A hidden track off BTS' album, Love Yourself; Her, Sea remains something private and personal between BTS and their fans, ARMY.
In an interview for Billboard, RM described Sea as something more “more special, more closer, to our true hearts”. Listening to it, you can understand why. Initially titled as, “Wherever there is hope, there is trial”, Sea commemorates the journey and passage of time BTS and their fans had to navigate through to get where they are.
Their journey, long and tedious, remains a testament to the obstacles they’d face to achieve. It is a commemoration to themselves, to each other and to their fans. That if their story had been different, perhaps they would not have been here.
I walked and somehow managed to reach the sea
At this sea, I see the beach
Countless grains of sand and fierce, harsh winds–
I still see the desert
I drank you up, wanting to have the sea,
but I get even thirstier than before
Is this place that I’ve reached really the sea,
or is it a blue desert?
BTS talk of how their journey of wading through heaps of sand and endless desert finally seems like its coming to an end. There is the sea now, blue and glazing that waits for them. As they kneel and attempt to satisfy their thirst, however, they find themselves only growing thirstier.
I don’t know, I don’t know
whether it’s the sea or a desert
whether it’s hope or despair
whether it’s real or fake shit
that this trial given to me now
I know I know
that I will overcome
I think positively, swallowing drily,
that even if I get anxious,
even if it’s a desert,
it’s the beautiful Namib Desert
They now find themselves at a crossroad. The sea, they once spend their years walking through the endless desert for, seems like it gives no more comfort than the sand. The blue sea is nothing more than the golden desert. Perhaps there are one. They console themselves; that even a desert to the sea is still something beautiful. This too is a trial they will understand and overcome.
This place that I thought was the sea was actually a desert,
and our second name was “idols from a small agency with no connections”
We were cut from broadcast countless times
To fill in for someone was our dream
Some said we won’t be able to make it big because we’re from a small company
I know I know
A common misunderstanding surrounds the story of how BTS rose to where they are now. There are misconceptions of how their success came easy, that there was no one ruffled by what they had achieved. But this could not be further from the truth. The story of BTS is something that remains remarkable. The story of struggle and the story of fate. A group from a small company, their privilege limited, even their debut performance had been born out of chance.
I know I know I know as well
The days when seven of us tried to sleep in one room
The faith we had before falling asleep that tomorrow would be different
The mirage of a desert
Though I could see its form, I couldn’t grasp it
I prayed that we would survive in this desert that felt endless
I prayed that it wasn’t reality
Eventually the mirage was caught by us and became reality,
and the desert we feared got filled with our blood, sweat, and tears to become the sea
But what are these fears among all this happiness?
We know too well that this place was originally a desert
Here BTS talk of how they realize the sea they finally crossed to meet wasn’t simply a body of water but a reservoir of all their blood, sweat and tears. A sea born out of their struggles and hard work, a sea born out of everything they’d face together as one. A sea that would have not existed if it wasn’t for what they had given for their dreams.
Suga then says he doesn’t want to rest; he doesn’t want to cry either. J-Hope suggests they should rest. RM is adamant; they can’t stop now. Suga talks of how this desert too was once a sea. How could they stop now knowing it could dry up? RM stands up, he says they need to run. J-Hope says they’ll have to fill the desert with their tears too.
Sea ends with the lyrics, “Wherever there’s hope, there’s a despair.” It is the story of BTS, of how they came alive, of everything they went through. It is also the story of how hope and despair are twins, despair, a shadow of hope, and how they follow one another.
The story of BTS is not easy. Sea allows us a glimpse into it. It is the story of how BTS know of what they went through. Of how they leaned against one another to come to where they are now. It is a story of BTS' trials but it is also a story of BTS' hope. Of how they continued to persist. And of how that persistence brought them to where they are now, as well.
In his interview for Billboard, RM explained that Sea remained a hidden track (a track only found in a physical album) because it was something that was special between BTS and ARMYs.
Sea reminds us of the role fate and destiny played in the story of BTS. It is a song of our trials and tribulations, a reminder of the desert we crossed to see the sea, a reminder that we are the desert and we are the sea.
Where there is hope, there is trial. Where there is trial, there is hope. The sea and the desert cannot survive without one another after all. We are one.
Lyric Translation: Doolset Bangtan