Sunday, January 15, 2023

Music Review: The Astronaut

I still remember how it happened: Jin announced that he was releasing a single during the BTS Yet to Come concert in Busan. The following day they released an announcement that he was enlisting in December in the South Korean military. The news followed that the single release is by the end of October and that it was a collaboration between Jin and the band Coldplay, whom they had previously worked with on the song My Universe.

I had mixed feelings about the single. It was sad to think that he had something new coming out but that we could not look forward to more for at least 18 months while he is in the military. And when the single and the music video came out, I became even sadder because it turned out to be a love song for his fans and it was a way to say goodbye for now while he goes to fulfill his duty in the military.

The song sounds very Coldplay, but the message is very Jin. The story of someone drifting along until he found his home in someone else that he loved reminded fans of his previous song Moon, where Jin describes himself as the moon shining his light down on the earth that he loves. Even the music video about the alien who lost his way but found a home on earth is a nod to how what he wanted at first was to be an actor, but he wound up being an idol. 

When his character in the music video chose life on earth instead of going home, it reminds fans of how Jin has chosen his life as an idol, life with his bandmates, and the world with his fans as his home and his love. It was touching to see how there seemed to be a hint to saying goodbye to his fans by showing him helping the young girl learn to ride a bike on her own – a way of saying that he would be leaving but that he is doing something to make sure that the people he is leaving behind will be OK while he is gone. There were also a bunch of Easter eggs in the video that only BTS fans would be familiar with, another sign that it was a message for them to understand.

The music created for this song feels very hopeful and light, which I appreciated. I know that if he came out with a sad song it would make too many fans cry hearing it. At least this song, created with the fans in mind, gives a reassuring feeling that he does love them and that they are important to him even if he goes away for a while. 

I heard that this was supposed to be more in English, but that Chris Martin felt that it would sound better as a mostly Korean song. That was a good call. Jin’s emotions felt truly heartfelt because they were in Korean. 

It was touching to watch when Jin performed this song with Coldplay in their concert in Argentina, streamed online for fans to watch. You could see the mixed emotions that Jin had during his performance. It made me wonder what was going through his mind at that moment since it was his first performance without the rest of his bandmates. It was in another country. It was his first time performing the single in front of an audience and with a band that he loved and respected so much. Then, of course, there is the fact that every fan was looking at him knowing that he would soon be saying goodbye. You could tell there was so much going on behind his eyes as he performed the song, especially when he ran over to Chris Martin, and they hugged each other.

As I write this, Jin has already been in the military for about a month. There are still 17 months to go. I do not know what it would be like when he comes back, but I am hoping that this love between him and the fans will still be there to inspire him to come out with music again. 


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