BTS – Dead Leaves (English translation and Ramblings)

 고엽/Dead Leaves/Autumn Leaves – Track 08, of HYYH Pt. 2

Korean lyrics are from Naver Music.

Written by:  Suga, Slow Rabbit, Jungkook, Bang PD, Rap Monster, J-Hope, Pdogg.

Just because I feel like moody songs today!

This song is sometimes translated as Autumn Leaves.  Even itunes have it listed as Autumn Leaves.   The commonly used term for autumn leaves is 낙엽 (nak-yeop), which makes you imagine colourful autumn leaves.

The actual title, 고엽 (ko-yeop), literally meaning dry dead leaves, is not a commonly used word.  It sounds very formal, and very gloomy, and reminiscent of few dry brown dead leaves  remaining at the end of autumn.

This is possibly Homage to Yves Montand’s Les Feuilles Mortes, which also translates to Dead Leaves and is also known as 고엽(ko-yeop) in Korea. This song is also at times translated as Autumn Leaves and is fairly well-known in Korea.

Like those autumn leaves falling and blowing there
My love that was falling down weakly
You’re becoming more and more distant, I can’t hold you back
I can’t hold you back anymore
I can’t hold on anymore, yeah

Because those precarious leaves seemed just like us
Because it felt ready to crumble at the slightest touch
All I did was watch, like the autumn wind
The expressions and voice that had turned cold
I can see our relationship wilting
Relationship that is empty like the autumn sky
In Korea, autumn is known to have clear cloudless sky (after the rainy summer season ends)
The subtle difference from the way it was before
This night that seems especially quiet 
The one leaf that is left hanging on the branch
It’s breaking, I can see the end, the drying up of the dead leaf
The silence in the heart that’s accepted it
Please don’t fall
Please don’t fall, the crumbling dead leaf.
떨어지다 – means to fall, but also means to become distant.  This line could also be “please don’t become distant.”

I want you that meets my eyes again
I want you who used to want me
Please don’t fall (OR: please don’t become distant)
Don’t try to collapse
Never, never fall
Don’t go far far away

Baby you girl, I don’t think I can let go
Baby you girl, I don’t think I can give up
Like these falling leaves
This love, like the falling leaves
Never, never fall
It’s continuing to wilt  

Just like all leaves eventually fall
Just like everything that seemed eternal eventually fall apart
You’re my fifth season
Even though I try to see you, I can’t.
See, you’re still green to me
“green” here means bright/fresh summer green – still fresh in his mind and not dying.
Feelings, without being gathered back, end up hanging
OR:   Feelings, even without walking, are able to walk
걷다 – to walk, to gather (like laundry)
걸어지다 – to be able to walk, to hang
Regrets, like laundry, end up being hung in pieces
Only crimson memories are rationed out on my dirty self
Even without shaking my branch, they keep falling
Yes.  My love, in order to rise, falls
I think possibly play on words, 오르다/옳다, which are similar sounding.  “Yes.  my love, in order to become right, falls”
Even when we’re close, my eyes are becoming blind, becoming distant
“Eyes becoming far away”, is a common expression for “becoming blind” in Korean.  The literal translation sounds like “Even when we’re close, my eyes are becoming far away, becoming distant”, which emphasizes the distance.
Being discarded like this
In the memories, I become young again.

Never, never fall yeah
Never, never fall yeah

I want you that meets my eyes again
I want you who used to want me
Please don’t fall
Don’t try to collapse
Never, never fall

Don’t go far far away

Why can’t I give up on you yet?
I hold onto the wilted memories
Is it greed?  I try to turn back the ending season
Try to turn back. 

It burns up red
It was all beautiful, on our path
But it’s wilted now
The autumn leaves are falling like tears
The wind is blowing, and everything is becoming distant, all day
The rain is pouring, breaking
Even the last leaf, you you you

I want you that meets my eyes again
I want you who used to want me
Please don’t fall 
Don’t try to collapse
Never, never fall

Don’t go far far away

Baby you girl, I don’t think I can let go
Baby you girl, I don’t think I can give up
Like these falling leaves
This love, like the falling leaves
Never, never fall
It’s continuing to wilt

Never, never fall
Never, never fall

5 thoughts on “BTS – Dead Leaves (English translation and Ramblings)

  1. Your comment about greater good just made me think about Grindelwald. I love how worlds collide in their songs..

  2. one of my fav song <3

    do u ever heard "you never know"- exo that use the same tone in their song? just wanna hear about ur opinion which one from "dead leaves" and "you never know" is better since both songs use the same tone.

    and i wonder if u read some theories about spring day that related to Sewol incident. when i read that article, it remind me of your rambles since the first time i read about the sewol ferry incident is from ur blog.

    1. Hmmm… I feel like that short music sample was modified a lot and only used very short time at the beginning in “Dead Leaves”, and then the song went in all kinds of unpredictable directions…..and I really LOVE the lyrics of “Dead Leaves” and the poetic gloomy feeling…….

      I’ve listened to “They Never Know” before, but it didn’t really seem similar despite using the same short sample tune. I’m not a music expert so I can’t really say which is better.

      I just like “Dead Leaves” a lot… I love BTS songs in general, and out of BTS songs, I generally like Suga’s music style the most… so asking me this question is probably not going to get you an objective answer. ^^

      As for Spring day, the teaser is short, so I don’t know. If it is about the Omelas story, it would be about the state of this world in general, in modern day, where we become accepting of the sufferings of others to maintain status quo, and at times even try to justify this – that this is not greed or selfishness, but reality of a non-fairy tale world. But there will always be some who are brave enough to not accept this, even if it leads them to unknown dangers.

      I don’t think BTS will specifically make it of a Sewol incident. But more of an overarching commentary of modern world. It is relevant to what is happening politically in US these days with the travel ban, and what is happening politically in Korea as people protest against the government, and I’m sure it is relevant to all societies in the world in some ways… as we all re-review exactly what is acceptable for “the greater good”… and is the “greater good” actually something that is good?

    2. Both songs are sampled from Deadroses by Blackbear (I believe BTS follows him on twitter and has put his songs in their spotify playlists before), although EXO uses it as the primary foundation of their song and BTS only really uses it to set the mood for a few seconds in the intro before changing things up (nothing wrong with either song or method, people use samples different ways and BTS has sampled other songs for a larger portion of their song before, like in MIC Drop. I personally prefer samples used with layering/extra music/edits added and the sample only used for a little while [the way it’s used in dead leaves] so that it’s more of an inspiration that leaves room for original content than the sample being used the whole duration of the song). I only knew about it because (although I think EXO’s song was released in 2016 and BTS’s in 2015) there was a huge fanwar about people thinking BTS plagarized EXO? MZMC, the guy who produced the song for EXO had to outright clarify that it was sampled, although I’m sure there are still a lot of people who aren’t aware of this. Even now, two years later, the comment section for dead leaves is mostly filled with BTS fans saying they like the song, while a lot of the comment section for They Never Know has a decent amount of hate towards BTS smh

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