BTS’ Telepathy Tells Us About How Love and Happiness Are Tied
In this month’s #WordsByBangtan, we reflect on BTS songs that make us feel happy. BTS’ discography gives us a song for every single emotion. There are songs that sing of love, of grief, of loss, the need to be held and understood.
There are songs that speak about what it means to be human. And then there are songs that speak of what it means to be happy. To be human, after all, is to seek happiness, to find purpose, and make up for our grievances. For the loss of life and everything that comes with it.
When I think of happiness, the first song that comes to my mind is Telepathy. The fifth song off BTS’ album BE, Telepathy is a commemoration of the love that exists between BTS and ARMY.
When questioned about the theme that exists behind it, Suga was quick to answer. He explained how the Korean title ‘잠시’ translated into ‘for a moment’. “When I wrote this track, I wanted to tell everyone that we’ll be able to meet each other if we wait just for a moment.” He said in an interview for Zach Sang.
He explained that there was a moment where he believed the outbreak would have been over in a few months. What he thought would last for a single moment had somehow turned into something much more.
Telepathy begins with Jungkook, Jimin and Suga going,
In the days that feel the same,
I’m the happiest when I meet you
In my everyday life that is different every day,
the person that is you is the most special to me
Telepathy is a commemoration of the love that exists between BTS and their fans, ARMY. It is a direct ode to their fans — where they speak of how happy BTS are because of them. How meaningful the love between them is, as well.
Suga goes onto asking the listener if they’re doing alright, if they’re happy and healthy. He leans back, musing, he’s doing well, he thinks. He has too much time in his hands now. “With this much time,” He says, “I’m writing a song like this. This song is for you.”
J-Hope and Jungkook then start their verse;
Hey, let’s leave for the blue ocean,
The blue ocean where we used to romp around together
Meaningless worries, for a moment
Lay them down, for a moment
Let’s enjoy it among ourselves,
The little island in the middle of the blue ocean that we reminisce about together
BTS’ constant use of the sea as a metaphor comes with little to no surprise if you are an avid listener of the septet. In BTS’ Sea from Love Yourself; Her, they speak of searching for an ocean, only to find an endless sea of sand.
Telepathy is something more hopeful. It is BTS telling their fans that the world outside of them doesn’t really matter anymore. They have what they want. They know what’s meaningful. It is BTS speaking of finding refuge with their fans and reminiscing of what they share together, in a little bubble, far away from everything.
Waking up like the wild grass in the morning,
I check on you, like a mirror
Instead of sleep, in my eyes it’s full of you
My knees covered in bruises, they feel heavy again
Walking on the streets, I think about
the streets of ours that this star allows for us
Oh can I be your Bibilly Hills
Like you did the same to me
RM’s verse speaks of how overwhelmed with love he is for ARMY. “Instead of sleep, in my eyes, it’s full of you.” Their fans are the first thought in his mind as he wakes up. And like his appearance in the mirror, their fans are the ones he keeps checking to see if they’re okay.
RM then talks of how he can be the ‘Bibilly Hills’ for ARMY, the same way they were for him. Muish, an incredible ARMY translator who does much work on BTS’ lyrics, wrote more about how the term comes from the expression, ‘Even a cow needs a hill to rub against when he’s itchy’. The Korean proverb is an expression of how every single one of us needs support and something to rely on to believe in ourselves and get work done as well.
In RM’s verse, he asks ARMY if he can support them in the same way they did for them — providing solace or comfort in moments where they truly need someone.
Things that are too fast are a bit dangerous
Things that are too slow are a bit boring
Not too fast
And not too slow
Let’s go at our own speed
This is quite a fun and long rollercoaster
Here, BTS alludes their journey in music as a roller coaster ride. They agree that there will always be moments when the ride slows down but there will also always be moments when they come back up as well. The pace they have now is enough, let us enjoy these moments together, they say.
BTS end Telepathy with their last lines to their fans, “Among the days that feel the same, I feel happiest when I meet you. Among the different everyday lives, you are the most special person to me.”
In the Global Press Conference for BE, Jin stated that Telepathy was a way of them being able to share their moments with their fans and the happiness they felt with them as well.
Telepathy is a commemoration of the love that exists between BTS and ARMY but it is also a reminder of their most precious moments. It is them telling their fans that this too will be a fleeting moment before a new, happier memory surpasses it. That there is time and there will be a moment where our robbed sense of normalcy can be restored again.
It is an ode by BTS to their fans, celebrating their happiest memories. It is them explaining what happiness means to them and how happiness and love aren’t something separate at all.
Telepathy remains an ode by BTS to their fans. This too is another moment before the next, they say. The moment after it as well. The love that exists between BTS and their fans is tied closely to their memories. They will continue to make more.
Until then, let us continue to sing and find happiness in one another. Sooner than later, our moments will all turn into memories. Let us sing and look back one day without any regret.
Let us be happy together on this little island, in the middle of the blue ocean, just for now.
Lyric Translations are taken from Doolset Bangtan.