the pipes, follow this song
Even though I’m a bit dangerous, I’m very sweet
I’ve come to save you, I’ve come to ruin you
You’re the one that’s called me; see, I’m sweet
Follow the sound of the pipes

I’m takin’ over you
I’m takin’ over you

Verse 3, V & SUGA
You know it already started
the moment you heard the sound
(Yeah, SUGA)
Yeah, maybe I am a bit dangerous, (a bit dangerous),
just like the Pied Piper
I do test you, (test you),
like the forbidden fruit you’re attracted to, though you know what’d happen

Verse 4, j-hope
My pipes awaken all things
The sound tantalises you further
You react, pulled along
I’m relentless in my blowing of the pipes
I’m your guilty pleasure
You can’t escape
Never

🎶 

Verse 5, Jungkook & Jimin
Yeah, I am a bit dangerous
I, too, can’t control myself
Don’t worry, my hands
are only warm, warm for you
If I am, perhaps,
ruining you –
would you forgive me?
Because you can’t live without me
I know it all

I’m takin’ over you
I’m takin’ over you


Notes

I believe Pied Piper is a) a consolatory defence for ARMY, and b) a further invitation couched in an  apology.

I’ve been quietly frustrated since its release, for it’s become the standard joke within fandom that when you’re concentrating on BTS instead of working or studying, the Pied Piper soundtrack plays to guilt you to return to your responsibilities. Look, it’s funny, and I can understand why it’s been construed that way.

But it’s in fact the opposite.

Let me walk you through some reasons of why it is not a warning, and then give you some reasons for why it is instead a defence and invitation, albeit with a wry edge.

First, RM speaks of the writing process for Pied Piper in his V-LIVE overview of the album. At 20.17 he says it’s a conceptual song; one the members decided to take on a role each. His role was to show gratitude for the actions of fans, but in a strange and unique way that he was worried would offend us.

Second, in a solo V-LIVE by j-hope last year, he laughingly sang along to the Pied Piper tune when a fan wrote that she was in class watching it. He seemed to welcome it, rather than judging her for it.

Third, in their most recent Muster fanmeeting, they played a pre-recorded skit titled ‘Protector of the Army Bomb’. In a series of scenes, they protect their fans through actions such as making sure they manage to get tickets for a concert, getting revenge on their superior, and doing their homework for them when they’ve fallen asleep – all because they were busy with fandom activity. Furthermore, they followed the video up with a performance of ‘Pied Piper’ and Suga said these words: ‘Our hearts wanting to protect you, did you feel it?’

These three events seem to suggest that those who had a hand in writing the song did it with the purpose of thanking the fans for the fervent lengths they go to, and protecting them from being berated by those around them who are less understanding and sympathetic.

So, then, what message are they trying to portray? 

Let’s have a closer look at the lyrics.

The vocal line and rap line start off very distinct from each other, but then meld into each other as the song progresses.

First, RM takes the second verse after saying ‘stop’; Jungkook’s call, as the Pied Piper, is paused for a moment for RM to say his piece. He says he knows how obsessive we are as fans. He tells us to stop looking at their other contents. He’s obviously speaking if not as himself, as a representative of BTS. But what does he reward us with? A song. In fact, a song that entrances us to be led astray.

Second, Jimin, Jin and V then all seamlessly intertwine with each other as the one who seduces the listener. They may be different personalities, but they all have a unified purpose.

Third, Suga continues with a similar perspective as his fellow rapper RM with the words ‘Yeah, maybe I am a bit dangerous, just like the Pied Piper’. This is of interest because the vocal line don’t use similes, they are the Pied Piper. Suga, however, differentiates himself from them, and accepts that he may be ‘a bit dangerous’.

And yet, when j-hope takes the next part, his message is the same as the vocal line’s. It’s his pipe, and he’s our guilty pleasure.

Thus, the shift is complete.

RM started off as a BTS member who could call the fans out on what they were doing. However, all he can do as a musician is … well, to do what he does – present us more music. Suga grimly accepts that actually, yeah, he might be part of the problem. And then J-Hope is part of the problem. At this point, Jungkook returns to confirm that ‘I am a bit dangerous’, a deliberate callback and development of Suga’s line.

These points are why I suggest that vocal line began as the character of the Pied Piper, and the rap line as a character who loses himself to the Pied Piper during the song.

By the end, both the vocal and rap line have seamlessly integrated to become the Pied Piper himself, seducing fans to their doom.

As a result, it is a consolatory defence. After all, it’s not our fault that we’re so taken by them. They themselves have already been tempted by the call of music, become the tempter, and are now tempting us. And it is also an apology. An apology on the lines of ‘Sorry we’re so tempting, but … if you’re enjoying it, does that make it even a little okay? Is there anything I can give to you in thanks? Oh, but I can only gift you with a song … which is the root of the problem … sorry ……?’

So I propose instead of using this song to be held over us as we procrastinate, we use it with a mad FRUSTRATION AND GNASHING OF TEETH that they’re stealing all our money, time and energy, and to sadly jam to this track to as we continue in such behaviours. (I kid. Surely. Maybe?)

I do want to end by saying BTS obviously do not want us to throw our lives away for them. They appreciate our love, but their constant message is that they hope their music and other aspects of public work are an encouragement for us to lead our lives with greater joy and courage. This is only one part of the picture; tongue in cheek, and very aware.

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doyoubangtan

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8 thoughts on “Pied Piper”

  1. I enjoyed your analysis of the lyrics. I have never thought of it that way! Honestly, when I first heard Pied Piper, I was wondering why would they include the verse “I am taking over you” but now everything seems clearer now. They’re such talented artists that I am always amazed by the work that they produce! More to come in May! #loveyourselftear

    Liked by 1 person

  2. whenever i feel down in work and overwhelmed with my life like i have work to do and feeling down, i always play this song and sometimes i wish that they appear and do guardian of army in my office 😊 thank you for thr analysis 🐨💜

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  3. Wow, thanks for the analysis. I’ve been looking for something like this because I’m always frustrated to see the “bts told army to study” interpretation of the song. I’ve always thought of it as the opposite. Pied piper is one of my favourite tracks because of how self aware bangtan is in the song. They know what they’re doing to lure fans, and they certainly don’t mean harm to them, but it’s almost inevitable to not do it in the music industry. Whenever I read the lyrics, it almost hypnotic, specially with the vocal line sounding so soft.

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  4. ah thank you… i just saw a tweet making another old “haha bts be like do your homework *hipthrust*” joke so i went to search for pied piper lyrics again. i’m glad we share the same sentiment, and i appreciate your insight!

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  5. Thank you for writing this, I’ve been wanting to talk about this song and its deeper meaning.
    I agree with what you wrote and I just wanted to say that this song makes me love them more but hate them a little too because it feels like being teased by someone that knows how much power they have over you and the only thing you can do is to let yourself go just to hear them apologise even though they’ve already caused you trouble, I don’t know if I’m being clear, anyways I love this song

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  6. ” They themselves have already been tempted by the call of music, become the tempter, and are now tempting us.”
    Well said! I don’t think I’ve stopped to consider that BTS themselves are lured by music, so glad the analysis probed into that. Especially love the bit on how the structure of the song lends the rap verses to tell a full story. Really really love how all the different parts have slightly different tones.
    The lyrics by themselves make me a little sad? Maybe sad isn’t the right word. Reminds me that it does feel like a guilty pleasure to keep up with so much content while everything else is :[
    It’s late and finals week so I’m listening to this song again. Thank you so much for translating and giving such a thorough and contextualized analysis!

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  7. I totally agree.. like I still like them but this gives me that face of *are you kidding me*. I mean, they know exactly what ARMYS do/what they bring to ARMYS. Still thank you for the analysis, it really made me understand the true meaning. Cause everyone is like “bts wants us to study”… but the song is sort of about sth else.

    For me, even though i really like their videos and songs, I always make sure I still ‘live my live’, do other things, and not get to deeply into them.
    Their song still are beautiful and mostly have a meaning, but we just have to make sure you put yourself first.. (not in an egoistic way ofc ;))
    Just….. take care of yourself 💪💜

    Like

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