Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Music Review: People Pt. 2

Before the release of his debut album D-Day under the name Agust D, SUGA of BTS released the song People Pt. 2. This song is a duet with IU, an artist he had previously worked with on the hit song Eight.

According to Yoongi in his interview with Billboard, the title was supposed to be 사라 (Sara), and depending on the consonant added in the end it could be ‘사람 (saram or people in Korean)’ or ‘사랑 (sarang, which is love in Korean).’ It would be up to the listener to decide. Because there were concerns of misinterpretation by leaving it in the original form, they chose to call it People Pt. 2. I liked that there was originally an ambiguity in the title, it was very clever. But I also understand why they had to change it.

The first time I heard the song IU’s opening part/chorus was something that made me stop and think. I immediately felt that this was a part I had to think about to understand. While I was thinking that there was some form of wordplay going on, I was disappointed that there were some people who were criticizing Yoongi and saying that his English was all wrong. I disagree with that idea. He would not use the words he did without any specific intention or purpose to it. 

Yoongi once said that he leaves it to the listeners to interpret his music so l want to do that and give it my best shot. Allow me to interpret this song from my point of view and life experience:

So time is yet now, right here to go

I know, you know, anything does know

So time is yet now, right here to go

Nobody doesn’t know anymore

For me, those lines mean that time (and life) is yet -- as in not yet -- but it is also right here and now. And the part about how I know, you know, anything does know, and nobody doesn’t know anymore, it feels like there is a sense of frustration about this fact. Time and life is not happening but it is. We know that, but at the same time we don’t. Given that he wrote these lines during the pandemic, I could feel how anxious he was about how life stood still but time was still moving and how nobody knows what exactly was going on and how to deal with it.

Yoongi’s words/lyrics in this song made me feel for him, particularly because of how lonely he seemed to feel when writing it. It felt bad to listen to him say that maybe love is momentary, that love is conditional. It made me wonder what happened to make him think and feel that way. I am not saying that love is perfect, but for him to believe in that definition of love makes me wish that he would receive and feel all the love that he deserves in his life that would help change his mind. 

We all deserve love, and it is not conditional. I don’t believe that. And it is not momentary. We may lose the ones we love, that’s the way life is, but that love will always be there if it really was love. I say this not as a naive young person but as someone who has loved and lost and learned about what love is and should be for me in my life. We all deserve to know and feel that. 

The song said that forever is like a sandcastle and that it crumbles easily, and I get that. As we say in Tagalog, “walang forever (there’s no forever).” There may not be forever, and we may love and lose the people we care about, but we should take the chance to love the heck out of these people and enjoy the love they share with us while we have the chance. Loss is indeed sad, but dreading and anticipating that loss, and avoiding love to prevent that is even sadder. How do we take a chance at love if we are already dreading losing them from the start? Why not free fall with that feeling and see where it goes? As cliche as it sounds, it is still better to have loved and lost than not to feel love at all. To have not known it is the biggest tragedy.

The lines where he mentioned not being loved enough as a child that it made him cautious and that he wants a sincere connection with others despite it was something I could understand. If you haven’t felt that love from your family, you don’t know how to recognize it in others or how to share that kind of love with others as well. You want to connect but you’re not sure how. I’m not saying that’s how he feels but I’m saying this from my own point of view. You can have all the love in the world for other people and people may have all their love for you but there will still be something holding you back. There will be a hesitation and an uncertainty. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I believe that given the right people around you, finding the kind of love that opens you up to the possibilities of it, this hesitation and uncertainty is something that you can overcome.

There were two parts of the song that I felt were a nod to a couple of his previous songs. One was the part where he sang the line “so far away you’re gone…” – which reminded me of his song So Far Away – and the other was the part that reminded me so much of his song Seesaw:

The us that dreamt of a future together is no more

We're the ones who tore down the sand castle

They say there are no winners or losers in this game

But I'm always the loser

We said we'd give our all, but we tore it all down

And then we leave

Because both love and people are selfish.

I know the lines are different but the general idea or feeling from this part struck me as something that would fit the story in Seesaw. Even in the lines that follow, where he talks about the end of love, a love that passed…it reminds me of that song. 

There was a question if love is perfect on its own in the song. Is it? Now that is an interesting question. I think for me the answer to that is no. Loving someone is a choice. And with that choice comes commitment, and opening yourself up and being vulnerable to another, among other things. But that’s something that I will share more about in a future post (maybe).

I hope that the part that reminded me of Seesaw was more of a story he had written rather than something coming from personal experience because it is just too sad if it was based on something real. But if it is, I just want to say to Yoongi (and whoever else feels this way): You are not always the loser. In a way you win because the love you lost is giving you room to find the love that you deserve. And yes, people may be selfish, but I refuse to believe that real love is. You’ll find that love if you open your eyes to it. Trust that it will come to you one day when you least expect it. Love may not be perfect, but it is worth it. I truly believe that.

There’s a part in the song that people have said might be about his love for his craft, his love for his career, and ARMY. I agree with that one.

Selflessness can actually be selfish, too, it's true

It's actually my greed when I say that it’s all for you

Will I be happy if I give up my greed

A half-illusion that can never be fulfilled

I think I remember Yoongi talking to Jin on In the Soop about how sometimes he regrets working too hard. I think I’ve also heard him say somewhere else that he feels greedy for wanting to do so much. The idea in this part seems to be that he felt that his love for ARMY is the reason he does what he does, which is why he called it selfless. But it is also selfish because, as I said, he feels greedy for wanting to do and achieve so much. He wonders if he’ll be happy if he gave it all up, but he calls it a half-illusion that can never be fulfilled because, most likely, he could never imagine giving it up anyway. Not that anyone would want him to.

They say life's a struggle between resistance and submission

I say it's a struggle against loneliness

If you can't hold it back, it's okay to cry

You're already more than enough to be loved

That part made my heart just want to reach out to him and comfort him. It all felt so sad and lonely. I have felt that way myself and I know what he means about resisting and submitting to life when you’re struggling with loneliness. For me, this is about resisting the act of settling in life because you feel lonely, and struggling with giving in because you feel so alone. When you sometimes wonder if you should just settle because you don’t feel you’re worth waiting for the right person, people or time in your life. But as the song goes, it’s OK because you are already more than enough. We just have to believe that.

In his Billboard interview, Yoongi said that “loneliness is being together in modern society.” That reminded me of a line from the show Ally McBeal where she said that “The truth is, when I think back of my loneliest moments, there was usually somebody sitting there next to me.” 

As I said earlier, sometimes we settle. We surround ourselves with people, but they are not always the right ones. We think that would make us less lonely but in truth that makes us even more lonely. I can’t argue that we don’t all have that loneliness inside us as Yoongi says in his interview, but I can say that being around the right people helps. Being surrounded by people you can trust and talk to and be yourself with, even if it means just sitting quietly together. It doesn’t always mean you’ll feel less pain or sadness, but you will be with people who will help you through it. The comfort of knowing there is someone there who has your back is enough. Or at the very least it helps to give you some relief or comfort.

I loved this song a lot and I can’t stop talking about it. I enjoyed the music video, but I don’t want to go into it so much. It’s a great video of Yoongi as he reflects on the song and goes about his creative process but it’s more of a fan service video to me (except for the last part where he explains how he felt about the song) and there’s nothing more to review about it. I’ll go into the other songs on the D-Day album in future posts, but I’ll end it here for this one with the live version of Yoongi and IU singing the song on IU's Palette:

I was pleasantly surprised with the difference in the sound of this single from his previous Agust D songs, but I am loving it. I sense that after all the anger and the pain I felt from his previous albums, he has grown a lot and is more contemplative about his thoughts and words. Still, for an easy listening and light-sounding song, this was a track that was heavy with the feelings for me...and I love it.  

I’m very happy with his growth as an artist: as a songwriter, a producer, a rapper, and a singer. Whenever I listen to his songs and learn his lyrics, whether as SUGA, Agust D, or Min Yoongi, I see him as a person who feels a lot and holds a lot of things close to his chest (so to speak). I think that he has a lot of heart and as an artist, I'd love to see him explore that even further. I hope that I see more of that growth in the years to come.


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