Music Monday – BTS – LY: Tear, take 1
I just enjoyed two days of Muster, aka Festa 2021, complete with water fights, vocal line rapping, and a Happy Birthday to a bug crawling on the stage. So how could I choose anyone other than BTS for today’s music-related post?
I should probably start with their first mini-album, 2 Cool 4 Skool, but I’m not. Or maybe I should start from their most recent releases, but I already posted all about Butter.
Instead, I’m going to start going over an album that really made me change from being just a fan to being ARMY.
It was 2018, and I’d heard BTS before, of course. I liked them and I even considered them to be among my favorite kpop groups. I had at least a couple dozen of their songs on my playlist, I’d bought tickets for their Love Yourself tour (floor, so we could get close to the stage), and I was really looking forward to seeing them in concert later that year.
But it wasn’t until around June of that year that I really started to pay attention to their lyrics, their message, them. I didn’t even know all their names at the beginning of 2018, though I could sing along heartily, if inaccurately, to their songs. Come May 2018, they drop Love Yourself: Tear. I was already enjoying Love Yourself: Her, especially Pied Piper (much to my daughter’s horror and embarrassment), but I think with this second album, I finally got it.
I went back and re-listened to all their other songs. Everything from LY:Her made a new kind of sense, had a new kind of connection. I went further back and, wow. Wings Era floored me. Still does. Those mini-films? True artistry. HYYH Era was amazing. The story line, the way it moved into Wings and LY eras and continues even now is inspiring. Going back further, the early albums, and then Dark & Wild? Yes! Some of my favorite songs to this day are from D&W: Hip-Hop Phile, Rain, Look Here, … I’ll have to save those for another day.
But it was LY:Tear that hooked me, that really made me take notice, that made me ARMY, so it’s LY:Tear that I’m going to focus on today.
It’s of some importance to note that this album is the second of the Love Yourself series, the first being Love Yourself: Her and the trilogy rounding out with Love Yourself: Answer. The three albums take the listener on a journey of love, be it romantic, platonic, familial, or self-love.
This middle album of the series is the hard one, crying, being torn, the pain of relationships, even with oneself. So, naturally, lol, nearly every song on this album is a favorite of mine. It was really difficult to pick only three. I will have to do at least one more set of three from this album some other day because it kind of hurts not to include Outro: Tear, Anpanman, So What, and Airplane pt.2.
Tell me if my voice isn’t real
If I shouldn’t have thrown myself away
Tell me, if even this pain isn’t real,
What I was supposed to do back then?
First song on the album, the introduction, and immediately it’s hitting too close to home. I don’t see or hear this in any kind of romantic-love-focused way, although I do understand how others interpret it that way. For me, it’s very self-reflective, a journey of hiding oneself from oneself, and then trying to get back to that self.
Past the fog, I watch over the you who is still smiling
Without you and without meaning, the reality of my irregular orbit
With a number that’s hard for you to remember, Pluto in the darkness
But I guess I’ll keep circling around you, damn.
This is probably one of my all time favorite songs, not just favorite BTS songs. Leave it to BTS to pack a science lesson into an analogy about a break up. Damn. It’s so brilliant, like the sun the minor planet designation 134340 continues to orbit.
I know that you’re hesitating because, even if you speak your true heart,
it all comes back as scars
I won’t say obvious things like, ‘cheer up’,
but I’ll rather share with you my story.
So yeah, that’s how the song starts off. I think we’ve all been there, afraid to speak our truth, because we’ve tried before and it just ended up hurting. I know I have. And thank you, BTS, for not just saying “cheer up” or “have strength” and for sharing your stories with us. Thank you even more for listening to our stories.
Peace, all! Borahae! 💜