Intro: Persona

 

Produced by Hiss noise
Written by Hiss noise, RM, Pdogg

Spotify | Apple Music

This track samples Intro: Skool Love Affair.

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나는 누구인가 평생 물어온 질문
“Who am I,” a question that I’ve been asking myself for my whole life

아마 평생 정답은 찾지 못할 그 질문
A question that I will probably never be able to find the right answer for

나란 놈을 고작 말 몇 개로 답할 수 있었다면
If I were answerable with only a few words, 

신께서 그 수많은 아름다움을 다 만드시진 않았겠지
God wouldn’t have created all those various beauties
Beauties = different “I”s, different personas

How you feel? 지금 기분이 어때
How you feel? How are you feeling right now?

사실 난 너무 좋아 근데 조금 불편해
Actually, I’m really good, but it’s a little uncomfortable 

나는 내가 개인지 돼진지 뭔지도 아직 잘 모르겠는데
I’m still not sure if I’m a dog, a pig, or whatever,
As explained in Am I Wrong translation, “a dog or a pig” is used in a sarcastic manner since it is a term used to belittle the general public.

남들이 와서 진주 목걸일 거네 칵 퉤
but then others come and put a pearl necklace on me, ptui!
Reference: “casting pearls before swine.”
RM doesn’t know what he is and then others come and put a pearl necklace on him (who could be “a pig”) and treat him as someone pearl-worthy, making him uncomfortable.

 

예전보단 자주 웃어
At least I laugh more than before

소원했던 superhero
A superhero that I wished to be,

이젠 진짜 된 것 같어
now it feels like I really became one

근데 갈수록 뭔 말들이 많어
But why is there more and more blabbering 

누군 달리라고 누군 멈춰서라 해
One says “run,” and another says “stop”

얘는 숲을 보라고 걔는 들꽃을 보라 해
This one says “look at the forest,” and that one says “look at the wildflower”
Wordplay: 보라 하다 is “to say to see,” where 보라 comes from 보다 (to see). However, with 보라 as a noun meaning purple, 보라하다 (to purple) is used by BTS and their fans as “to love.” The above line, therefore, can be “this one loves forests, and that one loves wildflowers.”

내 그림자, 나는 망설임이라 쓰고 불렀네
My shadow, I named him “hesitation” and called him so

걘 그게 되고 나서 망설인 적이 없었네
Once he became it, he has never hesitated

무대 아래든 아님 조명 아래든 자꾸 나타나
Whether it is under the stage or under the light, he keeps appearing 

아지랑이처럼 뜨겁게 자꾸 날 노려보네 (Oh shit)
and stares at me fiercely like heat haze (Oh shit)

Note: Although “shadow” here is the shadow in Jungian psychology, the above four lines reminded me of his interview at the beginning of 2018. He calls his anxiety his shadow. It grew as his height grew, and it grows at night. He also acknowledges and accepts that the shadow will follow him wherever he goes and whatever he does, and therefore tries to become friends with his shadow rather than separating himself from it.  (Translation of the full interview is available here.)

 

(From here, it’s his shadow talking.)

야 이 짓을 왜 시작한 건지 벌써 잊었냐
Hey, have you already forgotten why you started this?

넌 그냥 들어주는 누가 있단 게 막 좋았던 거야
You were just loving it that there’s someone listening to you

가끔은 그냥 다 싹 헛소리 같아
Sometimes, everything feels like total nonsense

취하면 나오는거 알지.. 치기 같아
You know what comes out of you when you’re drunk, it’s like acting silly
Wordplay: 취기 (chwigi; 醉氣)  is intoxication or tipsiness and 치기 (chigi; 稚氣) means childishness, immaturity, or foolishness. When you get drunk, you get tipsy and act like a child.

 

나따위가 무슨 music
Someone like me isn’t good enough for (doing) music

나따위가 무슨 truth
Someone like me isn’t good enough for (delivering) the truth

나따위가 무슨 소명
Someone like me isn’t good enough for (answering) the calling
소명 (somyoung; calling, mission) here can be a religious calling or a great mission.

나따위가 무슨 muse
Someone like me isn’t good enough to be a muse

내가 아는 나의 흠 어쩜 그게 사실 내 전부
My flaws that I know, maybe those are really all I’ve got

세상은 사실 아무 관심없어, 나의 서툶
The world is actually not interested at all in my clumsiness

 

이제 질리지도 않는 후회들과 매일 밤 징그럽게 뒹굴고
When I tossed and tumbled every night with the regrets that I don’t even get sick of anymore

돌릴 길 없는 시간들을 습관처럼 비틀어도
and twisted the irreversible time like a habit,

그때마다 날 또 일으켜 세운 건 최초의 질문
it was the first question that raised me to stand up every time

내 이름 석자 그 가장 앞에 와야 할 But
‘But,’ the word that should come before the three syllables of my name
I’ve seen many people speculating that he is aware of and is using the “but Namjoon- ” thing. I personally strongly doubt if that’s the case since (1) it is almost strictly used in non-Korean (language-wise) fandoms, especially on “stan Twitter,” and (2) it doesn’t really work within the context anyway.
My interpretation of this line (again, this is my personal interpretation) is that this really is about his fundamental question, the question he’s been asking himself for his entire life and is still trying to figure out the answer (if there is one) for, the question that pops up every time he agonizes and regrets, and the question that really penetrates through the entire song. “But, who am I?” “But, (who is) Kim Namjoon?”

 

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?

 

(How about you?)

(I don’t know, man)

(But I know one thing)

 

Yeah my name is R
(1) The letter R embraces all his rapper-selves: Runch Randa (his stage name as an underground rapper), Rap Monster (his stage name from 2013 to late 2017), and RM (late 2017 to now). It also connects to the lyrics of Answer: Love Yourself: “Y
esterday’s me, today’s me, tomorrow’s me. Without exception, altogether, they are all me.”
(2) From “Voice” (the first track of his first mixtape): “Yeah, I be real. This moment, the thing that I wanted desperately. I’m finally oiling the pedals that I’ve been stepping on for seven years. You can’t kill. Come take it if you do want a piece of me. I only speak through music, I have no interest in anything else. If you really think you ready to fly with my power. This is what R is about, fella the time is now.”

내가 기억하고 사람들이 아는 나
The ‘me’ who I remember and who people know

날 토로하기 위해 내가 스스로 만들어낸 나
The ‘me’ who I created by myself to speak my mind

Yeah 난 날 속여왔을지도 뻥쳐왔을지도
Yeah, I might have been deceiving myself, I might have been lying

But 부끄럽지 않아 이게 내 영혼의 지도
But, I’m not ashamed of it, this is the map of my soul

Dear myself

넌 절대로 너의 온도를 잃지 마
You must never lose your temperature

따뜻히도 차갑게도 될 필요 없으니까
because you don’t need to be warm or cold

가끔은 위선적이어도 위악적이어도
Though I might sometimes pretend I’m good and sometimes pretend I’m evil,
Notice how he acknowledges the possibility between warm and cold and between good and evil, which is a repeating concept from Love Yourself era.

이게 내가 걸어두고 싶은 내 방향의 척도
this is the barometer of my direction that I want to set
Note (not sure he meant this but): 척도 (cheokdo; barometer, criterion) can be separated into 척 and 도. 척 alone, placed after adjectives, makes “pretend to be ~,” and 도 is a postposition that used when listing similar things. Both go well with the previous line in terms of meaning and rhyme. 

 

내가 되고 싶은 나
The ‘me’ who I want to be
It can also be “I who want to be me,” although the one above fits better

사람들이 원하는 나
The ‘me’ who people want

내가 사랑하는 나
The ‘me’ who I love 

또 내가 빚어내는 나
And the ‘me’ who I craft

웃고 있는 나
The ‘me’ who’s smiling

가끔은 울고 있는 나
The ‘me’ who’s crying sometimes

지금도 매분 매순간 살아 숨쉬는
Living and breathing every second, every moment, even now,

 

Persona
He accentuates “na” of “Persona,” which is the pronunciation of 나 (na; I, me) that made the end rhyme of two previous verses. 

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
He also drops all ɪ from I(/aɪ/) fly(/flaɪ/), die (/daɪ/), and cry (/kraɪ/), so that all lines of the verse end with a- (except go).

 

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

 

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9 thoughts on “Intro: Persona

  1. Hi,
    just waned to say I really love your translations. I greatly appreciate the extra explanations and thoughts that you put in as well, it really helps with understanding the lyrics meanings and intentions especially when there are sayings that are not used in English or words that have double meanings. So I really wanted thank you so much for enabling me to feel closer to BTS’s true emotions and ideas expressed within their music. Also thanks for linking that interview above with RM talking about his anxiety/shadow, I hadn’t read it before and I really connected with it.

    Like

  2. Hi, I’m sorry it’s just that I see SO many people translating and saying they don’t want people to use any of it even with credit so I immediately jumped to that conclusion.
    You can just delete my comment if you want, ’cause I feel like it turned out a bit mean with no interest at all and even if you didn’t want anyone to use your translation then it’s your choice I shouldn’t have said anything.
    Sorry again !

    Like

  3. Hello! Thank you a lot both for the translation and the explanations. It’s for the first time when I find somebody who cares to explain “what the poet wants to say” for us! Because there a great differences in between Korean and ,my case, Romanian way of thinking , the metaphorical view ,etc. Thank you so much! 🤗💜⚘🌷🥀

    Like

  4. Hi, I just wanted to know why you say that people are not allowed to translate this translation to another language ? I mean didn’t you traslate from BTS in the first place without asking permission ? Isn’t it kinda doing the same thing you don’t allow ?

    Like

    • Please read the text block again. I do not want the transcribed and translated lyrics shared YET because I do not have an access to the official lyrics. Once I make proper edits after the album release, I will remove the text block — as written. Refer to the contact page for my general policy.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Translating from a translation is not ideal because each translation gets further from the source material – it can lead to some pretty big inaccuracies in what’s being said. A lot of translation, especially of lyrics, is also interpretation, and that’s a very personal thing – if you translate someone’s interpretation poorly, it can reflect badly on them. I don’t know if these are the reasons they’re not keen on people translating their translation to another language, but they’re things to keep in mind. It’s almost always better to translate directly from the source material.

      Like

      • Hello,
        (1) the response was made with misunderstanding, which later was cleared up.
        (2) I do allow and appreciate translating my translations into another language while I fully agree that translating directly from the source material is ideal — if possible. The issue is that there are not many who can do Korean – non-English translations up to the quality of (Korean – ) English – non-English translations’ in the world of unpaid fan translations. I make sure to do mine in easy words and structures to minimize the change of misinterpretation and am sure some other Korean-English fan translators do the same.

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