Bangtan Universe – “The Truth Untold” Explained

Bangtan Universe – “The Truth Untold” Explained

A song about a man entangled in despair and misery due to his inability to love himself.

“Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Park Jimin, Kim Taehyung, Jeon Jungkook: BTS”, you’ll hear this chant in a chorus of voices, cheering on BTS as they stand on stage to perform their songs that have taken the world by storm. The seven members of BTS stand at the center of a legacy like no other, and it all started with a dream, hard work, endurance, and persistence out of sheer love. Trying to explain BTS, their story, and their successes in just a few sentences would be like trying to capture the ocean and its treasures in a vial due to its depth and dimensions. No one has ever been who they are and it is doubtful that anyone ever will be. Every song and album they have created are masterpieces and they comprise of deep and meaningful lyrics as well as amazing discography. Through their music, BTS has conquered every corner of the world, and thus, they are the talk of the media. However, most people are ignorant of their alternate universe, “Bangtan Universe” which is a key component that makes them unique and inventive in comparison to others. When considering the Bangtan universe as a whole, it’s a colossal web intertwined with storylines and parallels. Yet, through their song “The Truth Untold” we can get a rough understanding of the Bangtan Universe.

239672639e14f7a33b9b3032a4771bf36d01f192r1-640-1024v2_hq“Love Yourself” or loving oneself is a concept strongly promoted by BTS, where they insist that no one can love anyone or anything without loving oneself. Thus, their “Love Yourself” trilogy and their Map of the Soul album series portray the steps that would guide them to accepting and loving themselves. The song, “The Truth Untold” is a song that resonates with me the most, since it emphasizes the manner in which lack of self-love leads to despair and demise. Since many young people, including myself, struggle to accept and express ourselves, I believe it is one of the greatest songs of BTS. The discography of the song, the ‘Truth Untold’ is astounding on its own, yet it is best to have a proper understanding of the lyrics and the story behind the song.

The song makes a direct reference to Italian folklore – “La Citta di Smeraldo”. The story describes a man who is said to be “ugly” and lives in a castle all by himself. He is an illegitimate child of a duke and therefore, was the victim of the hate of the Duke’s wife and her children. Just like in Beauty and the Beast a young girl steals flowers from his majestic garden in order to make the ends meet. When he first sees the missing flowers, he becomes quite displeased and attempts to capture the thief. However, when he finds that it was a young girl, he disguises himself and looks for her. Subsequently, he realizes the truth and the dire situation of the girl. He then decides to introduce himself as well as to help her by creating an expensive flower. During this period, he unconsciously starts expecting her visits and gradually becomes attached to her. After a long-time, he successfully creates the most beautiful blue flower called “Smeraldo” (Emerald) and notices that she is no longer visiting his garden. He then learns about her unfortunate death and becomes agitated. It is said that he spends the rest of his life in despair and misery, contemplating whether her life could have been saved if he was able to face her. The moral of the story, as interpreted by BTS, is that people are entrapped in the depths of misery and darkness due to the lack of self-love and confidence. The protagonist would have probably felt much better, had he talked to her and confronted his fears and insecurities. In addition, another aspect is that the way people are affected by childhood trauma and dysfunctional families. The man was highly affected by his childhood trauma caused by the Duke’s wife’s actions as well as by nasty comments made by people.

Furthermore, when considering the amazing lyricism of “The Truth Untold”, it is more poetic and symbolic than the story itself. First and foremost, the first two verses of the song introduce the two characters of the isolated man and the young girl.

“Full of loneliness
This garden bloomed
Full of thorns
I bind myself in this sandcastle

What is your name?
Do you have a place to go?
Oh, could you tell me?
I saw you hiding in this garden”[1]

Here, the imagery of the “sandcastle” and the “garden full of thorns” is symbolic of the way he seeks refuge in a fragile and transitory place full of insecurities and vulnerabilities. Moreover, they are similar in certain aspects since none of them have a name and identity. Besides, both of them seem to prefer hiding and confining themselves rather than expressing themselves. Hence, these two verses portray them as two individuals who are far from accepting themselves, since having an identity and knowing oneself is an important step towards self- love. The next three verses emphasize the persona’s internal struggles with his insecurities. He explains how he prefers to masquerade his true self although deep down he wants to express his true self to the girl. Furthermore, he accepts the fact even though he has no identity for himself – “there’s no name you can call me”, he still desires to be acquainted.

“And I know
All of your warmth is real
The blue flower your hand was picking
I want to hold it but

It’s my fate
Don’t smile to me
Light on me
Because I can’t get closer to you
There’s no name you can call me

You know that I can’t
Show you me
Give you me
I can’t show you a ruined part of myself
Once again I put a mask on and go to see you
But I still want you” [1]

The next verses of the song once again highlight how attempts to hide the shadow of his darkest secrets, referred to as the “monster”, behind a mask and a new persona, while knowing that it is futile and transient.

“Bloomed in a garden of loneliness
A flower that resembles you
I wanted to give it to you
After I take off this foolish mask

But I know
I can’t do that forever
I have to hide Because
I’m a monster” [1]

Throughout the next few verses, he explains how worried and agitated he is due to his internal crisis and that the only way to survive is to keep faking a new persona until everything breaks down – leaving him alone and miserable. This is quite foreshadowing, as he is ultimately left alone yearning for love he never had.

“I am afraid
I am shattered
I’m so afraid
That you will leave me again in the end
Once again I put on a mask and go to see you

The only thing I can do
In the garden, In this world
Is to bloom a pretty flower that resembles you
And to breathe as the ‘me’ that you know
But I still want you
I still want you” [1]

002cb2d1ab066dd141bff1ded5f34b19 (2)In the final verses, he comes to the realization that the lack of courage and confidence in himself led to his demise. It is quite ironic that “the desire to change his life originates from loving somebody other than himself” [2] and losing someone made him comprehend the importance of self-love and acceptance. Finally, with the mask “broken”, he understands who he is, but unfortunately, he is left alone with nothing but utter despair and the repetitive yearning for his love. Thus, he is stuck in the past consumed by his own monsters and shadows.

“Maybe back then
A little
Just this much
If I had the courage to stand before you
Would everything be different now?

I’m crying
That’s disappeared
That’s fallen
Left alone in this sandcastle
Looking at this broken mask

And I still want you
But I still want you
But I still want you
And I still want you” [1]

Hence, by referring to the ancient folktale, BTS has revealed “The Truth Untold”, that is, “Loving yourself is the only way to accept love from someone else and save yourself”. [2] Just as the persona in the folktale, BTS in the Bangtan Universe is not yet aware of the “Truth Untold” and thus, they are far from saving themselves from the miseries that will be thrown at them in the future. However, in their albums series, “Map of the Soul – Persona, Shadow, Journey and Ego” as well as in their upcoming albums, these boys would find the path to self-love and definitely set alight stars of hope, joy, and love in the little universe of purple hearts.

– Rtr Piyumini Buddhika

 

Bibliography

[1] https://genius.com/Genius-english-translations-bts-the-truth-untold-english-translation-lyrics

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kuXPgqx2qQ

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Vagisha Purohit

All my heart ! This is so well written. The boys are so proud of you <3

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