Black Swan

 

Produced by Pdogg
Written by Pdogg, RM, August Rigo, Vince Nantes, Clyde Kelly

Art Film | Official MV
Spotify | Apple Music

Spotify storyline: The song lends voice to the band’s darkest fears — the music they do will one day cease to touch or move them. Yet, every time they come face to face with this “Black Swan” within themselves, they hear voices calling out from deep within their hearts and are stricken with the realization that music. Is all they have. This track is a confession of an artist who has truly learned what music means to himself.

Translation of the press release (technically speaking, translation of the description of the single on Korean streaming sites):

In ‘Black Swan,’ BTS steps into the deep, inner side of the self and faces the shadow it has been hiding as an artist. It is the confession of BTS as an artist, who grew up to a global superstar.
“A dancer dies twice — once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful.” – Martha Graham. Black Swan is created with dancer Martha Graham’s quote as a motif. Like a dancer faces their first death when they stop dancing, the track contains the fear of the moment where BTS is no longer able to perform on the stage as an artist. Through Black Swan, the members of BTS express that, as they continue to do music more and more, they will face their first death as well if the music fails to touch their hearts or to make them excited.
But every time such a moment happens, ‘I’ hear another voice of mine from deep inside, ‘I’ face the Black Swan in me, and, ironically, ‘I’ come to a realization that music is the only thing ‘I’ have. Through the mature, self-reflecting lyrics, BTS conveys its confession as an artist who learned what music means to self.

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Do your thang

Do your thang with me now

Do your thang

Do your thang with me now

What’s my thang

What’s my thang tell me now

Tell me now

Yeah yeah yeah yeah

Ayy

 

심장이 뛰지 않는대
The heart does not beat

더는 음악을 들을 때
anymore, when listening to music
Note: By saying 않는대, instead of 않는데, SUGA means to say that he “heard” (1) from someone else that his heart does not beat or (2) about someone else whose heart does not beat. This is different from him coming to a realization, by himself, that his heart no longer beats anymore when listening to music. Based on the following lines, I read it as (1) where he is told that his heart does not beat anymore.

Tryna pull up

시간이 멈춘 듯해
It feels like time has stopped

Oh that would be my first death

I been always afraid of

 

이게 나를 더 못 울린다면
If this can no longer make me cry
Alternatively, it could also be interpreted as “If this can no longer resonate with me”

내 가슴을 더 떨리게 못 한다면
If this can no longer make my heart flutter

어쩜 이렇게 한 번 죽겠지 아마
Perhaps, this will be how I die once
“A dancer dies twice — once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful.”

But what if that moment’s right now

Right now

 

귓가엔 느린 심장 소리만 Bump bump bump
In my ears are only slow heartbeats, bump bump bump

벗어날래도 그 입속으로 Jump jump jump
I try to escape, but into the maw, jump jump jump

어떤 노래도 와닿지 못해
No song can reach me anymore

소리 없는 소릴 질러
I cry out a silent cry

 

모든 빛이 침묵하는 바다 Yeah yeah yeah
Sea where all light sinks into silence, yeah yeah yeah
Note: In Sea, a hidden track of LOVE YOURSELF: Her, BTS sings about how the sea it has dreamed of is actually another desert. Sinking to the bottom of the sea with no light, they face their shadow.

길 잃은 내 발목을 또 잡아 Yeah yeah yeah
It again seizes my ankle that lost the path, yeah yeah yeah
Note: Path is another hidden track of their discography (2 Cool 4 Skool; BTS’ debut single album), where they talk about their path as artists at the onset of their career. In Black Swan, it is the fear of losing the pure passion and love for music that makes them feel lost (in the first half the song) and stand back up again (in the second half of the song).

It might be a far stretch to link Sea and Path as the words 바다 (sea) and 길 (path) are not particularly uncommon. But given that they are “hidden” tracks, and that, here in Black Swan, BTS talks about their “hidden” shadow, I think it’s cool to think about the connection.

어떤 소리도 들리지 않아 Yeah yeah yeah
No sound can reach me, yeah yeah yeah

Killin’ me now

Killin’ me now

Do you hear me yeah

 

홀린 듯 천천히 가라앉아 Nah nah nah
As if I’m bewitched, I slowly sink down, nah nah nah

몸부림쳐봐도 사방이 바닥 Nah nah
Though I try struggling, I’m at the bottom of the sea, nah nah
A more literal translation would be “Though I try struggling, the surrounding is the bottom/floor.”

모든 순간들이 영원이 돼 Yeah yeah yeah
Every moment becomes eternity, yeah yeah yeah 

Film it now

Film it now
Note: Every moment, even the moment where they struggle at the bottom of the sea, becomes eternity because it is filmed. This reminded me of the scene where people were holding their phones up to take pictures of SUGA in Interlude : Shadow and concept photos (S version) of LOVE YOURSELF: Answer

Do you hear me yeah

 

Do your thang

Do your thang with me now

Do your thang

Do your thang with me now

What’s my thang

What’s my thang tell me now

Tell me now

Yeah yeah yeah yeah

 

Note: The below verse signals the transition to the second part of the song. In the art film, the main dancer finally escapes the cage surrounded by lasers by the end of this verse that ends with “At the deepest, I saw myself.”

Deeper

Yeah I think I’m goin’ deeper

자꾸 초점을 잃어
I keep losing focus

이젠 놓아줘 싫어
Now let go of me, I hate this

차라리 내 발로 갈게
I’d rather go on my own feet

내가 뛰어들어갈게
I’ll jump into it

가장 깊은 곳에서
At the deepest,

나는 날 봤어
I saw myself

 

천천히 난 눈을 떠
Slowly, I open my eyes

여긴 나의 작업실 내 스튜디오
This is my workroom, my studio

거센 파도 깜깜하게 나를 스쳐도
Even if harsh waves brush against me in the darkness,

절대 끌려가지 않을 거야 다시 또
I will never get dragged away again

Inside

I saw myself myself

 

Note: Notice how the below verse contrasts with a previous verse: “In my ears are only slow heartbeats, bump bump bump / I try to escape, but into the maw, jump jump jump / No song can reach me anymore / I cry out a silent cry.”

귓가엔 빠른 심장 소리만 Bump bump bump
In my ears are only fast heartbeats, bump bump bump

두 눈을 뜨고 나의 숲으로 Jump jump jump
With my eyes open, into my forest, jump jump jump
In Butterfly, “My Kafka on the shore, please don’t go to the forest over there”
In FAKE LOVE, “A forest of just us, you were not there. I forgot the route that I came along.”
Note: In Kafka on the Shore (Haruki Murakami; RM is a known fan of Murakami), the forest is a kind of labyrinth that represents the understanding of the self. Once he feared going into the forest (Butterfly), then he got lost in the forest (FAKE LOVE; this also became the moment for him to realize that it’s all him, that it’s all himself. “You” = “I.”), and now he is jumping into the forest with the conviction that nothing can swallow him.

그 무엇도 날 삼킬 수 없어
Nothing can swallow me
In The Last, “The greed that used to be my weapon now swallows me, ruins me, and puts a leash around my neck.”
In Interlude : Shadow, “People say, in that bright light, it’s splendor / But my shadow rather grows even bigger, swallows me, and  becomes a monster.”

힘껏 나는 소리 질러
I cry out with all my strength
Note: This is also when, in the art film, the main dancer frees himself from the other dancers, who represent his shadow.

 

모든 빛이 침묵하는 바다 Yeah yeah yeah
Sea where all light sinks into silence, yeah yeah yeah

길 잃은 내 발목을 또 잡아 Yeah yeah yeah
It again seizes my ankle that lost the path, yeah yeah yeah

어떤 소리도 들리지 않아 Yeah yeah yeah
No sound can reach me, yeah yeah yeah

Killin’ me now

Killin’ me now

Do you hear me yeah

 

홀린 듯 천천히 가라앉아 Nah nah nah
As if I’m bewitched, I slowly sink down, nah nah nah

몸부림쳐봐도 사방이 바닥 Nah nah
Though I try struggling, I’m at the bottom of the sea, nah nah

모든 순간들이 영원이 돼 Yeah yeah yeah
Every moment becomes eternity, yeah yeah yeah 

Film it now

Film it now

Do you hear me yeah

 

Do your thang

Do your thang with me now

Do your thang

Do your thang with me now

What’s my thang

What’s my thang tell me now

Tell me now

Yeah yeah yeah yeah

 

At the end of the art film, the shadow (the six dancers in black costumes) that had the main dancer confined in the first half transforms itself into a force that sets the dancer free by pushing him to the sky and helping him fly. The dancer becomes a black swan, having made its shadow into its wings. Going back to the message of the lyrics, I believe that this represents that it is only after experiencing the fear of losing the love for music, facing the shadow as an artist, and taking control of the shadow that the artist can realize the depth of his love for music and stand up again.

 

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Please share the link instead of reposting to ensure the integrity as I might make minor edits over time. For inquiries and feedback, please use this form.

 

11 thoughts on “Black Swan

  1. Im a fairly recent fan, and this is the 1st time for me to encounter that rm is a fan of murakami. Seeing him do references to one of my fave books is just wow. Im so tempted to pick up Kafka on the shore again

    Like

  2. Thanks for the translation! You work hard ❤ Can you please change the linked video to the one posted on BANGTANTV channel instead of the live performance?

    Like

  3. “Once he feared going into the forest (Butterfly), then he got lost in the forest (FAKE LOVE; this also became the moment for him to realize that it’s all him, that it’s all himself. “You” = “I.”), and now he is jumping into the forest with the conviction that nothing can swallow him.”

    Wow…just wow

    Like

  4. You are so amazing! Thank you so much for your hard work! Thank you for helping bangtan deliver their message to armys around the world 💜

    Like

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