K-Pop Songs: S – Sea by BTS

BTS has an amazing discography considering they’ve only been around since 2013 so it’s hard to pick only one song to talk about. For those who’ve followed this series should know I’ve included a lot of BTS songs but purely because I enjoy almost their entire back catalogue – something I don’t have with other groups. Sea” being a part of Love Yourself: Her was catastrophic and I have a lot to talk about but I will be mindful of the length of this so I’ll try to control myself.

ARTIST: BTS

ALBUM: Love Yourself: Her

bts-love-yourself-track-list-2

Love Yourself: Her was release 18 September 2017 and it shocked the whole world, breaking records no one would’ve guessed possible. The whole concept of this album as well as their work with UNICEF and their Highlight Reels … a song like “Sea” was going to mess a lot of people up.

I did a first listen to this album the night it was released:

and as you can see I don’t deal with it very well. I did order all four versions of the album but they wouldn’t get shipped to me for a couple weeks. Prior to the albums release I did know it was going to have an additional two hidden tracks – one being a skit and the last one being “Sea”, a song Namjoon (RM) had been working on for a long time. By the time the albums showed up I forgot all about the hidden tracks and put them on display on my K-Pop album shelf.

I have a bit of a guilty pleasure of watching BTS Imagine videos on YouTube (I know haha) and I distinctly remember the start of one video. The vocals were stunning and were unmistakably the BTS members. Because I’d never heard the song in question you can imagine how upset I was that I’d never heard it considering how proud I am of knowing BTS’ back catalogue well. I commented on the video asking what the song in the intro was and my entire world stopped when they commented: “Sea”. I immediately copied the song to my iTunes from the physical CD and my life was never the same again.

I have a lot of favourite BTS ballads – they’re my favourite style of BTS songs – but “Sea” gives them all a run for their money. I love how emotional and perfect their words and voices are and the musicality of it is both simplistic and theatrical at the same time as it shows a range of slow and climactic parts. BTS is one of those groups where the members sing in the perfect place for both their voices and also lyrically. They also have extremely unique and individual sounding voices so to me, their parts within a song are never an afterthought – they are a strategy.

There’s always a couple members that shine the most in a BTS ballad but I had a really hard time with picking a stand out in this song. All members stand out for different reasons: RM – a passionate rap in the first verse; J Hope – bringing his usual sing/rap that added a different melody; Jimin – his soft high-pitched vocals adding delicacy to the song; Jin – a sharp and wistful element introduced through his vocals; V – his thick and deep voice adds soul; Suga – lyrically, his part was my favourite and made me cry; Jungkook – his high notes (and Jimin’s) elevated the song even higher.

I do have to say, my favourite two parts of the song are Suga’s rap and also the last part sung by Taehyung. His deep voice was perfect to end such an emotional song and leaves the listener covered in goosebumps from head to toe – it doesn’t make sense that someone as teeny tiny as him should have a voice full of so much life and soulfulness.

The only other songs I can relate this song to is “Born Singer”, “Path” and “2! 3!” both lyrically and the sense they’re ballad-type songs.

This song is all about how they’ve overcome all the things that were set in place for them to fail. It’s about how they were able to come out of their darkest of times and see the light without losing sight of who they are as a group, as singers and as a family.

Somehow I walked and came to this sea
From this sea I look at the beach
Countless grains of sand and the fierce wind
I’m still looking at the desert
I want to have the sea, I gulped you all down
But I get even thirstier than before
Is everything I know truly the sea
Or is it a blue desert

I know I know
That I will
I know I know
Overcome my trials
I know I know
It exposes me
What I rely on
Think positively, swallow*
Even if I’m anxious, even if a desert
It’s the beautiful Namib Desert

Where there is hope, there are trials
Where there is hope, there are trials

I thought the sea was here but it turned out to be a desert
Small company’s idols with nothing special was my second name
Countless of times edited out from broadcasts
Someone’s fill-in, our dream
Some people said our company was small so we wouldn’t be famous
I know I know, I know it too
Even back when the seven of us struggled to sleep in one room
The trust before sleep that tomorrow would be different
The mirage of the desert, I can see its shape but I couldn’t grab it
I pray that I will survive in this endless desert
I pray that it is not the reality

At last I grabbed the mirage and it became reality
The desert I was once afraid of became that sea by our blood, sweat and tears
But what are these fears among all the happiness
We all know too well this place was originally a desert

I don’t want to cry
I don’t want to rest
(No, how about resting just for a little bit?
No, no, no)
I don’t want to lose
It was originally a desert
(Then let them know everything
We have to achieve more)

We have to despair, for all of those trials
We have to despair, for all of those trials

I will never be over this song. Like I mentioned above, this song is hugely similar to “Born Singer” – another song that deals with their trials of coming from a smaller and unknown company.

I will forever be extremely proud of these boys and and everything they’ve accomplished for the world of K-Pop but also for themselves. The growth they’ve had individually and as a group is so massive yet they’ve managed to stay the same dorks that they were before debut.

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