BTS: Agust D ‘D-DAY’ Album Review

Screenshot of Min Yoongi in the music video for “Haegeum” from his new album ‘D-DAY’. Copyright goes to BIGHIT Music and Min Yoongi.

Hey! Hallie here!

I haven’t been reviewing all of the recent releases from the members of BTS, but we’ve seen them fully explore their beliefs, mental health, and identities with these last few album releases. As a BTS fan I’m extremely proud of them and more willing than ever to let them know that I appreciate all the sides of them that they choose to share with the fans. And I also think that all of them are coming out with some of their best work in general right now. Yoongi’s new album under the name Agust D, ‘D-DAY’, is no exception. This album is full of intense backing tracks, insane flow, and heart-wrenching messages. Despite the badassery of the songs in this album, I still cried while listening to it. The depth here is perfection and yet somehow no surprise coming from Yoongi. There’s so much to talk about here, so I’m going to get right into all the amazing things that gripped me while I listened to this album.

The Hard Hitting: The first half of this album is full of songs that are more fast paced and reject what society considers unacceptable. “D-Day” opens up the album swinging, with a song that mixes a slower pre-chorus with an extremely addictive beat. The song is specifically about looking to the future with not just hope, but determination. Letting go of the mistakes of the past, the feelings of inferiority, and what society considers “successful”. Instead, it encourages the listener to break out of these barriers and be reborn as their true self. Then there’s “Haegeum” the song on the album that has an accompanying MV. This song, for all of its insane backing track and fast-paced rap, is one of the most complex on the album. It discusses in depth the issue with sensationalizing controversy and blindly throwing hate at other people, but also with accepting everything society views as acceptable including capitalism. The song is meant to be a call to free yourself from the black and white thinking we constantly see on the internet and to form your own opinions. The MV flirts with the message of the song by showing Yoongi and his Agust D persona smoking and committing various crimes. All of these things could be considered controversial as major staples for a music video, but the song itself challenges why he should face extra scrutiny because of such minor things. The music video also parallels “Daechwita”, presenting a more modern take on a ruler, this time a possible mob boss version of Agust D, who is being actively stolen from by the scrappy poorer character, or Yoongi. We even get a scene at the end where Yoongi shoots Agust D. I have no idea what these parallels might mean, but I do find it interesting that these characters committed more acts of violence against each other this time around.

Then we have “HUH?!”, the song that features J-Hope. This song targets the people who purposefully attempt to undermine Yoongi’s, and by extension BTS’s, popularity by stirring up gossip. The song brushes off that behavior as ignorant while Yoongi and Hoseok rap about their success. I love hearing these two together, particularly because of how powerful and aggressive Yoongi’s style is as opposed to Hoseok’s ability to adapt to the beat with a more melodic sound. Another hard-hitting song on the album is “Polar Night”. The speed of the flow here sounds desperate and the beat is somber, but with a hip hop twist that keeps it moving. This song, more than any other, is about black and white thinking. It highlights how people firmly choose sides and make enemies of each other, spreading more hate than if we had stayed quiet. The song does warn against staying silent, but also points out how noise just to spread hate gets us nowhere as well. I find it interesting that, of these songs with the pace and “screw you” attitude of “Daechwita” we see a lot of criticism of the ways people treat each other on the internet. He warns against being hateful, but it’s more than that. He’s criticizing the way everyone now feels comfortable to throw out their opinions on the internet while dehumanizing the people they’re arguing against. The ability to wave off someone else’s opinion as being idiotic without opening the floor for a productive conversation creates an even more toxic environment than the one we started with and, as Yoongi points out, can deeply harm others. Although I do believe that some controversy can lead to justice, I do think that we as a society look for the next controversy with too much eagerness. I respect Yoongi for bringing attention to that fact.

The Soft and Sad: Our first softer song is “AMYGDALA”. It starts with a simple guitar backing track and Yoongi’s vocals, while digitized, stay melodic to add to this calmer, slower feel. This song feels extremely close to Yoongi. The lyrics talk about the hardships he’s faced in his life, from the way he feels about his mother’s heart surgery after his birth, to the accident he got into as a trainee, to his father’s cancer. He talks about how he deeply struggles with these things but was also able to endure them. It’s an extremely personal song, and I honestly just feel grateful that he felt comfortable sharing these difficult feelings with his fans. “SDL” takes everything in a completely different direction with a song with a sung chorus about love. It talks about a lost love, but also about how love can be broader than what we envision. It can come in the form of a life goal, a reason to get up in the morning, or a happy memory. This one is just cozy and nostalgic, which I appreciated after some of the more emotional songs earlier in the album. Then there’s “People Pt.2” featuring IU. I’m not surprised IU’s on this track because this one has the calmest and most jazzy feel to it, which fits her voice perfectly. Going between IU’s singing and Yoongi’s rap, the song also tackles the idea of love. But instead of exploring what love is, it explores whether love is meant to be temporary or permanent, and whether the sadness experienced in relationships is just dread to lose the ones we love. 

These last two songs made me the most emotional out of all of the songs on the album. The first is “Snooze”, a collaboration with the incredibly talented Woosung from The Rose as well as Ryuichi Sakamoto. This one Yoongi said he made for those in the industry who are younger than him, but it feels like he’s speaking to all of us who are uncertain about how to navigate the pressure we feel when we’re pursuing something we consider important. He tells the listener not to push themselves as hard as he pushed himself and not to make themselves miserable. He reassures the listener that it’s alright to rest and that he will be there to support them when things get hard. He talks about how life is unkind and the journey to following your dreams can be full of enemies, but he reminds us to make happiness where we can, allow ourselves to cry when we’ve run out of happiness, and reach a hand out to others who are also struggling. And ultimately, he tells us we’ll be ok. And that is what makes this song emotional for me. Because aside from the amazing lyricism, vocals, and gorgeous backing track, the song makes me think that even when times are darkest, I’ll be ok. At the end of the album we have Yoongi’s version of “Life Goes On” which, while sounding different, keeps the tone and parts of his verse from the BTS song. This addition to the album makes a lot of sense given that a good chunk of it was created during the pandemic. The lyrics here feel bitter sweet. He talks about how his relationship with his fans has been strong for a while, but he also talks about how he knows he will have to stop creating at one point and hopes that we won’t completely forget him once that happens. And of course we won’t. ARMY will be here for him, and for all of BTS, forever. I hope he will remember that for as long as we remember him.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


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