BTS – Am I Wrong (English Translation and Ramblings)

I kinda had vague ideas of politics involved in this song.  I’ve been reading the topics in more detail and decided to do this one too. ^^

The translation itself is not difficult, but I guess there is a lot of background info.

Credits for various sources used at the bottom of the post.

 

Am I Wrong – Track 12 on Wings Album

Korean Lyrics from Naver Music.

Lyrics by: Kevin Moore
Song by:  Kevin Moore

As far as I know, when they use a pre-existing foreign song, they don’t get royalties for Korean lyrics even if they had to newly write the lyrics (which is probably why the lyrics credit only Kevin Moore on Naver Music)

 

Koreans in general are very cynical and jaded about politics in general.  However, I hope the readers don’t take some kind of 1-dimensional view of corruption.   Let’s hope that the public remains educated and rational in its critique of the government and society.

Pls read other explanations as well.  Always good to read various interpretations and have an open mind, so that you can make your own beliefs. ^^

Read this too.  (Thank you, Xbomtori, in comments).  New government scandal as of October 2016.   I’ve always taken pride that as corrupt as Korean politics can be, at least it was very secular.  There was greed but it made sense.  The recent scandal makes me sad (although I bet the driving force for many involved is still greed).   

This song was produced before the government scandal came out, so it would not have been referring to that specific incident.   However, it is fitting in general regarding the society we now live in.  The world’s goin’ crazy.  Indeed.


 

The world’s goin’ crazy
And you?  How bout ya?
You think it is okay?
I really don’t think it is.

Even with ears, there’s no listening
Even with eyes, there’s no seeing
A fish lives in everyone’s hearts.
Its name is SELFISH SELFISH

 

We all become dogs and pigs
Become angry and lose our shit.
Literal translation is Become angry and become dogs“, meaning lose rational control in anger (eg. lose our shit)
“Become dogs” is spelled differently but is homonyms with “dogs and pigs” in Korean.  This make the above 2 lines end with the same sounding phrase.
They do the animal dance during this part.
dogs-and-pigs

This is probably a reference to the scandal involving an official of the the Ministry of Education.  He seems to believe that those with privilege are not equal with the rest of the population.  In an informal setting (with reporters around!!), he claimed that the “public can be treated like dogs and pigs.”  He tried to say it was a quote from the movie, “Inside Men” but he has expressed support for class system in other instances as well.
Here are some of the things he claimed:
nhw-translated

This ties back to BTS’s Baepsae song, and how the Silver-spoons/storks do not allow playing fields to be level, and think it is justice.
One of the other issues he commented on, was a 19 year old (born 1997! same age as JK) who died while trying to do repair work on the Seoul Subway, due to poor work training and work conditions.  It was especially tragic as his remaining possessions just contained instant cup noodle, because he could not afford proper food.  He was a temp worker, in a society that promotes “Passion Pay” (see my Baepsae post about passion pay), rather than decent wages and job security.
This official claimed that to feel sad about this incident as if it were his family, would be hypocritical.
He was disciplined with the highest level of consequence, short of being charged with a crime.   He was fired, and his work experience for the government became nullified (eg. same as being unemployed for decades) and he is disqualified from receiving part of his pension that the government  had topped off.
It’s a Stork vs. Parrotbill (bapesae) war, ERRDAY
Reference to the conflict between the privileged and the poor.
The crazy world, yeah
Makes us go crazy
Yes, we’re all CRAZY
Hey, shout it out MAYDAY MAYDAY
This is more of an indirect reference to the sinking of Sewol ferry.  Any ship sinking related term would immediately bring to any Korean’s mind this tragedy that happened in 2014.
In addition, it also ties in with the corruption and greed, as the tragedy underlines many of the issues mentioned above.
-The corruption where the licence/certificate for safety was bought
-They illegally increased capacity of the ferry, and then overloaded it (greed of the upper class)
-half the employees were poorly trained temp workers (ties back with the idea of “Passion Pay”= unfair pay and poor job outlook for the young generation)
-the call for MAYDAY was not done properly (due to poor training, and delayed rescue), and in fact a high-schooler on the ferry had to call for help.
-When the ferry started to capsize, the passengers were told to stay in passenger room and not move (reminiscent of Titanic and how the poor were locked up to sink).  Later, the kids who stayed in the passenger rooms were unable to be rescued even when help arrived.
-The captain and higher-ups of the crew were the first to be rescued and to leave the ferry.
This incident brought about the public outrage about the corruption that allowed such things to happen.
The whole world seems to have gone crazy, like it’s all over
Oh why (Oh why)

Oh why (Oh why)
Oh why why why why
(OH MY GOD)

(Am I Wrong)
It’s not like I said anything wrong?
It’s not like I lied?
Going crazy (Crazy crazy)
Crazy (Crazy crazy)
Am I Wrong
Am I Wrong
Where are we going?
The world is crazily turning around
“Turning around” in Korean also means to go crazy, so this line can mean “the world is crazily going insane”
Are you ready for this
Are you ready for this
Are you ready for this
(NO I’M NOT)

Yeah, kid, you’re crazy
That you’re not crazy in this crazy world, is crazy
Whole world and everywhere, HELL YEAH
Online and Offline, HELL YEAH

The scandal gave birth to a lot of internet discussions/memes/satire.

For example, one netizen claimed, “If public is dogs and pigs, then should the education be overseen by the Ministry of Agriculture, rather than the Ministry of Education?”

It also gave birth to things like below.
HELL Chosun” is a common internet slang, that refers to the hellish society that Korea can be at times, to those who are not privileged.  Chosun is what Korea used to be called prior to 1900’s.

The chicken is apparently a nickname of the president.

hell-chosun

If you see the news and feel nothing
If you read those comments and feel nothing
If you feel nothing about the anguished hatred
Then you’re not normal, abnormal

“Jungsang” = normal/top.
This line can also be translated as “Then you’re not the top/ruling class”
This pun is used in the title of “Abnormal Summit” talk show.

The whole world seems to have gone crazy, like it’s all over
Oh why (Oh why)
Oh why (Oh why)
Oh why why why why
(OH MY GOD)

 

(Am I Wrong)
It’s not like I said anything wrong?
It’s not like I lied?
Going crazy (Crazy crazy)
Crazy (Crazy crazy)
Am I Wrong
Am I Wrong
Where are we going?
The world is crazily turning around

Even if I lose my way in this crazy world
I still want to live a bit more
I want to find my own beliefs
I cling to these little bits of positivity…  after doing this song.

(Am I Wrong)
It’s not like I said anything wrong?
It’s not like I lied?
Going crazy (Crazy crazy)
Crazy (Crazy crazy)
Am I Wrong
Am I Wrong
Where are we going?
The world is crazily turning around

Are you ready for this
Are you ready for this
Are you ready for this

 


references used:

dog/pig scandal, the official involved, subway fatality, sinking of Sewol, Mayday

 

 

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11 thoughts on “BTS – Am I Wrong (English Translation and Ramblings)

  1. I’ve been reading the lyrics of some of their songs and the way you break the lyrics down seems to me Prayers should be going up for these young men. Especially the writers and the one responsible for the lyrics. Because The mind of that young man or men is DEEP!!! Very very talented, all seven of them.

  2. I have to ask, are you Korean? Because you have a really deep understanding of Korean culture if you aren’t. Like, I found stuff about my own culture through your blog even though I’m Korean lol

    1. I was born in Korea, but immigrated to Canada towards end of elementary school. I still read/watch a lot of Korean stuff in general, but I usually have to read up/double check a lot of my information before I can post these. ^^

  3. Thank you for this translation! I feel like that Sewol Ferry reference is even more relevant now that BTS were revealed to have donated a lot of money to the families of that tragedy in private. Such sweet boys. Also, I wonder if this song, or other previous ones may have caused BTS to be placed on the South Korean cultural blacklist revealed a few weeks ago? Well, clearly, it didnt work. BTS are more popular than ever. Some people are speculating that their next comeback, WINGS: You Never Walk Alone may be dedicated to the victims of that tragedy, but we wont know until its released…and they would get in a lot more trouble with the government if they did….I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

    1. I think, considering what’s happening with the politics right now with the president/impeachment…. I’m assuming that the blacklist doesn’t have much negative power to the artist at this point. In fact, I think I read an article where an artist was proud that he/she was on the blacklist. One of the artist I did read about who was on the blacklist, was much more blatantly critical of the government/president. Read about him here: https://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/31/world/asia/an-artist-is-rebuked-for-casting-south-koreas-leader-in-an-unflattering-light.html?_r=0

      BTS is critical of various aspects of society, but doesn’t really single out a political person and heavily bash them nor devote a whole song to bash one person, so I’m sure they will be fine. They seem to write about an issue and subtly allude to various people/situations that are related as examples. The theme of this song is the corruption and the general upper class being deaf to the sufferings of others, not specifially to specifically criticize one person/incident.

      As for the next album, I have no idea what they will do next. I wouldn’t think a whole album would be dedicated to the Sewol incident though. They seem to go their way, aware of the world around them, writing about various things. It would be unusual to limit to one specific incident….but we’ll have to see. :)

  4. Thank you for your research!! Also this weekend MBC gave BTS time to perform both a full version of AM I WRONG besides BST on Music Core, even though it’s neither their comeback week or goodbye stage. K-nets are saying that BTS are really cool for making such a song and that the timing is too perfect (for MBC to broadcast it). Since it’s a complete chaos in Korea right now. (I hope you don’t mind, but for those who are interested…More background information about the Presidential scandal: http://askakorean.blogspot.nl/2016/10/the-irrational-downfall-of-park-geun-hye.html)

  5. Thank you for this ^^ I kinda knew there was something going on in Korea because Suga was asked in the interview about this songs but he quickly denied it anyway. This is really helpful :)

  6. i really like your explanations
    i’ve been reading a lot of lyrics and stuff recently and somehow you always interpret in a very beautiful and intellectual way i guess ?
    it looks like a lot of hard work
    thank you so much for this !

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