I have always wanted to write about my take on SUGA’s Interlude. But things get busy until I lost all my thoughts about it. Now, it is 2:36 am as I write this. BTS just released their comeback trailer: MAP OF THE SOUL: 7 ‘Interlude: Shadow’ and I think these two songs are like cinematic parallels.
Dreams and Fears
keeping dreams as only dreams is better
it’s honestly different from the future that I had hoped for
– SUGA’S INTERLUDE
I think it is obvious that they talk about dreams here. Growing up, we probably have those, right? We always get this ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ question.
With this, I also remember the quote that says: “If your dreams don’t scare you, then they are not big enough.”
Were you ever so scared because of your dreams? SUGA, the rest of BTS, you, and I, were definitely scared. We are probably still scared.
INTERLUDE: SHADOW similarly talks about dreams, fame, and of course, the repercussions that come with it.
I’m afraid I’m terrified of flying high
no one told me how lonely it is here
my leap can turn into a fall
– INTERLUDE: SHADOW
The thing with dreams is that you give your all to it. And when you fail to achieve it, it feels like you are also stripped off of everything that you are and everything that you have. What we usually don’t think about is when you finally achieve it. Where do we go from there? What happens when you get there? Would you even like it there? Would you like the version of yourself then? We might think that yes, obviously. It is your dream, so you should be happy! Right?
No. Not really.
One of my biggest dreams is to write to my heart’s content. And that was exactly what I did when I quit the 9-5 job. But writing for a living is mentally draining. Your creativity will slowly get depleted until words stop flowing. I hated writing for a while. It scared me. It scared me because it’s the only thing I want to do; it is the only thing I think I’m good at. So, what now?
It is why I resonate with these songs.
I think it is the reason SUGA once said that it is okay not to have a dream too because the things we envisioned might look very different from what it actually is.
SUGA already does what he always wanted, to create music, inspire, and be heard. Now he has to pay the price.
Claustrophobia and Discomfort
BTS or any artists, they are definitely aware of what they are getting into. But there is still a fine line between knowing and experiencing it first-hand. I think that is the main theme of INTERLUDE: SHADOW. Chasing that dream without actually realising how it works. Pros and cons. Lights and shadow.
It is one thing that the tune of INTERLUDE: SHADOW is very claustrophobic and discomforting. If you hear that part where SUGA artistically used autotune to add dimension and texture (I am not musically inclined so I don’t know the right terms, but I am wording them the way I will with any form of art) to the song, he is able to create his own shadow through these layers of sound – which I think is pure genius. How it started all clean, and then all of a sudden, it is dark and in chaos. It is another thing when you see the full music video… it is easy to choke in your own sadness and guilt.
It is not hard to miss the references of what fame does here – phones on their faces from both media and fans, the stalkers that go way too far, and the lack of boundaries from humans to humans. There are so many things to unpack in every clip, but generally, it physically hurts too.
It is not hard to realise that we, as fans, are part of the fame – albeit the light, we make the shadows bigger for them too. The brighter the light on us, the darker the shadow.
Obviously, INTERLUDE: SHADOW is not to guilt-trip us or anything. We should all know by now that BTS vents, speaks up, opens up, in all of their songs. They create cathartic pieces that allow us to release what we have inside our hearts too. It is the same with SUGA’s comeback trailer; he is just showing us what it is like and how it feels. It is done very well. And no, it doesn’t mean he hates his job. Loving the job is different than hating the shitty things it brings.
However, it is also hard not to feel guilty and sorry. Hear, hear, it is all part of the fame. Yes, we did nothing wrong. We are just fans who want to spread their music and give everything that they deserve. They chose that life. But as humans, we are also allowed to feel for them. It is not pity or anything, it is just that kind of feeling you feel over a friend who is struggling, like how you wish you can help them ease the burden. I am pretty sure BTS feels the same way toward us too. It is why they produce comforting music for us in the first place – to help us cope and feel less alone. BTS and ARMYs just want to be each other’s home. But home is not always a happy place. In this household, we need to deal with our shits too.
Also, I still stand by my belief that you can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved, but we can still try.
Another take I have here as to why it is discomforting is the fact that the whole music video is the human psyche. These shadows are our own thoughts that cage us; that make us feel suffocated; that hold us down.
And maybe, just maybe, these phones are our own mind trying to capture every single detail that we do or think, so later on, we can rewind what has happened. It is when the overthinking comes in. We overthink every word said or left hanging; everybody language that might not even mean anything. We are our own worst critic. SUGA did not just let us inside his mind; he also led us to our own.
Healing and Shadow
Yes, we are all allowed to be sad. We are allowed to feel the guilt. Some of us live with guilt and regrets, and these are triggers that make our own shadow comes out. So, I really respect the healthy discussions that people share on stan tweet. It says more about our awareness and our journey to healing. I always say that BTS, as individuals and as a group, has the most developed stars I have ever seen; they are very self-aware. And through their music, they are helping us be self-aware too. We need to face the shadow and see how much of it is us. If Persona asked ‘who am I?’ the Shadow answers that you are every single part of yourself – flaws and all; the deepest and darkest core. Shadow is our own reflection, but we still need to discern which part of it is true because it could be just a projection too.
And here comes healing…
What we won’t do is dismiss each other’s feelings just because we don’t agree with it. Yes, BTS probably have their own demons before fame got them. We all do. How you tame yours is different from how others tame theirs. What we need is more compassion. Always always be kind.
Music is art. We all consume it differently. There is no reason to be too aggressive towards others just because they see it from another perspective. Share your thoughts and feelings and then take others’ point of view too without getting mad or feeling like you are being ‘attacked’. Just because we oppose one another doesn’t mean we are trying to fight each other. Healthy discussions help us understand better. Remember that communication is a two-way street.
Do You Know Yourself?
I am pretty sure every one of us had to stay still for a couple of minutes after watching INTERLUDE: SHADOW to contemplate.
PERSONA asked ‘Who Am I?’
Have you found your answer?
I think SHADOW is also asking us, ‘If you found the answer, do you like it?’
If you say you have not found it yet, then maybe you are not ready yet to face your shadow because you are not ready to be true to yourself.
INTERLUDE: SHADOW screams the truth.
We are not ready for the full-length album. We are not ready to face it all.
But ready or not, we have to.
Thank you for being here. I hope you can support and buy me a coffee.