Airplane, Pt. 2

Love Yourself: Tear by BTS

2018, 1 track, 3 mins 38 sec

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The interesting aspect of K Pop is how varied musical styles can be within the same few albums. This style in particular definitely sounds like an R&B Pop vibe from the aughts; almost a Timbaland Timberlake collaboration, which dates the material slightly, yet would sound nostalgic to fans of that era. In “Airplane, Pt. 2”, a sound effect of an airplane landing sets the tone of life as a singing superstar, always traveling from airport to airport, because of the demand of tour. The artists here talk about this lifestyle, of going from location to location, always with singing and melody in mind, and how this is a continual aspect of their psyche. At one point, the chorus states “el mariachi” 4 times in the hook, and in this way, the boys mean to express that their job is to travel the land singing stories. They talk about this feeling being better than the feeling that other people with normal professions feel. They speak about being not just in the clouds, but above them. In the Korean to English translation, J-Hope sings “the fun of riding clouds, fade in looking at the clouds, you don’t know maybe.” Interesting here is that J-Hope is boastful about his place in the world – instead of boasting about money and power, he boasts about the talent that hard work produced, and how even the fan listener would not maybe not know what it feels like at his vantage point. This is the subtext, but even on the surface, he is talking in a material fashion about how his, and by extension, the band’s preferred mode of transportation is flying first class. ‘You’ wouldn’t understand. In the lyrics, J-Hope sings “thanks to years of flying, I’ve got a few hundred thousand miles”, but he keeps it all friendly and romantic by adding, “it’s time to console you who couldn’t make it, I’ll give you the flight points as a present.” In this way, the band gets to ‘flex’ without being gratuitous, as artists tend to be in the American market. Besides, BTS is, at the moment, the greatest boy band in existence, so it is refreshing to hear that even when they brag, they brag in a polite way. In an era over-saturated with ‘me-first’ lyrics and outlandish claims of power and wealth, the fact that BTS actually do fly around the world as much as they do, plus the fact that they remain somewhat humble about their blessings, is very refreshing to hear.

Written by @taylor

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