BTS released “Spring Day” on February 13, 2017, and two years on it still has the same freshness and emotional pull that’s made it the longest-charting song in history on South Korea’s Gaon chart. Yet somehow, “Spring Day” is also a song that was immediately nostalgic on release.
BTS have always been able to tap into the most visceral emotions of youth. In their first trilogy (2 Cool 4 Skool, O!RUL8,2?, Skool Luv Affair) it was the societal pressures to be perfect students; in their most recent Love Yourself trilogy they traversed the complexities and transformative powers of love.
And in their The Most Beautiful Moment in Life era, they dreamt of utopian youth. There were rally cries to not be discouraged, to fight back, to have fun! But even in BTS’ world every up has a down, and “Spring Day” is the contemplation that comes with growing up, experiencing loss, but still looking for the silver lining.
The universal appeal of “Spring Day”, what has kept it in the public consciousness for two years, is in no small part thanks to its lyrics that remain open to interpretation. The song is weighted with juxtapositions: hopelessness allayed by wishful thinking; longing comforted by thoughts of a brighter time to come. The title itself alludes to an ephemeral time of beauty that passes quickly - the season of cherry blossoms that comes in Spring.
The mid-tempo pace that’s kept up with rock-meets-alt pop instrumentation is subtly anthemic - it doesn’t boast, it builds. From the opening’s simple words of "I miss you" ("보고 싶다") through to the final "Please stay there a little longer" ("그곳에 좀 더 머물러줘"), you go on a journey with the music building along the way.
When Jungkook sings "Wait a little bit, just a few more nights/I'll be there to see you/I'll come for you" ("조금만 기다리면/며칠 밤만 더 새우면/만나러 갈게/데리러 갈게"), his almost-desperate hope is felt. Each member’s vocals are purposeful: like when Suga’s voice becomes exceedingly impassioned on his rap, or how V’s pitch changes when he sings "You know it all/You’re my best friend/the morning will come again" ("아침은 다시 올 거야").
In that way, “Spring Day”’s broad and continued appeal comes from its timeless lyrics and music. K-pop often aims to hit trends (looking at you 2017/18 tropical house songs) but "Spring Day" is classic in its sentiment and music.
You can take what meaning you need from their words and seek comfort from the difficulties in your life, no matter what path you walk. As the reissue album from which the song is taken says, you never walk alone, and that’s what BTS want you to know.
When a group coalesces so perfectly with the emotional core of their song, to the point where the delivery is piercingly authentic, they create a timeless piece of art. That’s what BTS did with “Spring Day”.
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