“If there’s a beginning then there’s an end, and if there’s an end then there’s another beginning. I think this is another new beginning.”
On 29th October 2019, South Korean boyband BTS had their third and final day of their “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself [The Final]” concerts in Seoul at the Olympic Stadium. This was the finale to the band’s “Love Yourself” world tour that began in August 2018 and its extended leg of the tour across stadiums worldwide for “Love Yourself: Speak Yourself”.
It was a bittersweet moment for the band, as Tuesday’s concert also wrapped up two and a half years worth of work on the band’s “Love Yourself” era. In giving their ending mentions on the last day of the concert, bandleader Kim Namjoon expressed that despite the tour coming to an end, he hopes that ARMY’s will not see the end of this era as the end of loving themselves. He further expressed that he was able to learn to love himself for who he is from this journey he has taken alongside their fans, “I used to think that my skin was a little dark, why do my eyes look like this, I thought about my voice, and other things like that. But while embracing myself, I’d really like to tell everyone that thanks to you, I’ve come to love myself more. Now, I won’t be swept away by the waves anymore!”.
To commemorate the end of the band’s “Love Yourself” series, I’ve hand-picked some of the songs from their trilogy that has personally comforted and reminded me of my worth:
1. Magic Shop
This song was made by Jungkook, who explained that this song was made with the fans in mind — to comfort them in the midst of their struggles, when they are tired, or in pain. In this song, a place called “Magic Shop” was introduced, where fans can search for within their hearts to find the love the BTS members has for them.
“I’m not going to say anything blatant like “find strength”, I will let you hear my story.” We are so used to telling each other to “stay strong” and “hang in there” whenever someone tells us about their problems. But we should also allow each other to feel instead of reminding them to quick-fix or nip their problems in the bud.
The song then goes into introducing the “Magic Shop”:
On days I hate being myself, days I want to disappear forever
Let’s make a door in your heart
Open the door and this place will await
It’s okay to believe, the Magic Shop will comfort you
“Magic Shop” is a place where your fears can be exchanged for happiness — and this is what the band wants to do for their ARMY’s. But how does this place comfort you? The lyrics goes on to say:
I wanted to become your comfort and move your heart
I want to take away your sadness, and pain
The “Magic Shop” not only reminds you that you are not alone, but there are others who care deeply for you. It’s okay to feel bogged down by life — you will be okay.
This solo track by Jungkook is a general feel-good song which touches on the theme of new beginnings. It also describes the uncertainties we face during our youth: “Were you wandering around looking for an erased dream too?”. The song then goes on to affirm that we are not alone in our struggles — all of us are trying to make it through life too: “It’s different from the typical definition of destiny, Your pained eyes are looking at the same place as me”.
Although we may be feeling lost in this moment, we will be able to find our way if we continue to look ahead: “I hear the ocean from far away; Across the dream, over the horizon; I’m going to the place that’s getting clearer.” The members comfort their listeners through this song, reminding us that we are all in this journey together: “Take my hands now, You are the cause of my euphoria.”
This track emphasises on the comradery between the band members and their ARMY — that no matter what happens, they would continue being together and dreaming of the best dreams ahead: “Even if the desert becomes cracked, No matter who shakes this world, Don’t let go of the hand you’re holding.”
3. Trivia: Love
Is anyone able to really define what love is all about? Namjoon muses in his solo song: “Is this love? Sometimes I know, Sometimes I don’t.”
He goes on to sing: “I’m just a human, human, human; You erode all my corners; And make me into love, love, love.” Prior the reveal of his solo track, Namjoon talked about how the words ‘person’ and ‘love’ both sound and look similar in the Korean language. He also explained about the significance of love to a person, whether it’s self-love or love towards others.
Because of you
I know why human and love sound similar
You make live to a love
Live to a love
Because of you
I know why a person should live by love
Continuing with the visual imagery between ‘person’, 사람 (saram), and ‘love’, 사랑 (sarang), Namjoon word-plays that the effect of being shown love inspired him to also live his life that way. He sings in his chorus: “I live so I love.” This transformation changes him from being just a human, into someone who wants to live with love.
This is a solo track sung by bandmember Jin, which ended up being a recognised anthem of self-love. “Epiphany” was also featured on a the soundtrack of a Korean-drama series as well as TV programmes. During the band’s annual fan meeting this year (5th Muster), bandmate Yoongi dubbed it as one of his “healing songs”.
The lyrics starts off with how we sometimes get carried away when we’re in love: “I for sure loved you so much; Adapted to you with everything, I wanted to live my life for you.” But after a period of time, we have to face the reality of who we really are and what we really feel: “But as I keep doing that I just can’t bear the storm inside my heart; The real me behind the smiling mask, I reveal it entirely.”
Although the journey of learning and loving yourself can be scary and uncertain, it is not impossible. It is one of the bravest steps anyone can ever take:
I’m shaking and afraid but I keep going forward
I’m meeting the real you, hidden in the storm
Why did I want to hide my precious self like this?
What was I so afraid of?
Why did I hide my true self?
In this song, Jin realises that he deserves to love himself instead of allowing himself to be swept away by others. He reminds us that we too deserve the love we show to others:
I’m the one I should love in this world
Shining me, precious soul of mine
I finally realized so I love me
Not so perfect but so beautiful
I’m the one I should love
5. I’m Fine
“I’m Fine” was linked to “Save Me” (from their “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever” album). Instead of asking for someone to save them, “I’m Fine” expresses how the boys have now evolved into people who have learned to save themselves.
This song goes on to express that despite the hardships they may face, they are able to make their own happiness and peace with themselves:
Even if sadness erases me
Even if there are clouds
Even if I’m in an endless dream
Even if I’m endlessly crumpled
Even if my wings are torn
Even if some day, I’m not me anymore
It’s alright, only I am my own salvation
I won’t ever die in this walk
How you doin? Im fine
My sky is clear
All pain, say goodbye
Yoongi’s verse in this song felt like a pat on the back of a friend, assuring you that it will all be okay — let’s keep enjoying this ride of life:
I’m so fine, you so fine
All of the sadness and scars
Became an old memory now
So let’s smile and let go, we so fine
I’m so fine, you so fine
Our future will only have happiness
So put away your fear
Enjoy it, you worked hard, we so fine
This song ends with a hopeful affirmation, saying: “Even if I fall down again, I’m fine.”
6. Answer: Love Myself
The lyrics of “Answer: Love Myself” expresses the importance of wholeheartedly loving yourself. The song first starts off addressing the difference in the way we treat ourselves in comparison to others. We may struggle more with loving who we are, because we often subject ourselves to higher standards and expectations in comparison to others.
The members go on to credit their ARMY’s for helping them in their own journey to understand what loving themselves entails: “You’ve shown me I have reasons I should love myself.” Regardless of whether we are talking about our past, present, or future selves — these are all versions of us. “With no exceptions, it’s all me.”
Namjoon’s verse in this song rings sincerely, as self-love looks differently on everyone:
Maybe there’s no answer
Maybe this isn’t the answer either
It’s just that loving myself
Doesn’t require anyone else’s permission
I’m looking for myself again
But I don’t wanna die anymore
Me, who used to be sad
Me, who used to be hurt
It’ll make me more beautiful
Towards the ending of the song, the members remind their listeners that they deserve to take the step towards self-love for themselves: “It’s what I need the most, I’m walking for myself, It’s an action needed for me, That’s the happiness I need for me.”
This song addresses how we live in a society that pushes us to always go, to always hustle, to keep working, don’t stop: “We need to run, we need to step on it. If you shoot a flare, you don’t have a destination.” Work-life balance? We don’t know her. It’s always go go go: “There’s no sceneries at all, until your breath comes up to your chin — you need to, you need to.”
But the truth is, it’s alright to take a breather. Otherwise, everything starts to feel pointless: “It’s alright to stop, There’s no need to run without even knowing the reason.” Who is to say we need to live this way? Who is to determine what our dream should be? Who is to say that we must always have big goals?
Who says a dream must be something grand
Just become anybody
We deserve a life
Whatever big or small, you are you after all
Sometimes, everything feels too much. This song goes on to address how the world hurls their expectations at us, that we should be living a certain way or be achieving a certain thing by this time. The members remind us that we don’t always need to have grand dreams. Sometimes, even just getting through day by day is more than enough: “To just live like this, To survive like this is a small dream to me.”
8. So What
From the title alone, this song already gives “I don’t care about what you think” vibes. There are always going to be those who will agree with you, and those who will disagree with you. We will never be able to please everyone. The members proclaim in this song that you should just do what you want — as long as you’re not hurting anyone, you should not allow yourself to be influenced so much by the perspective of others.
So what if others agree or disagree? Will thinking about it over and over again help you? The members sing: “Stop thinking about it, You already know it all.” Yoongi’s verse in this song speaks volumes, as he addresses how we get so caught up in our own heads: “90% of your worries are an imaginary swamp that you created — Just go instead of worrying.” He reminds us to not be scared by the expectations of others and to cheer up. The members continue on to assure their audience to not be trapped by their worries: “Your worries, worries, without no answer; Don’t fall into them and stay in them.”
It’s a light-hearted song reminding us to live a more carefree life: “Don’t stop and worry yourself, It’s good for nothing — Let go.” We may not have all the answers to life figured out just yet, but by taking small steps forward, we will be able to grow closer to our purpose and dream.