BTS – Singularity (English Translation and Ramblings)

 

Track 01 on Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’ album.

 

Korean lyrics from Naver Music.

Written by:  Charlie J. Perry, RM

The lyrics on the MV is quite good.  :)

I want to note that my ramblings are just trying to give explanation of the subtle moods you get in the choice of words they use in Korean.  Please don’t take these various feelings too literally.. as I always felt that BTS likes being ambiguous and open to interpretation.

I’m really tired right now so I might not make much sense – will try to clean it up later.


 

Sound of something breaking
The “breaking” here refers to things like glass… and gives feeling of sharp/loud discordant sound.  For example, you usually wouldn’t use this word for “breaking/깨지다” for things made of wood.
Can it be sound of ice breaking?  Hmmm..  Kind of.  It’s used to say ice is breaking, but usually ice breaking sound doesn’t use this term.
This “breaking” is also used to describe the pain of headaches – eg. I feel like my head is breaking open.
Also is used as slang for mentality breaking.  Not necessarily into a mental condition/depression, but more like, being shocked or stressed until you no longer feel strong.
Also used to describe voice breaking.
So what is breaking?  Is it his mental strength?  His voice (like glass breaking sound)? Something external to him?  The ice?
I suddenly wake up from sleep
The sound full of unfamiliarity
Is this something external to him? Or is his voice unfamiliar to him?
I try to cover my ears but I can’t fall asleep.

My throat keeps hurting
I try to keep it covered
The word for “covered” used here is usually used to keep “covered in my arms/hands” rather than with clothing.  That is, it gives feeling of protection… and is also sometimes used to mean covering up faults (often by parents who try this to over-protect their children who may be doing something bad).
I have no voice
Again today, I hear that sound.

Again, that sound is resonating.
OR:  Again, that sound is making (me) cry.
울리다 – to make someone cry, or to resonate.
There is again a crack in this frozen lake. 
I had dumped myself in that lake
This word for dumped means to “dump garbage” as well as “break up with”, just like in English.
Buried my voice for you.
Is the sound coming from himself under the ice?

On the winter lake where I was dumped
A thick layer of ice has frozen.
In the dream that I briefly went into
The phantom pain that tortures me is still ongoing

Have I lost myself?
Or have I gained you?
I suddenly run to the lake
Inside it, is my face.
I guess the face of himself that got dumped and frozen under the ice?  Or his reflection?

Please don’t say a word
I try to reach out my hand to cover the mouth
Cover the mouth of himself under the ice? To keep him silenced?
In the end, someday, spring comes
And ice melts and flows away
What’s strange about these lines is that these two lines sound resigned as much as hopeful.  It’s like, “In the end, it will happen anyway…” kind of feeling.   It’s a  cross between feeling hopeful that spring will come, as well as being resigned to this eventuality (of possibly himself that is buried and silenced under the ice being no longer silenced…????)

 

Tell me, if my voice is fake
They translated this as “not real” in the MV, but the more literal translation would be “fake”..
Should I not have thrown myself away
They actually use the same “dump” word.  Should I not have dumped myself?
Tell me if even this pain is fake
reference back to the phantom pain
What should have I done back then?

 


I know it’s all metaphor and ambiguous…but this song is kind of creepy in its melancholic way…

 

6 thoughts on “BTS – Singularity (English Translation and Ramblings)

  1. Now that we know for sure that Jin is traveling through time and space, in the BU, we know that he is probably passing through a wormhole singularity and that is where the sound is coming from. In the webtoon, its like glass shattering. We also know that all the other members are getting dreams or clues so that they’re becoming aware of multiple dimensions. And after Magic Shoppe and the extension to Fake Love when we see all the members robed and masked … its apparent that everyone is having the same experience. In the rest of the song, Tae is questioning what he’s done to his father, how that will put him behind bars and … why did he throw himself away.

  2. Wow, “breaking” (Korean one) in Russian also has some similar connotations. We use it for hazelnuts, ice, head(ache), wood, for lightning during thunderstorms, and relationships on state level)
    RM is poetry-god

  3. I agree with you, that this song is very… melancholic-ly creepy. I always wondered why Stigma is the only solo song that doesn’t make sense in a way that it doesn’t seem to directly relate to his experience (or does it?), making it creepy, because, what kind of thing that he actually experienced to have that kind of song?

    And Singularity proves it even more. His growth as an artist aside, there’s something chilling everytime I see Taehyung nowadays. If I concentrate to the way the song sounds, it is very romantic and soft, but combined with the lyrics and visual, it creates a very mixed feeling. I’m afraid for him. I know it is just a song, it can be interpreted in any ways possible, but I can’t shake the feeling that something feels off.

    I’m sorry I end up rambling too ^^;
    I always enjoy your writing, and always looking forward to your writings because yeah, bts uses a lot of interesting words that gets lost in translation. Thank you for writing!

    1. BTS is so flexible with how direct they want to be…sometimes they’re so in-your-face and matter-of-fact, and other times, they’re all imagery and ambiguity and living in their fictional BU world (which may be a world of imagery representing real world).^^;;; It makes translating fun for me anyway..

      As for Taehyung, I wouldn’t really worry too much. But I’m sure he’s felt all the hardship that all the other members went through. He always seems so sweet and doesn’t seem like he could hurt a fly…so if he needs to get the darker energy inside of him out through his songs, good for him. :)

    2. Taehyung usually represents the “evil” in BTS’ music videos. In INU, he was the one that committed murder. In BST, he was the fallen angel with his wings cut off (Lucifer) and the one that introduced Jin (Sinclair) to evil. In Fake Love, we see Taehyung standing underneath the ground that Jungkook’s on, as if he’s in Hell. Maybe this is just a concept. The mood I got from Stigma was guilt. He’s guilty that he can’t spend time with his family or friends because of his busy schedule. He can’t interact with fans the way he used to because of BTS’ busy lifestyle. I didn’t really get disconcerting vibes from Stigma, but that’s just me.

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