BTS – Intro: Persona (English Translation and Ramblings)

Track 01 on Map of the Soul:  Persona Album.

Written by: Hiss noise, RM, Pdogg 작곡 Hiss noise, RM, Pdogg

I feel like there’s gonna be a lot more meaning and interpretation based on the Carl Jung book, but I’m not knowledgeable in that aspect.  So I will leave those out.  I figured there must be lots of other people who are doing them.

 


Who am I? The question I’ve asked all my life?
The question that I’ll probably never find the answer during my whole life
If I could answer about myself with just a few words
The god would not have made such countless beautiful things
How you feel?  How are you feeling now?
Honestly, I’m really good but a little uncomfortable
I not even certain yet whether I’m a dog or a pig or whatever
But others are putting a pearl necklace on me
Ptui!

The last 3 lines have a bit of implied meaning to them.

“Dog or pig” is a common phrase used in Korea to describe the “brainless masses”.
He uses the words kind of literally, to imply he’d at least like to decide on his own whether he’s a “dog or a pig”.  It’s kind of a resigned, “sure, call me one of the brainless masses but let me at least decide if I wanna be a dog or a pig.  Even I don’t know myself well enough to decide yet”

But the next line implies that people have made this decision or assumption for him in his identity.  The line refers to a common saying, “pearl necklace on a pig” – thus the others have decided he’s the “pig.”  There is no real meaning about being a pig vs. dog but RM just uses it to demonstrate that whatever labels there are, it’s not something he’s decided on himself.

“Pear necklace on a pig” means something of great value that is wasted on a person who cannot appreciate/be made greater by that thing of value.  As well, the person may not have had a say in having that thing of value.  The thing of great value here would be a “label” – possibly even a prestigious label that BTS suffers from as media, politicians and public simplify who they are and label them.  The “others” are putting this “pearl necklace/label” on them – and I think the imagery of necklace on an animal is significant here as well since that unwanted necklace to the animal will be like a leash.

Ptui!–> This line… uh.. the literal line 칵 퉤 is more like:  (sound effect of hoarking up sputum) + Ptui!
Historically, humans have done things from throwing stones to spitting to show disdain.  This is no longer done in modern world.  But you’d see this kind of sound effects of spitting in comic books as characters show disdain.  And in the modern internet world, writing a simple “칵 퉤” in comments of a post is like saying, “I see what you’re doing and you don’t even deserve a wordy rebuttal but I will show my disdain by spitting.”

 

I smile more often than before. 
The superhero I wanted to be
I feel like I really became one now
But there’s more blabbing as time passes
Some tell me to run, some tell me to stop
One tells me to look at the forest
from saying “can’t see the forest for the trees.” –> Look at the big picture instead of obsessing over details.
Another tells me to look at the wild flowers on a field. 
I think it’s like telling him to stop and smell the roses.
It’s interesting because forest =/= field, and one line is telling him to not look at the individual plant while the other line is telling him to look at the individual plant.  Both are possibly good advice but such opposites.
My shadow, I called him “hesitation.”
Since he became that, I have never hesitated
Under the stage, or under the spotlights, he keeps appearing
and levels scorching glare at me like haze over hot ground (oh shit)
Hey, did you forget why you started doing this already?
You were just happy that there were people listening to you
Sometimes it all seems like complete nonsense
You know the thing that comes out when you’re drunk…  like immaturity.
This part is a bit of play on words.
치기/chi-gi means immaturity.   Which sounds similar to 취기/chwi-gi, meaning drunkenness. When you’re drunk you get both. 
Who am I to do music?
(kind of like, who am I to deserve to do something like music?)
Who am I to have truth?
Who am I to have a calling?
Who am I to have a muse?
My flaws that I know of,
Perhaps that’s all of me.
The world is not interested in my inexperience.
The regrets of which I’m now beyond getting sick
I now disgustingly roll with them every night
“To disgustingly roll with” someone is common expression used to have sex with someone without affection.  So the line is like “getting intimate without wanting to” with his regrets that are so stuck on him that he’s beyond even getting sick of them.
The times that I can’t turn back, even if I twist them like habit
The twisting of the time may be literal like time warping I guess…. I wouldn’t put it past BigHit with all their theories.
The word “비틀다/twist” is also commonly used to also mean things like twisting things negatively or being very pessimistic and cynical.  So the “times” are the times in the past that he can’t turn back, which he twist in his mind in negative ways repeatedly like habit.
Every time, the thing that helped me up again, the first question
My name, and the word that must come in front of it, But

So I’m askin’ once again yeah
Who the hell am I?
Tell me all your names baby
Do you wanna die?
Oh do you wanna go?
Do you wanna fly?
Where’s your soul? where’s your dream?
Do you think you’re alive?

My name is R
The me that I remember and others know of
The me that I made myself, to express myself.
Yeah, I might have deceived myself, might have lied to myself
But I’m not ashamed, this is my map of the soul.
Dear myself, never lose your own temperature
you don’t need to be warm or cold
Occasionally hypocritical, or pretending to be evil
This line, translated literally is: Occasionally pretending to be good, or pretending to be evil.
This is the measurement of my direction that I want to hang up
The me that I want to become
The me that people want
The me that I love
And the me that I give shape to
The me that’s laughing
The me that’s sometimes crying
Breathing every moment and minute even now,
Persona

“Persona” sounds like “Person + na” where na=me.
So it sounds like, Person, me!

Persona
Who the hell am I
I just wanna go I just wanna fly
I just wanna give you all the voices till I die
I just wanna give you all the shoulders when you cry

Persona
Who the hell am I
I just wanna go I just wanna fly
I just wanna give you all the voices till I die
I just wanna give you all the shoulders when you cry

 

4 thoughts on “BTS – Intro: Persona (English Translation and Ramblings)

  1. Genuinely, your interpretations are life savers! I get very frustrated when I can’t find good translations and you explain every little detail so clearly, I love it so much. Thank you so much.
    The Person-na pun and immaturity/drunkenness and wildflower/ forest. Thank you so much for them. This makes it so much more clear. Please keep writing!

  2. I appreciate the explanations of 치기/취기 and 비틀다! I couldn’t understand why he suddenly said “immaturity” so thought I must be missing something ^^

  3. The person-na find is genius! I hadn’t even thought of it that way. I really, really adore your interpretations because they’re put so neatly and voiced so easily. Thank you so much! Looking forward to your other interpretations!!

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