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It’s September 12th and it’s raining. And it’s reminded me of someone who’s celebrating his birthday today — Kim Namjoon, commonly known as RM, the leader of the global superstars, BTS.
Aside from his pretty chill being, passion for nature & arts , fondness of small objects and insects (which is so cute because he’s this tall, kind of intimidating guy), his wide English vocabulary and impressive leadership, I have always admire his lyricism and wordplay and it is what’s gotten my full respect. There are also 177 songs credited onto his name per KOMCA (Korean Music Copyright Association). And so today I decided to share some of his wisdom as shown through the songs that he’s written over the years. Maybe we can learn a thing or two from the lyrics that he wrote.
When I learned about this, I was totally impressed because it is just so cool how he was able to do wordplays that would make sense in his own language (Korean) as well as if you are going to translate it in English.
When you write “Person” in hangul, it is (사람) saram. As you may have noticed, the last consonant is "ㅁ" like a square. When you “erode its edges/corners” it will become "ㅇ" like a circle. Writing the term in hangul again using the circle, it becomes love (사랑) sarang.
In an electrodiagram of a person's heartbeat, the waves are labelled PQRST. Somehow, Namjoon included a cardiology reference in a song about love where I and U maybe far from each other alphabetically but the distance is only a “heartbeat” away.
We all know that comma usually puts a stop/pause to a sentence and then you can start a new statement. In this line’s context, in order to start a new life, he appeals for the other person to treat him like a comma so they can start a new phrase (can both apply to relationships or life as a whole).
Namjoon’s verses from the two songs Save Me and I’m Fine are like an ambigram with lyrics with inverse meaning and this is one of my ultimate favourites.
I just…. I am at a loss for words of how he’s able to come up with those impressive lines? Him having 148 IQ might be a factor because he’s so cool!
In Save Me it feels like it is from the perspective of someone who’s needing to depend on someone else to survive, while in I’m Fine there is a realisation that you cannot expect people to always be on your side so you got to be your own person. You have to find your own strength and push yourself to improve even without that other person as your aide.
The lyrics go like this:
Thank you for letting me be myself
Even if I end up becoming someone other than myself, it’s okay because I am my own salvation
For enabling me to fly
For giving me wings
and my wings get torn
For straightening me out, who was wrinkled
For breaking me out when I was feeling suffocated/boxed in
and get wrinkled an endless amount of time
For waking me up when I was solely living in a dream
On the song, “moonchild” from his solo EP, “mono”, he used the Korean word 가시 (ga-shi) in two meanings: thorn and visibility. ‘thorn' symbolizes a negative trait while 'visibility' is referring to perspectives or views.
It means that people may say bad things towards you and people will have different views of you, but there will also be a person out there who will find comfort in your fatal thorns. What others see as a problem maybe a solution to some depending on their perspective.
Another favourite line from this song goes like, “it’s okay to shed tears but don’t you tear yourself.” where he used the two meanings of the word “tear”. I find it very relatable. It is like reminding us how it is okay to embrace the sadness when it is knocking on our doors, but don’t let it eat you up long enough that you would get to lose yourself in the process of hurting/grieving.
My ideal and reality–
They are too far apart
But, I still want to cross the bridge
and reach me
the real me
Even in that desert, it might rain
But, I’m sorry, I can’t give up on myself
Just like in Jamais Vu, these couple of lines from the song uh good feels like an encouragement to not give up on ourselves even when every situation is pointing to failure and disappointment. It is okay if you are not yet the real you or if you feel like you are still too far from achieving your goals, but don’t you ever give up.
Personally, his EP called mono is one of my go-to feel-good, healing albums especially when I am feeling down or when it’s raining because not only are the vibes just perfect, but the lyrics are a good reminder of what’s to come, even if it doesn’t feel like life is working in your favor at that certain moment.
Anyway, happiest of birthdays, Namjoonie. Thank you for spreading your talent and for sharing your light. Cheers to the future!