B-Sides: Your Pace
For many people, the holidays are a time of joyous occasions and happy family gatherings, but for others it can be particularly emotionally difficult for many reasons. We don’t always talk about the darker sides of the holidays or the struggles that a lot of people face when surrounded by bright lights and constantly happy sentiments. But when you’re feeling down, whether it’s due to the lack of sunlight or the sudden pressures felt from family gatherings, K-Pop is here to remind you it’s okay to take things at your own pace.
“My Pace” - Stray Kids
There seems no better place to start than with the uplifting and reassuring message behind Stray Kids’ “My Pace.” While on the surface it might not seem like the most inspiring song, I’ve found it to be a huge comfort on days when I’m feeling particularly down about myself. The constant chanting of not needing to rush and taking your time helps to drown out the ever-present message we receive that if we aren’t at the top of our game constantly, then we are useless. Every person’s progress looks different, but we all seem to forget that when we look around at others who appear to be moving ahead of us. Remember, regardless of what anyone says, “going ahead doesn’t mean you’re going to get there first.”
“Whalien 52” - BTS
BTS has a lot of songs that are particularly emotionally deep, but “Whalien 52” takes the cake, since the whole song is a giant metaphor for struggling with depression. The song really showcases the conflicting emotions many of us face where we want to express strength amidst loneliness, an exhaustion for the feelings, but still a deep-seated desire to keep moving forward despite how useless the effort may seem. The ability of the group to express all of these contradicting emotions makes the listener feel like their innermost feelings are truly understood, and sometimes that’s all we need to lift our spirits.
“Cut it Out” - 4Minute
A lot of the time, the holidays means facing extended family who feel the need to offer life advice to us even though we see them once during the year, or maybe even decide to give out stories about your cousins who are on a different path than you are. And let’s be honest, it can be extremely frustrating, and a lot of times we feel like our decisions are not respected, especially if they are going against the norm. It’s important to feel validated in your choices and remain confident, and 4Minute reminds us of that with “Cut it Out.” If you need a little bit more fighting spirit, this track is sure to bring it back to you even through difficulties.
“When” - Jay Park
Jay Park covers a lot of different genres and messaging in his releases, but “When” has a special place in my heart for dealing with the more difficult days life can throw at you. He features Tablo and discusses in the first verse how hip-hop is about passion and individuality, not just rap. This sentiment can be applied to just about anything in life, where others view success as something as basic as making money or being at the top of the food chain, when it’s really about passion for what you do. That passion is what should drive you and what differentiates you from the crowd.
“Do You” - RM
From his first solo album, RM’s main release is “Do You,” a song all about the importance of individuality and not listening to all the negative chatter around you. The particularly profound sentence “even if you’re not perfect, you’re limited edition” paints a strong picture of maintaining a sense of individuality in a world where we are often pressured to be molded to fit a standard.