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Agust D’s D-DAY: References You May Have Missed

“Future’s gonna be okay, okay, okay, look at the mirror and I see no pain, I’d die for real ’til the D-Day.”

Image of Agust D in his music video for "People Pt. 2" and "Amygdala."
Credit: HYBE LABELS

On April 21st, Suga from the K-pop group, BTS,  released his latest project under the artist’s name, Agust D: D-DAY. D-DAY is the final album in his trilogy that began with his 2016 debut album, Agust D, and continued with his second album D-2 (2020).

Many of the themes and ideas in D-DAY are similar to Agust D’s previous projects. The artist’s rage and frustration at not being seen as a real hip-hop artist, searching for freedom to express himself, anxieties, depression, and chasing after one’s dream. 

Suga, whose real name is Min Yoon-gi, introduced fans to the personna Agust D in 2016 with his debut album. While Suga from BTS was able to be honest and critical in his songs, Agust D allowed Min Yoon-gi to break free of any confines he may have had working as an idol. The artist expresses his anger and frustration through his lyrics. His lyrics also show him reflecting on his success and the steps he took to be where he is today.

“Haeugeum:” An Explosive Confrontation

D-DAY opens up with three explosive tracks. In “D-Day,” Agust D raps about overcoming the pain of the past and moving forward toward a better future. The artist offers encouraging words to both himself and the listener as he repeatedly raps “future’s gonna be okay,” and “don’t regret the past, don’t be afraid of the future, man, I hope you can avoid getting hit and hurt enough.” 

In “Haegeum,” Agust D raps about freedom, conformity, and removing barriers in order to move forward. It’s a critique of our current society where there’s an influx of distracting information. It’s also a critique of capitalism that causes us to live lives we don’t want to live.

Really, what is it exactly that’s been restricting us? 

Maybe we do it to ourselves

Slaves to capitalism, slaves to money

Slaves to hatred and prejudice

Slaves to YouTube, slaves to flexin’

Selfishness and greed have gone off the rails

I close my eyes and it’s easy, it’s all so obvious

Opinions clearly split depending on what’s to gain

Everyone’s been blinded by envy and jealousy

Without realizing that they’re putting shackles on each other

genius.com

To emphasize this desire for freedom from all of these things, Agust D uses the metaphor of a haegeum. A haegeum is a traditional Korean instrument with two strings and a bow. However, the word haegeum also means something else to Agust D. 

“Freedom from forbidden. Why don’t I break free from those things.”

IU’s Pallette with Suga ep. 19

It’s a song about freeing one’s self from the constraints of our world and living the life that you want to live. In the music video for “Haegeum,” Agust D kills a version of himself that’s obsessed with chasing after money and fame. The music video is violent and shows how much Agust D struggled to confront this part of his identity and move past this. 

“AMYGDALA:” Reflection and Acceptance

The energy from the first two songs continues in the third track, “HUH?!,” which Agust D collaborated on with j-hope, another member of BTS. The song points a finger at listeners and haters, asking listeners “What the shit, do you know about me? Fuck that shit, you think you know ‘bout me.” Haters want to live his life but they don’t know anything about what he’s done to have this life. This idea serves as a great transition to his next song, my favorite song from the album. 

In the next three tracks, the artist slows things down and talks about more personal moments. Agust D’s song “AMYGDALA” could be referring to an amygdala hijack to relate to his personal trauma. An amygdala is a part of the brain that processes threatening and fearful stimuli. When a situation triggers an extreme emotional threat, it could cause an immediate and overwhelming emotional response, which is called an amygdala hijack. In his song “AMYGDALA,” Agust D talks about his mother’s heart surgery, his shoulder injury, and his father’s liver cancer– things that deeply affected him and caused him a lot of pain. 

My amygdala (my amygdala)

Please save me, please save me

My amygdala (my amygdala)

Please let me out, please let me out

My amygdala (my amygdala)

My amygdala (my amygdala)

Save me from here, hurry and get me out of here

genius.com

Agust D references his shoulder injury and how much this caused him emotional turmoil in his music video for “AMYGDALA.” In the video, the artist relives the day when he hurt his shoulder in an automobile accident while he was working. For a moment, his younger self sees his older self, laying in pain, and tries to run to help. This song reflects on the decisions we make following traumatic moments and how we reminisce on these decisions, wondering if we made the right choice in those moments. 

“People Pt. 2:” Learning Lessons from the Past

In “SDL” and “People Pt. 2” Agust D raps about feelings of love and missing someone he loves. He reflects on a relationship that’s ended and about how they dreamed of a future together. In “People Pt. 2,” he references a song from Agust D (2016), singing “so far away,” which refers to his song “So Far Away.” In the music video for “People Pt. 2,” Agust D moves throughout his daily life in silence, seemingly reflecting on his past relationship and how he’s grown from this. It’s a peaceful video that shows the calmer side of growth.

“Polar Nights” offers more criticisms. The song blatantly calls out how people will argue over what’s right and wrong and how this leads to nothing being fixed. After this charged song, Agust D introduces a calming instrumental, “Interlude: Dawn.” “Interlude: Dawn” begins calmly and slowly grows and intensifies as the song continues. It’s a transition to the final two songs of the album where Agust D offers his final pieces of advice.

Also referencing a song from Agust D (2016), “Snooze” takes lyrics from his song “So Far Away.” In the song, the artist encourages listeners to continue moving forward in life and to pursue the life you want. Continue to grow and love. 

Dream

I will be there for your creation ‘til the end of your life

Dream

Be generous, wherever you might be

Dream

You will fully bloom, after all the hardships

Dream

The beginning may be weak, but the end may be great

Dream

genius.com

There’s a similar message in the final song of the album, “Life Goes On.” In the song, Agust D ends the album by reflecting on what’s happened and what’s to come. D-DAY is about encouraging listeners to grow and keep living. It promotes awareness of your influences and all the forces that may try to get in your way.

Written By

Isó is a second-year student studying creative writing and screenwriting at The University of Iowa. They love dressing up to go nowhere, listening to ghost stories, and taking pictures of their cats.

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