Saturday, June 10, 2023

Haegum by Agust D: A Song Review

BTS’ Chapter 2 is going strong with the release of Agust D’s new album, D-Day. One of the singles that was released with a music video from this album is the song Haegum. As usual, Min Yoongi (aka SUGA aka Agust D) has shown that he is a genius songwriter and producer with this track.

Haegum’s beat, combined with the background sound of the instrument of the same name and Agust D’s rapping makes this song something that you can’t help but bang your head to. Just like its predecessor Daechwita (which also uses traditional Korean music/instruments), this is a song that is so catchy that it is hard to resist enjoying it. 

While Daechwita was more a song for his haters, Haegum talks about something deeper. The word haegum also means to lift a ban in Korean, which is why the song talks about liberation from what is forbidden. I love that Agust D has songs like this that are not only a good listen but that they have lyrics that will provoke you and make you think. 

I found it interesting that he said that interpretation is free for all because I remember an interview where he said that he prefers that people interpret their songs themselves and that we are free to have our own interpretations of their music regardless of what they thought the song was about. 

In the part where he said freedom of expression could mean death, I wondered if he meant this because the world does not always give us the freedom to say what we want.

There was a line that said that for all those living in these times who don’t even understand their own tastes. It made me think of something I once heard at a lecture asking if popular culture reflects our own opinion (or in the case of this song, our tastes) or if pop culture is dictating it and pretending it is just reflecting what we think or feel. The next lines of the song seem to go into that train of thought by saying that too much information is dictating what people think and preventing them from having their own ideas. 

Still, there is the question of whether the powers that be are the ones pushing this agenda to the public or if are we doing this to ourselves by allowing ourselves to be swallowed by everything that is being given to us. In this era of social media, it is so easy to do this without realizing it. I mean, how many of us have gotten into a black hole of endless scrolling Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or any other form of social media without realizing how much information we are taking in and how many hours we have spent on it? Crazy to think that all this information is given for free and so many of us consume it without even checking if what we see, hear, or read is true or not. We are free to consume everything, but becoming too self-indulgent without being discerning of what we consume is a negative thing too. 

Apart from the song, I am a big fan of the music video, which features Agust D in yet another persona. For the benefit of non-fans, Agust D has released three albums so far: two are mix tapes and one is this official album, D-Day. In Agust D (or D-1, as most fans refer to it), the video for the song of the same title features him as a blonde. In D-2, the video for Daechwita shows blonde Agust D as a King, who is later shot to death by a new Agust D, one with black hair and a scar on his face like the King. In D-Day, which is said to be the end of the trilogy from Agust D, Haegum shows black-haired and scarred Agust D killed by yet another version, which fans assume to be Min Yoongi himself.

I thought that the story-telling element of Haegum not just as a song but as a video has been very entertaining. I love that like Daechwita, the video for Haegum had a very cinematic feel and I loved every minute of it. It was a well-thought-out concept and I appreciate the effort that went into uniting this song with Daechwita. 

Another thing to note with this song is that Agust D never dances to this in the music video, even if there is choreography for this song. I thought it was interesting that he did a dance practice video for Haegum when he has never done this dance anywhere other than on the video and on dance challenges. Still, it was fun to see (and try to copy) the choreography and I appreciated the extra effort to give an additional element to the song. 

Haegum is a great song that proves Agust D’s talent. His music is not just about the song but also about the other different elements that go with it. He is truly an artist that I am proud to be a fan of. 


1 comment

Judith said...

Agust D baddie! I had Wong Kar Wai feels!

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