BTS – Boy With Luv (English Translation and Ramblings)

Track 2 on the Map of the Soul: Persona album.

Written by: Pdogg, RM, Melanie Joy Fontana, Michel ‘Lindgren’ Schulz, Bang PD, Suga, Emily Weisband, J-Hope, Halsey

Boy With Luv/작은 것들을 위한 시, where the Korean title means “A poem for small things.”

 

 

Before I start, I’d like to ramble on a bit about the title of this song and the lyrics of the chorus.

The Korean title refers to “small things” and based on the lyrics of this song, as well as the next song “Mikrokosmos” I get the idea that we are the “small things” in this world.  BTS references themselves as small, as well as ARMYs and people who live their own daily lives with our own little universes.  As well, they reference “your (ARMY’s???)” habits, interests, etc as small things as well.   So a “Poem for Small Things” could be a poem for each ARMY, or even a poem to themselves.

 

 

When I heard this song I thought, “Oh, this sounds like RM wrote it.”  It was kind of interesting reading credits later to find him as one of the bigger contributors.

The lyrics sound like extension of the Love (사랑)–>Person (사람)—>Live (살아) narrative that RM has been exploring.  He talked about it as early as November 2016 V-live, then he incorporated it into his song “Love” in LYS:  Answer album, and he talks about it again during the Album review of LYS: Answer.   He also talks about the word “Love” in the LYS: Tear Album review around 24 minutes.  He says:

The words “Love” as well as “Dream”.. the words can come to have connotations added by society.   As the words pass from people’s mouths repeatedly over time, meanings are added and a specific tone or emotions get attached to the words.  The words “Dream” and “Love” are so worn.  Worn, but still used by many people and are still precious.  But also made to be too sacred, I think.”

I got the feeling that he wanted to get this word that is both too worn and too sacred to be not something so big and complicated…. but something as simple as the “boy” with that love – the basic human element.

Love is nothing stronger
Than a boy with luv

These lyrics felt like his take on his love/person musings over the years.  I liked that it was “boy” instead of a “man” or a “person” too, because it kind of gives the feeling that it need not be super mature and complicated.

The song makes me feel like this is the type of love BTS wants to have with ARMYs too.  Not so sacred or big or complicated, but simple.

 

This rambling is getting really long, but let me add a bit about “Boy in Luv.”

Of course, “Boy With Luv” is loosely connected to their song “Boy in Luv” that came out in 2014 (when they were all teenagers except Jin and Suga).   The Korean title for “Boy In Luv” is 상남자, which is a slang that roughly translates to highly manly men (the connotations are a bit different from macho men as it largely implies steadfast/sturdy reliable men who are masculine).

Korea often swings from one fad to another.  Around 2009, it was actually very trendy to be the 꽃미남/flower-pretty-boys.  And this trend reached a pinnacle with K-Drama adaptation of manga, “Boys Over Flowers.”  This trend soon swung the opposite direction with groups like “2PM” who were more 상남자/manly men.   I guess people got a bit tired of the over-saturation of pretty boys, and wanted something different.

Around the time that “Boy In Luv” came out in 2014, this fad for manly men was almost at its end.  The song is a totally awkward teenage angst song – a song that BTS would only have been able to do at that exact time in their career when most of the members were awkward teenagers.  It’s full of clichés from 인소/internet fiction (often written by teenagers) that were popular in Korea from end of 1990’s to mid 2000’s.  It’s intentionally full of things that teenagers often found cool, but cringy 5 years later.

When Produce 101 did a cover performance of “Boy in Luv”, a lot of Korean fans said they looked too cool and actually too manly.  They said the performance was really good but their interpretation of the song was incorrect – the song is not about actual manly men, but about awkward teenagers daydreaming about being manly men.  : )

And now the boys are all grown up and they’re “Boys with Luv” with love to give.

 


 

 

I’m curious about everything
How’s your day?
What makes you happy?
Oh, text me.

Your every picture
I want to put beside my pillow, oh bae
What is this, “Pied Piper” reversed ??!!!
Come be my teacher
Teach me everything about you
Your 1, your 2
ie.  your basics, 1, 2, 3….

Listen my my baby
I’m flying high on that sky
(With the two wings you gave me that time)
It’s too high up here now,
Likely extension of Suga’s poem in BTS Run Ep. 56 where he says:
“…We dreamed about flying high up in the sky
But it’s too high and cold…”
I want to focus on you with my eyes. 
Yeah you makin’ me a boy with luv

Regarding the line: I want to focus on you with my eyes
A simple translation of it would be:  I want to have our eyes meet.
Also, to “focus eyes on someone” when talking in Korea means to kind of get down to look at someone in the eyes to express support and sincerity.  Kind of what RM did with V in “Burn the Stage:  Ep 4
eyes

“Focusing” on “you” also kind of gives feeling like BTS is focusing (same words for focusing a camera) on the ARMYs and our roles are now reversed.

Oh my my my oh my my my
I’ve waited all my life
I want to share your everything
Oh my my my oh my my my
Looking for something right
I think I get it a little now.

 

I want something stronger
Than a moment, than a moment, love
I have waited longer
For a boy with
For a boy with luv

 

Ever since getting to know ya
My live is all full of you, ya  
You are a star that makes trivial things not so trivial
From one to ten, they’re all special
From your interests, the way you walk, the way you talk and even small habits.
I swear, it’s “Pied Piper” reversed.
Everyone says that the small me has become a hero (Oh nah)
Anpanman” reference?
I say that such things as destiny was never mine to begin with (Oh nah)
World Peace (No Way)
The Great order (No Way)
I’m just gonna protect you
(Boy with luv)

The word “지키다/protect” in Korean has meaning closer to “staying true/steadily support” (Eg. in a relationship or a promise) than to “physically protect” someone.  So the line is more like, I’m just gonna stay true/steady in support for you.
I think the line goes well with the chorus: I want something stronger/Than a moment since this line implies something steady and long-term.

 

Listen my my baby
I’m flying high on that sky
(With the two wings you gave me that time)
It’s too high up here now, 
I want to focus on you with my eyes. 
Yeah you makin’ me a boy with luv

 

Oh my my my oh my my my
You got me high so fast

I want to share your everything
Oh my my my oh my my my
You got me fly so fast

I think I get it a little now.

 

Love is nothing stronger
Than a boy with luv
Love is nothing stronger
Than a boy with luv

 

I’ll just be open and blunt
Without realizing, I was tense with trying too hard. 
The exact phrase is “I was tense” – which the phrase by itself means trying too hard and being tense.
There is a Korean phrase that says “having tension in shoulders” which means feeling as if you’re great/superior… which is probably why they translated this part as being “stuck up” in the MV.
Just reading the lyrics in Korean without the MV translation makes me think of them trying too hard… like in their old MV “Boy in Luv”.
The sky that had gotten so high
The halls that have gotten so big
Sometimes I prayed to let me run away
But your hurts are my hurts
I promised when I realized it.
With the wings of Icarus you gave me
Rather than to the sun, to you
Let me fly

 

Oh my my my oh my my my
I’ve waited all my life
I want to share your everything
Oh my my my oh my my my
Looking for something right
I think I get it a little now.

I want something stronger
Than a moment, than a moment, love
Love is nothing stronger
Than a boy with luv


 

I’ll try to read it over again and proofread it tomorrow.  It feels kinda too rambly but I need to sleep on it to be coherent. ^^

13 thoughts on “BTS – Boy With Luv (English Translation and Ramblings)

  1. love reading your ramblings, it always help me understanding bts lyrics and intentions… just wanna say thank u! hope you have a great day today

  2. Aww, it’s so nice to see that you’re back again, I missed you, haha :D
    Interesting as always, but what I really find interesting is the line “With the wings of Icarus you gave me”. I didn’t really realised it when I watched the MV. It kinda reminds me of their Skit from Her and Sea, how Suga talked about how compared to working hard and going up, falling down happens fast. It sounds like the worry about how long their success lasts (or the sun). So it’s cute that they rather want to fly to us and not burn themselves :D I’m not sure though, just think it’s interesting.

  3. I’m interested in your interpretation of “Boy In Luv” and wondered if you had thoughts on this. So both MV’s have a girl right? In BIL they are acting tough and rough and “strong” with her throughout most the video, but in BWL she’s a collaborator and a part of the fun, and they talk about the “strength” of love. I also see the hypermasculine themes in BIL juxtaposed to the soft, affectionate vibe of BWL (not to mention all-pink outfits). So even if this song is about ARMY, to me the imagery shows their growth as people and as men.
    Oh also liked your notes on 지키다 and the “I was tense” line. I appreciate seeing more meanings for words and phrases we wouldn’t realize!

    1. ah…I didn’t have my email put in for some reason so if anyone replies pls reply to this instead so I get notifies ^^

      1. I’m at work right now so just a quick response. Yes I totally think they are juxtaposing/contrasting how they have changed and in a way it’s ironic that being “soft” is actually a better demonstration of strength and confidence. There are some tropes in BIL that I had written about a few years ago. I don’t know if you read it but if you haven’t, I hope you find it interesting.
        https://muish.wordpress.com/2016/07/10/hitting-the-wall-animedrama-trope/

  4. I love reading your ramblings, it’s been something I’ve looked forward too since Not Today came out because you provide insight that I have so much trouble trying to find myself due to the lack of cultural understanding and the fact tht I just kinda suck at interpreting in general, thank you so much!!!

  5. I always very satisfied with your ramblings… I actually thing this song linda clingy at first… Because i am bilingual i cant understand english at first read. But reading this ramblings help me (so much) understanding what they want to convey.
    At first it just like…boyish love story, but turn out to be how they want to stay with Army and focus on us. And just the two of us,army and bts.

    It is very helpful thankyou so much!

  6. Not knowing the language, yet understanding the flow of song is one thing.. it’s something else when I have the insight of what the song mean and then following the flow of the song. Adorable 💜💜💜

    Thank you for providing such insights. 💜

  7. This was really enlightening. Your interpretations never fail to live up to my expectations. Thank you so much for this, and every other post you’ve made 💜

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