Agust D D Day Review

Agust D Takes On The Future and Lets Go Of The Past on ‘D-Day’

“The past is gone, the future is far away / What are you afraid of?” Acceptance of the past and courage to face what the future brings is at the forefront of Suga of BTS’ mind on the finale of his trilogy of releases under the moniker Agust D. D-Day marks the first official album release for the rapper, though it follows the mixtapes Agust D and D-2. A major thing listeners have and will take notice of Suga’s solo work is the contrast to his work as a member of BTS. It’s raw, brutal, and not afraid to bare its fangs. With that said, there have been softer moments throughout previous releases, but the tension was still thick in the air.

Listening to D-Day, the rapper shows listeners a more mature version of Agust D, one that is more hopeful, if not still cautious and critical. The opening track of the album, “D-Day,” shows Agust D at his most optimistic, declaring that the “future’s gonna be okay” and that he’s able to “look in the mirror and I see no pain.” This readiness to take on a new day continues throughout the album, though we also become privy to the rapper’s true feelings about issues that plague the individual and the world at large. The album’s lead single “Haegeum,” a title that refers to a traditional string instrument and is also the Korean word for liberation, is where Agust D wastes no time digging deep. Poignant lines like, “Freedom of expression / Could be reason for someone’s death / Could you still consider that freedom?” bring to the forefront the problems of living in an age where everyone is terminally online and lets an overabundance of information, both real and fake, control them.

The social commentary continues on tracks like the rhythmic and swaggering “Polar Night,” where he confronts the extremes of societal and political divisiveness in the world. “Selective hypocrisy and uncomfortable attitude / That interpretation that only suits my mood,” he bitterly calls out. On the drill track “HUH?!”, featuring fellow BTS member J-Hope, the firey side of Agust D comes back in this track, with the two rappers confronting their haters. While this easily could have just been a diss track, there are moments where we see this new direction Agust D is taking. “If reality is a gutter, get out of it / I pray that even you’ll do well,” he imparts in the first verse.

D-Day as a whole has a good mix of both wider commentary for the world, and personal reflection and growth. The beautiful track “Snooze” featuring the late Ryuichi Sakamoto and Woosung of The Rose, is a powerful and dramatic ballad, serving as a comforting hand to those who are chasing their dreams. Agust D shares his experiences as an artist, and while emphasizing the importance of not letting go of your dreams, also tells us it’s okay to take a break, and that it won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. The rapper even makes a reference to his song “So Far Away” from his first mixtape, furthering the theme of acknowledging the past, but not letting it control you. With Sakamoto’s excellent and beautifully simple piano and Woosung’s powerful vocals. This song in particular, as well as “Interlude: Dream,” an instrumental track, we get to see a further exploration of the diversity in Agust D’s influences, with his gift for creating heartstring pulling arrangements.

Agust D hasn’t been afraid to be incredibly vulnerable and open in his work before, and the next track “Amygdala” is no exception. Named after the part of the brain commonly thought to help the brain process fearful and threatening stimuli, the rapper tells of the traumas of his past, including his mother having heart surgery, an accident where he was hit by a car and hurt his shoulder, and of his father’s liver cancer diagnosis. It’s incredibly heartbreaking, but Agust D reflects on these experiences as moments that have made him a more resilient person. He brings back the symbolism of a lotus emerging from mud first mentioned in “D-Day,” declaring that he will rise from the depths of despair and come back stronger.

The rapper also takes time to explore his thoughts about relationships on the tracks “SDL” and “People Pt. 2” featuring IU. Both tracks showcase more of Agust D’s singing ability placed over relaxing grooves, offering a nice rest from the more intense songs of the track, while not losing sight of its message, taking the larger issues of trying to find common ground with society and applying it to the people we are closest to.

Closing out the album, Agust D offers his version of the song “Life Goes On,” a song by BTS featured on their album Be. It’s a perfect send-off for the album, with the rapper accepting and moving on from the past, choosing to live in the moment and not let fear control them. It’s a full-bodied and soothing arrangement, offering a nice and comforting ending to a work that gives listeners a lot of think about.

As mentioned in the beginning, this album is the final one in the Agust D trilogy, and with it’s release, the growth he has gone through is plain to see. We are seeing an Agust D that has been through a lot, and instead of lashing out, he is acknowledging it and choosing to take a different path. D-Day is the journey of someone who has liberated himself, and through his work, hopes to liberate others.

Featured Image: BigHit Music

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