BTS – Outro: Tear (English Translation and Ramblings)

 

Track 11 of the Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’ album.

Written by:  Shin Myungsoo, DOCSKIM, Suga, RM, J-Hope

 

In early works of BTS,  the songs in an album felt like…. collection of interesting short stories in a book.  But now the songs of their albums feel more like chapters in a long novel (or even novel series), bound in a more cohesive way to each other.

Love Yourself:  HER is like that….  There’s a progression of ideas and moods as you listen to the album from beginning to end.  I especially liked the seemingly bright and idealistic feel (with subtle discordant feeling underneath) of the songs at the beginning of the album…that gets more and more dark and double-edged in meaning as the album progresses.

Love Yourself: TEAR is even more cohesive.  The songs start off dark and pessimistic but progressively get brighter this time, only to surprise with the darkness of the Outro: Tear.   The lyrics seem slightly repetitive when you read all the songs together as there are some overlap of the same ideas in multiple songs.  But I guess that’s what you’re supposed to do during what would pass as the “climax” of such a long series – you hammer in the point with varied ways you can explore the main topic of the series.

Can’t wait for the next album in the series.  ^^


There are some words that I wanted to ramble on further about.. which are in this purple color to make them easier to see (I hope).


 

Farewell is my tear
Without my knowing, it blooms on the corner of my eyes
The words we could not say in the end, stream down
And regrets crawl on my face.
이별 is not quite farewell.. there is no exact word in English.  I guess it’s more like “parting” or “time to part”..
There is no exact word for 미련/regrets either.  It’s kind of like…residual love/need that makes it hard to let go.
Farewell/time to part is like a tear, in that it creeps up on you without knowing, like tears welling up in your eyes.
The words that could not be said, are also like tears, because they used words for “stream/flow down” that is used to express tears streaming down.
And..regrets are also like tears, as they crawl on the face.
Without actually saying the words “tear” except once in the first line, this section really re-enforces the imagery of tears.
At one time, you were my dear
But now just bitter beer. 
The heart that is stained with belated self-loathing
Empties with even just that wind that passes by.
비어 = sounds like “beer” and means:  “empties” or “becomes cut.”
The heart that is stained with belated self-loathing 
Gets cuts from even just that wind that passes by.
The very cold winds in Korea are expressed as the “winds that are so cold, it feels like it’s cutting the skin.”   So the words “gets cut” makes the lines feel like his heart is feeling really cold and frozen.  Also, “getting cuts” ties in with the idea of “tearing” something.
The wind is “just” passing by, but can still cut his heart because the “heart that is stained with belated self-loathing” is more fragile to even careless injuries.
The last line ends with the word “비어” since the word order in Korean is very different from English. 비어  sounds the same as “beer” in Korean, making it rhyme with the previous lines.
The farewell came at the end of my play that had only lies
It’s the price I have to pay
If someone could turn back time
Perhaps, could I have been more honest?
…let me not speculate about the time leap theory since my blog is not a theory blog…
My plain face that only I know about
My long-time friends inside me that are ugly and pathetic
This is reminiscent of his song “Reflection” in “Wings” album.   Where he calls “fear” his friend that comes and takes his hand.
With the smile on your face that you had when you looked at me,
Could you have still loved me like that again?
Please stop talking about forever, forever
The truth is, there is an end
If there is a beginning…
I don’t wanna listen to that
Too many truths, too many comforting words…
I don’t wanna listen to that
I was just really afraid,
Because it seemed like it could be that there were no moments when I loved you
Belatedly that you were sincere
That you were the only one who loved me
More
The line “That you were the only one who loved me” here implies, “That you were the only one who loved between the two of us“, within the couple….not that he/she was the only one who loved among many potential partners/people.
The song is very kind of guilt-ridden type of a song.  In the song, it’s more scary to think that the other person had actually loved sincerely, when you start to doubt the sincerity of your own love.

You’re my tear
You’re my You’re my tear
You’re my tear
You’re my You’re my tear
You’re my tear
You’re my You’re my tear
What more can I say?
You’re my tear

 

We had walked towards same destination
But this place will now be our end
We had spoken of forever
But now we break each other without mercy
We had thought we had the same dreams
But now that dream is just a dream
My heart is tearing, please burn me up instead
So that I would not have any pain nor regrets remaining

 

Updated w notes from comments – thanks to neemayo and Alina!
You’re my tear
You’re my You’re my tear
sounds like “tear as in crying”
You’re my tear
You’re my You’re my tear
sounds like “tear as in ripping”
You’re my fear
You’re my You’re my fear
What more can I say?
You’re my…
Did  you notice that words for “tear” has been changed to “fear” at the end…? I only noticed while I was translating…

UPDATE:
RM mentioned these different versions on his V-Live review of the album on May 28, 2018 (starting at 45 min)
The word “tear” is interesting.  If you pronunce it “teer”, it’s tear from the eyes, but if you say “tair”, it’s to rip.  So for us, which does “tear” signify to each of us? For me it’s “tears from eyes”..and for Yoongi hyung, it was “ripping”, and for Hoseokie, it’s fear of each of those moments…so for him, it’s “fear”. 

 

Farewell, to me, is TEAR
Because tears are just a luxury
“(something) is a luxury to you” is an expression commonly used in Korea to mean “you don’t deserve it”.  So he doesn’t deserve to even cry and shed tears – and implies he’s actually at fault.
There is no such thing as a beautiful farewell,
So please start now
Woo take it easy,  cut out the heart slowly
Yes yes,  Over the cut pieces,  step on them
Regrets, regrets, so that I would not have any such remaining
Tear into pieces and burn my heart to a crisp

I must say the biggest reason I’m translating this song is my need to geek out over Suga’s choice of words for “step on.”
The terms he used for “step on” is an old Korean word and is not used in normal speech in modern-day.  Most Koreans are very familiar with it though, as it appears in the very well-known poem, “Azaleas” by Kim Sowol.

You can read extended meaning of this poem here, and geek out with me too.

The Korean Azaleas grow wild, often as the first flowers to bloom in spring.  They’re edible too, so kids pick them and eat them.   They’re also baby pink, not the darker reddish pink that Westerners are often familiar with.

To “step on” the azaleas in this poem gives the impression of stepping on all the purity, innocence and happiness… an act of cruelty and indifference.   The poem gives feeling of careless cruelty where the person who left doesn’t even care enough to have hate.

(EDIT:  The feeling of resignation to cruel indifference with a touch of bitterness is a sentiment that is actually found commonly in Korean songs, especially older Korean songs.  I don’t find this sentiment very often in Western songs so I always find it interesting)

azeleas

Right, it’s there, what are you hesitating for?
This is the end you wanted
I hope you kill quickly without hesitation
Woo yeah yeah burn it
Woo yeah yeah yeah burn it
Woo yeah yeah yeah burn it
So that not even ashes are left. 

This is the real you and this is the real me
We’ve now seen the end and there are not even resentments left
Awake now from sweet dreams, I close my eyes
This is the real you and this is the real me

 

We had walked towards same destination
But this place will now be our end
We had spoken of forever
But now we break each other without mercy
We had thought we had the same dreams
But now that dream is just a dream
My heart is tearing, please burn me up instead
So that I would not have any pain nor regrets remaining

 

You’re my tear
You’re my You’re my tear
You’re my tear
You’re my You’re my tear
You’re my fear
You’re my You’re my fear
What more can I say?
You’re my…

 

What words need to be said
We know
The right answer is set
But answering is always difficult

 

The reason for the flowing (losing it??)
The reason for tearing
I no longer need to know
흘리다 – means to flow, again as the tear imagery without actually saying tear.
However, the line seems to imply the person is doing the 흘리다/flowing.  When applied to a person, this verb usually means to lose things/leave things behind, as if they’re inconsequential.
“the reason for tearing” uses the Korean word for “ripping”, and most Koreans who don’t speak English probably won’t know that it’s wordplay for tear (as eyes water)/tear(as in rip something)….
Farewell to me are just those moments (Flashback)
The moment that your mouth speaks the word
The moment that our focus becomes irregular
At the moment when everything is dangerous
Our end that was given to us by the two characters.
The two characters probably mean  티어 which is Korean way of writing tear phonetically.
I’m not going to cry, I’m not going to tear (used the word for ripping here)
I can’t say these words
These lines do not actually say the word “tear” anywhere but heavily implies “tear” in both its meanings.
In future, I also have the terminal illness of farewell.
You’re my beginning and end, that is all
This part reminds me of Outro: Her lyrics (Suga part).  Except in “Her”, he says “I’m your…(two contrasting things)” but here, it’s “You’re my…(two contrasting thing)”.
You were my everything, go in front, fear
It will repeat because of you
Tear.
Tear…
And…they pronounce it the ripping version of tear in the end… so will repeatedly be torn…

33 thoughts on “BTS – Outro: Tear (English Translation and Ramblings)

  1. so this is SO, so so belated, hahaha. but as I just noticed it and I know you like to be accurate:

    “You were my everything, go in front, fear
    It will repeat because of you
    Tear.
    Tear…

    And…they pronounce it the ripping version of tear in the end… so will repeatedly be torn…”

    Hoseok actually pronounces it both ways here. that first time is tear as in ripping, like you said; the final time in the song is tear as in crying. so he says all three main words in the last stanza: fear, “tair,” “teer.”

    LOVE YOUR WORK!!! I am a HUGE fan! thank you for providing the most in-depth translations on the web.

  2. OMG. Thank you so much for this. This song speaks to me in many different ways, and it’s helping me a lot at the moment, your translation and interpretation was a blessing. Before reading this I always thought of Suga as the poet rapper, I see that I’m not the only one and was not far from what you describe here. Thank you! I’m a native spanish speaker, fluent in english but I’m desperate to learn Korean for BTS songs.

  3. I read the poem translation/meaning you linked and that was fascinating! I wish I could hear the poem being read/see it romanised (I can make make out parts of hangul but my translation skills areeent that great lol) Alas youtube is deserted. Do you know of any other pieces of Korean literature that are explained as well as that one was? Thank you and I have to say you are terrific at explaining the meaning the meaning of seemingly untranslatable words!

  4. Thank you so much for these translations! I always look forward to your translations every time they release an album. Even though I’m starting to learn Korean myself, even if I were to be more proficient at it I still wouldn’t fully grasp all their cultural references as someone who doesn’t live in Korea. I was very interested about your explanation about how Koreans use the phrase “a luxury for me” and how it’s different from the English connotation, and it reminds me of when RM and V were on an episode of Hello Counselor and there was this one girl who said that men/dating was a luxury for her and she wanted to pursue rapping instead. As an English speaker I thought this meant she felt dating was unnecessary until she achieved her dream, but now I’m wondering if she meant that she or someone else wasn’t deserving of it like in this song? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGBsNMi-yOs She says it at 24 minutes)

    1. I find Luxury in English is a positive thing – something really nice that everyone wants.

      This specific word for luxury in Korean has negative connotations. It’s something that the person doesn’t deserve/out of reach… with a feeling of frivolity/wastefulness mixed into it. Something really not affordable, and it would be foolish to try to get this from a practical point of view.

      The English word luxury feels like it’s something good, that even if you strain your resources to get it, the luxury thing is nice enough to make up for it and it’s enjoyable. While the Korean word is something that’s not realistically a good thing to strive for.

  5. Hey Miss Muish. So, the rap line just posted a song for the festa called 뗑. I wanted to request you to translate it and add your thoughts and explain the cultural references in the song better. Take your time , you don’t really have to unless you want to but I really wanted your take on this song.
    Thank you. :)

  6. Your very interesting notes on Suga’s choice of words for “step on” made me wonder – could this be somewhat similar to the word “trample”? I assume it can’t be exactly the same, but based on your explanation it seems to be used in a similar way when treating someone with cruelty and indifference, for example “you trampled on my feelings.”

    Thank you so much for this and all your helpful translations and notes!

    1. It’s similar as “trample on someone’s feeling” type of a feel…but perhaps even a bit more cold/indifferent? Like, trampling actually requires effort. The step on is like, just tread/step on, uncaring of whether the petals are getting crushed, as you walk out…. just as damaging as trampling but even more cruel in that it’s done out of indifference. But the word actually does imply damage/crushing slightly, so it’s not just simply walking either. It’s like crushing quietly while stepping on with indifference….. A very simple word that has a lot of feeling/meaning subtly infused inside it.

      1. Ah, I see; very interesting how it has that nuance within it. It seems like this indifference is not just about lacking consideration for the feelings of the one being stepped on, but also apathy toward the act itself. Thank you for explaining!

        1. I loved this translation and musing, firstly. Thank you for that!

          Looking at these comments, about the emotional weight implied by the use of the “step on” verb… I’m a little confused.

          In the lyrics he sings, Suga seems to, first, take blame for the parting–indicated by how tears “are a luxury” for him. But, everything else he says feels very bitter and hurt, in tone.

          (Note: I’m using X to stand in for whomever Suga is talking to with his lyrics, be it his masked self, a girl, a guy, whatever.)

          He’s encouraging X to cut out his heart slowly, and cut it into lots of little pieces. “Take your time. Don’t rush it. You really want to savor this, I know,” seems to be the tone. As if that weren’t enough, he invites X to step on the pieces of his ruined heart without a care, the way someone might step on an ant, just because they can.

          And, heaping onto it, he says this openly accusatory phrase, “This is the ending you wanted.” He almost taunts X, “What are you waiting for? Do it!” He then tells X to kill without hesitation, to burn up whatever’s left of his heart, so he can be done with it, so he can stop suffering.

          Guilt for having made poor choices in a relationship that brought it to an end doesn’t often mix with the bitter tone of saying something like, “Just hurt me as much as you can, because that’s what you wanted. Kill me, so I won’t feel this way, anymore.”

          So, I’m kinda confused about how he’s taking the blame for the break-up, but goes on to express himself in the fashion of someone who feels very wronged.

          P.S.
          Please, delete the other comment? I made some typos and wanted to fix them, and also to revise some of what I said. I wish I could edit my comments. >.<

          1. I think translating it into English makes it more angry/bitter, while in Korean it’s more resigned/wanting the hurt to get bad enough so he can face it is really over and move on.

            It’s like… X is already indifferent and things are already over. “Take your time. Don’t rush it” about cutting out his heart is not really so the X can savor it, but more like, “Be careful and do it slowly.”

            If it wasn’t so metaphorical…. mmm.. in English, it’s NOT, ” Hurt me more, I know you enjoy it.” It’s more like, “Could I bother you to hurt me more so I can move on. I know you don’t even want to bother, but let’s really make this relationship completely dead so neither one of us look back.”

  7. May i ask the word ‘old’ in ‘My old friends inside me that are ugly and pathetic’ meaning? Did namjoon abandon his ugly ‘dark side’? They aren’t ‘friend’ anymore?

    1. They mean “long-time friends”… probably the dark side/fear, etc that were with him for a long time. (the specific word doesn’t mean ex-friends/friends from long time ago that are no longer friends)

      EDITED on the post to make it more clear…

  8. thank you so much for this!! you truly are a blessing to ARMYs! can i ask what your fav song in the album is? and what do you think of suga’s somewhat change of style in rapping for this album? esp for the outro?

    1. :) The album sounds different to me every time I listen to it so I haven’t been able to pick a favorite song yet. It keeps changing. Right now, I think the Outro: Tear is my favorite but it’s already changed like 5 times.

      I terms of styles, the song sounds more bleak than angry…which something I really like about Kpop. I find a lot of Kpop songs (not necessarily idol kpop but if you look at the whole genre including ballads and older songs), some of the most beloved songs have kind of resigned/bleak feeling, which I can’t remember if I’ve encountered in American pop music all that often.

  9. This was such an enlightening read so thank you very much for that! I’ve enjoyed reading all your BTS songs interpretations. Although this song can be interpretated as a love song, I read this one youtube comment that really changed the perspective a lot for me. Here is the exact comment: “this song is NOT a love song, it is a song about self hatred and destruction. They wrote it in the perspective of their masked selves talking to their real bare-faced selves. In Namjoon’s verse, he talked about how his real self loved his masked self more and his masked self probably never loved his real self since the start, Which is why “sometimes it seems like I never loved you at all.” You can clearly see he’s conversing with himself through “The ugly and shabby old friends inside me could you love me again like you did.” He wants to part with himself and he doesn’t want “forever,” he loathes his bare self and wants it to disappear. The chorus “You’re my tear” later turns into “you’re my fear,” it is them expressing their hatred and fear of their real selves. They can get rid of neither their real or fake sides, therefore they “destroy each other mercilessly.” They kept saying “parting” because both sides of themselves wants to part badly. It is a really deep song, it’ll be a waste to see it as a normal love song.” Having read this, it made kinda sense to me, how the lyrics sounded like an inner dialogue between two people, but more so, it felt like conversing with yourself, or for them, it’s conversing with themselves. This song is so revealing but at the same time, a song that masks their inner conflict despite the hesitant honesty. I don’t know how to articulate my thoughts but I hope you understand my sentiments.

    1. that’s really interesting! I kind of hope that’s true. I’ve been impressed recently with BTS’s ability to write “love” songs that I can actually relate to (because romantic love doesn’t do it for me usually) but I’m more impressed with songs that can be interpreted as being so deeply introspective and so real. love it

    2. Reading your comment have changed my impression and interpretation of the song completely! And this interpretation wholly tied with Namjoon’s UN speech of self-acceptance despite ones many many mistakes and flaws. Goodness!!!!!!

  10. Wow! I am tearing up! You are the best Bangtan’s translated lyrics ever exists! It really feels different reading your translations and others translations. I am learning Korean myself so it really helps to know some wordplays Bangtan always have! Thank you!

  11. you said Yoongi’s word for “step on” implies “stepping on all the purity, innocence and happiness” because of the poem. Does this mean in his verse he is blaming the other person rather than feeling guilty like Joon’s verse? Seems like he feels his own heart was “pure” or “happy” and the other person would be the cruel one. That’s just a guess, but in past rap-heavy songs I notice Joon and Yoongi’s verses often show opposite perspectives so I thought it could be possible.

    1. You are right that sometimes they offer opposite povs, but here it’s more them offering a different pov, than an opposite one. Suga is not blaming the person, but he desperately asking, instead, for them to cruelly crush his heart so that it’d be easier to part ways and he wouldn’t have regrets burdening him, besides the heartbreak he already feels.

      The heart can be seen as a strong thing in many stories, but when given to somebody else, and especially in scenarios where the bond between two or more people is breaking, the heart is often seen as fragile, sometimes as innocent and untouched, hence the comparison with the flower. He’s vulnerable, like his heart, but he needs that person to step on it and destroy it.

      He’s asking for mercy in a desperate, self-destructive way, basically, whereas RM is the picture of the regret Suga fears in his verse.

      1. Thank you for the very eloquent reply. :) Yeah… I feel like it’s not that one person is good or bad or the only one at fault. Its sounds more like he’s self feeling guilty, self-deprecating and just resigned…..

      2. “He’s asking for mercy in a desperate, self-destructive way” I see I see. I had thought the “step on” my heart bit was meant to be sarcastic, but if he means to really ask them to step on it (like so he won’t feel the pain anymore or won’t have to blame himself?), that makes a lot of sense. Thanks for your reply~

  12. I would like to add for those that didn’t notice, beginning from the second chorus, it seems like RM is saying “You’re my tear” (tear as in crying) while Suga says “You’re my tear” (tear as in ripping).

    1. Ohh. cool. I’m at work right now so I can’t check it right now… can’t wait to have another listen at home…

    2. Yep!
      Basically you have:
      RM: Tear ( as in crying)
      Suga: Tear (as in ripping)
      Jhope: Fear

      It’s a very interesting climax that works very well to deliver the message, but as with all BTS songs, one needs to listen carefully to catch it.
      You go from crying because of the conflicts found both in the relationship and inside oneself, to the relationship/yourself/your heart ripping to pieces, to the consequent fear of seeing everything be destroyed.

  13. Oh so that was what the ripping sound was! Thank you so much for your explanation. You always help give even more context to the lyrical genius of BTS.

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