등골브레이커 (Spine Breaker)

 

Produced by Pdogg, OWO
Written by Pdogg, OWO, Rap Monster, SUGA, j-hope, Slow Rabbit, Supreme Boi, Song Chang-sik

Spotify | Apple Music | MV Making (BTS GAYO)

This song discusses “the padding craze.” (You can read this 2011 Korea Joongang Daily article and this 2018 Business of Fashion article to get an idea about the padding craze that has been around for almost 10 years.)
Around 2008-2009, it became increasingly popular among (mostly) high school students to wear padded jackets, specifically the ones from the North Face, an outdoor clothing and gear brand. Due to their notoriously high prices, the jackets became to be called the  “spine breakers” because students would “break their parents’ backs” to keep up with the expensive trends. Wearing the same or a similar jacket was a sign of conformity (or simply that of being trendy) in the beginning but quickly became a symbol of status and class division.

The brand was immensely popular last winter, especially among teenagers, to the point that it was referred to as the “second school uniform.” The jackets were nicknamed “spine breakers,” for squeezing money out of parents trying to appease nagging kids.

The brand was so coveted by teens that it played a role in school bullying. The jackets signified hierarchy. The most expensive Himalayan down jackets starting at 700,000 won were owned by the most popular ― or the most powerful ― kids while the 250,000 won Nuptse 2 were worn by the “losers.” Wearing the cheapest jacket, however, was considered better than wearing another brand.

“The fine is not at all too much regarding how the brand, a.k.a. ‘spine breaker,’ brought out numerous social problems like school violence, money extortion, distorted sense of class distinction, household burdens and the long-term unfair businesses it practiced,” said Seoul YMCA through a statement.

from Korea Herald (May 2012), after the North Face was charged a 5.2 billion won ($4.6 million) fine for compelling all 151 of its retailers here to charge 10 to 15 percent higher prices than for rival brands since 1997 to maintain the brand’s premium image.

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왜 불러
Why do you call me

왜 불러
Why do you call me
송창식 – 왜 불러 (Song Chang-sik – Why do you call me; 1975)
Extra note: it’s a little funny when you listen to the actual CD (or listen to the album in order) because Cypher PT. 2 ends with SUGA’s “Hey!!!” and this track begins with “Why do you call me.”

 

수십짜리 신발에 또 수백짜리 패딩
Shoes that cost hundreds of dollars and padded jackets that cost thousands of dollars

수십짜리 시계에 또 으스대지 괜히
Watches that cost hundreds of dollars, you’d show them off again for no reason

교육은 산으로 가고 학생도 산으로 가
Education goes to the mountains and students go to the mountains as well
(a) Education goes to the mountains: 산으로 가다 (going to the mountains), as explained in
Ma City, is often used to describe someone’s digressing from the topic/goal. The line should read “Education is digressing from its purpose”
(b) Students go to the mountains: 산으로 가다 (going to the mountains) is more literal here since The North Face is an outdoor clothing brand. 

21세기 계급은 반으로 딱 나눠져
In the 21st century, we are divided into exactly two classes

있는 자와 없는 자
Those who have, those who don’t have

신은 자와 없는 자
Those who’re wearing shoes, those who don’t have

입은 자와 벗는 자
Those who’re wearing clothes, those who undress,
벗는 자 is one who undresses, as opposed to 벗은 자, one who is (already) undressed. Another problem associated with this padded jacket fever was extortion bullyings; bullies would threaten weaker students in expensive jackets and take the jackets from them, having them undress.

또 기를 써서 얻는 자
and those who make desperate efforts to have them

이게 뭔 일이니 유행에서 넌 밀리니?
What is happening, are you falling behind the trend?

떼를 쓰고 애를 써서 얻어냈지, 찔리지?
You whined and tried so hard to have it given to you, did I hit a nerve?

 

가득 찬 패딩 마냥 욕심이 계속 차
Just like the fully filled padding, your greed continues to get filled up

휘어지는 부모 등골을 봐도 넌 매몰차
Even after seeing your parents’ backs bending, you’re heartlessly relentless

친구는 다 있다고 졸라대니 안 사줄 수도 없다고
You’re whining that all your friends have them, making it hard for your parents to not buy one for you

(Ayo baby) 철딱서니 없게 굴지 말어
(Ayo baby) Don’t behave so childishly

그깟 패딩 안 입는다고 얼어 죽진 않어
You won’t freeze to death even if you don’t wear that padded jacket

패딩 안에 거위털을 채우기 전에
Before filling the padded jacket with goose down,

니 머릿속 개념을 채우길, 늦기 전에
filling your brain with some common sense before it gets too late

 

Wow 기분 좋아 걸쳐보는 너의 dirty clothes
Wow, I feel good, trying on your dirty clothes

넌 뭔가 다른 rockin, rollin, swaggin, swagger, wrong
You are somewhat different, rockin, rollin, swaggin, swagger, wrong

도대체 왜 이래 미쳤어 baby
Why would you do this, you’re crazy, baby

그게 너의 맘을 조여 버릴거야 dirty clothes
That will end up straining your mind, dirty clothes

 

(La la la la la la la la la)

니가 바로 등골브레이커
You’re the spine breaker

(La la la la la la la la la)

부모님의 등골브레이커
Your parents’ spine breaker

(La la la la la la la la la)

언젠가는 후회하게 될 걸
Someday you’ll regret it

(La la la la la la la la la)

빌어먹을 등골브레이커
A damn spine breaker

 

(RM’s verse: he takes a different stance.)

왜 불러 kid? 너넨 요즘 참 배불렀지
Why are you calling me, kid? These days you guys seem to have everything you wanted
배부르다 (be full) is also used when someone who has everything needed/wanted and nothing else to wish for complains about their current situation. The expression comes up again in J-Hope’s verse.

남의 인생 참견이 좀 주제넘지
It’s not your place to butt in and mind someone else’s life

속 빈 강정뿐인 말들을 왜 계속해
Why do you keep saying empty words

내가 받은 돈 내가 쓰겠다는데
when I say I’m going to spend the money I received

5천만의 취향을 다 니들처럼 맞춰야 만족할 사람들이지
You’re some of those people who will get satisfied only after making 50 million peoples’ preferences the same
South Korean population was about 50 million when the track was released.

제발 너나 잘 사셔, 니 인생 말이여
Please live your own life, your own life

니가 나면 말 안 하겠어
If I were you, I wouldn’t say anything

그래 내 패딩 더럽게 비싸고 더럽게 안 예뻐
Yeah, my padded jacket is awfully expensive and awfully ugly

(But I say) 너무 갖고 싶은데 어떡해
(But I say) I just wanted to have it so much, what can I do

나보다 못 사는 친구들도 다 가졌는데
Even my friends from poorer families all have it

(And I say) 은따 되기 싫음 살 수밖에
(And I say) If I don’t want to be ostracized, I have no other option but to buy it 

이 나이 때쯤이면 원래 다들 좀 그러잖니
You know that people around this age tend to be like this

Yeah I dunno, yes I’m loco, is it no-no?

I know they ain’t cheap but they got mojos

But 난 내 할 일은 잘해 부모님 등골 안 부셔
But I do what I have to do, I don’t break my parents’ spines

진짜 브레이커는 나이 먹고 아직도 방구석인 너
The real breaker is you who are all grown up but just idly sitting in the room

 

Wow 기분 좋아 걸쳐보는 너의 dirty clothes
Wow, I feel good, trying on your dirty clothes

넌 뭔가 다른 rockin, rollin, swaggin, swagger, wrong
You are somewhat different, rockin, rollin, swaggin, swagger, wrong

도대체 왜 이래 미쳤어 baby
Why would you do this, you’re crazy, baby

그게 너의 맘을 조여 버릴거야 dirty clothes
That will end up straining your mind, dirty clothes

 

너도 dirty clothes 나도 dirty clothes
You wear dirty clothes as well, I wear dirty clothes as well 

누구나 겪어봤겠지
Anyone would have experienced it

입고 거리로 나가보면 어깨 힘 빡 들어가고
You wear them and go out on the street, your shoulders become squared up

나보다 작아 보이지 like 걸리버
Everyone looks smaller than me, like Gulliver

뭘 입어도 이해해
I understand you whatever you wear

근데 넌 너무 배가 부른 상태
But you are just too spoiled
Literally translated, the above line is “but your current status is where you’re too full.” As explained in RM’s verse, “you” are complaining even though you have everything you need/want.

체해, 후회해
You’ll get indigestion and regret it

넌 계속 swag해, 허나 부모 맘은 배제해?
You keep swaggering around but put your parents’ feelings aside

그래 말리진 않을게 이제 맘을 정해
Yeah, I won’t stop you, now it’s time to make up your mind

 

Wow 기분 좋아 걸쳐보는 너의 dirty clothes
Wow, I feel good, trying on your dirty clothes

넌 뭔가 다른 rockin, rollin, swaggin, swagger, wrong
You are somewhat different, rockin, rollin, swaggin, swagger, wrong

도대체 왜 이래 미쳤어 baby
Why would you do this, you’re crazy, baby

그게 너의 맘을 조여 버릴거야 dirty clothes
That will end up straining your mind, dirty clothes

 

(La la la la la la la la la)

니가 바로 등골브레이커
You’re the spine breaker

(La la la la la la la la la)

부모님의 등골브레이커
Your parents’ spine breaker

(La la la la la la la la la)

언젠가는 후회하게 될 걸
Someday you’ll regret it

(La la la la la la la la la)

빌어먹을 등골브레이커
A damn spine breaker

 

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