Continuing on our exploration of the meanings behind the songs in BIGBANG’s “MADE” album, we come to my second favorite song in the album, and to be honest one of the least expected types of songs to come from them, especially as a South Korean artists. A snazzy mix of blues and pop with some sweet synth here and there, “Let’s Not Fall in Love” is a beautiful ballad that takes the listener on a trip away from the established norms of love songs, and instead asks why they are so accepted. Not a breakup song, less of a love song, Let’s Not Fall in Love asks its titular question: can we love each other without being in love?
Daesung’s bangs tho.
When it comes to KPOP in general, love songs tend to come in two varieties: the typical “I-love-you-you’re-amazing” type, and the “I-hate-how-you-left-me-why’d-you-go” type, with some variations within each of those categories. South Korea is a country that places a high emphasis on young marriage, so no surprise that a large amount of the songs created by its country’s artists are about the experience and feelings of love, and the complications that result from those feelings. But just because the culture encourages songs of a particular type doesn’t mean that those who create songs will try to innovate within that genre; indeed, there are few paths as well-worn in the music industry than love songs, whether they are Korean or otherwise. I personally don’t listen to a lot of girl groups simply because after a while, all the love songs start to sound the same.
There are reasons I don’t listen to Girl’s Generation, aside from there being nine members to keep track of.
In keeping with their trend of subverting tropes with the MADE album, BIGBANG presents a different side of the typical love story in Let’s Not Fall in Love, and they recognize several very important truths about love and relationships that I feel we can all learn from, especially as Christians.
Thought about not having a pic of T.O.P since he’s already the featured image, but you can never have enough T.O.P.
The song opens with T.O.P singing (in his deep, beautiful voice):
Let’s not fall in love, we don’t know each other very well yet
Actually, I’m a little scared,
Let’s not make promises, you never know when tomorrow comes
But I really mean it when I say
I like you.
The very first line of the song recognizes a simple truth that many songs either overlook or ignore: love takes time to develop. While people can be attracted to one another very quickly, truly deep, lasting love takes time to cultivate within one’s heart. There really isn’t such a thing as “love at first sight”, because to love is to put another’s needs and desires above your own. How can you love someone you don’t know? Communication is the lifeblood of a relationship, the glue that holds people together; as you grow to know someone, you grow to love them as well. I can honestly say that I never knew I would become as close as I am to one of my friends when I first met her. We both kind of knew each other mostly through siblings, but as we spent time together and learned about one another, our relationship grew and we became best friends. Love is time given to someone else.
You know you can’t resist GD’s charms.
The fourth line expands on what we learned in the first line by showing that love requires commitment. An intimate relationship doesn’t simply appear overnight: there must be a commitment of time and energy in order to understand another person. Commitment is a necessity for the relationship to succeed, and this extends to all types of personal relationships. But commitment is scary, and when you’re not even sure of your own feelings, how can you be committed to someone else? Daesung and Taeyang both ask this question as they sing:
Don’t ask me anything
I can’t give you an answer
We’re so happy as we are right now.
Don’t try to have me
Let’s just stay like this
You’re making it more painful, why?
They both recognize the love that the other person has for them, and yet are scared to reciprocate that love because they know what it entails. Love requires commitment, and the foundation of that commitment is extremely important in determining the health of the relationship, and whether or not love truly exists between the people within it. Love fueled solely by emotion only lasts as long as the emotion does, and it leads to heartbreak later on as T.O.P sings
Goodbyes after our frequent meet-ups
Repetition of broken hearts.
I can’t find a purpose
In these foolish feelings
A mistake with the mask of love
All the feelings are the same now
Taeyang: proving pink is manly since 2015.
This then begs the question: if love requires time and commitment, but isn’t dependent on emotions, what is it? What then is the essence of love?
We see it subtly throughout the song: as Seungri asks his love
Don’t smile at me
If I get attached to you, I’ll get sad
I’m afraid that pretty smile will turn to tears
As G-Dragon explains that:
At first, it was half excitement,
But in the end, it became an obligation, trial and error
Day by day, I get nervous
Your innocence is too much pressure on me
And Taeyang warns:
Don’t expect too much from me,
I don’t wanna lose you either
Before things get too deep, before you get hurt
Don’t trust me.
The message they keep sending is “don’t get close to me, I don’t want to hurt you”, and yet their actions speak volumes of the affection that they have for the women they love. How is this kind of juxtaposition possible?
Best pic I could get of Seungri since he was barely in the MV.
Because the essence of love is self-denial.
As believers, the love that we show to other people is a reflection of our love for God: the more we love Him, the more we love others. Thus, the more we die to ourselves, the more we live for Him, and the greater our love becomes. Love requires self-denial and self-sacrifice, which lead to commitment and time spent with the object of our desire. Maybe it’s a person, maybe it’s a job, but true love elevates another’s needs above your own.
To place another person’s desires above your own requires that you lower yourself and your own desires. And as the members of BIGBANG demonstrate, love requires this basic understanding in order to flourish and grow, but a love based on feelings and ideals will eventually fail. To save the women who love them, they sing of waiting, of keeping their relationship from progressing too fast, of saving the expression of love for when it can be fulfilled after it has been affirmed by time and commitment given.
Let’s not fall in love.
Let’s grow to love.
As always, thanks for taking the time to read my posts here at Unsheathed. If you liked what you read, please drop me a comment down below to tell me what you enjoyed, or what you think I could improve on. I’m hoping to keep doing a series on Korean music and/or drama on Fridays, let me know what you guys think. 🙂