Can you believe I listen to Young Forever everyday and cry buckets of tears? Lay the song dissection on me ~F
oh my god fhasdlgadg there is s omuch happening in this song, i’ll try my best to address them best i can. you could spend three days listening to it on repeat and still find hidden parts in the instrumentation or the vocals or the soundbites i just ugh. while reading this, please keep in mind that i’m not a professional musician nor am i an intense music student nor am i even particularly good at playing
my any instrument(s), so if you belong to one of the categories above: please don’t hate me lmao
1. electronic vocals (?)
in the original ver of young forever, the addition of electronic sounds manages to enhance the piece w/o overloading the listener. a lot of top 40′s lay on too much of these toggling effects after recording & i get bored of it real fast; it’s banal af and most songs ends up sounding the same. however, whoever produced this / was in charge of sound editing did a great job avoiding a lot of overdone trends !
the song opens with a really quiet, rather high vocal scat (for lack of better words) that is repeated throughout the rest of the piece w/o trying to catch attention. the whole point of this motif is to bring variety to the basic synth piano that starts off namjoon’s verse, but it keeps getting looped back over the chorus and is half-drowned out by the melody later on. it’s an interesting decision to bring it back again, esp when the casual listener won’t catch it.
when most of the instrumentation cuts out around the 2min mark with jungkook’s line, it becomes more prominent again, returning the theme of “quietude” back to the audience. the ending is pretty bare to the bones musically, but this high line is reminiscent of the beginning of the song, and brings everything back full circle. it’s drowned out most of the time, but i’m still in love with this tiny lil touch idk
2. usage of silence
right when namjoon’s voice comes in, the editor made the deliberate choice to leave in his intake of breath. this serves the purpose of making the bass line feel more impactful (aka that note drop u hear; i’m still trying to place what instrument that is) it’s the juxtaposition of the opening, the intimacy of the inhale, and how namjoon gets past the first couple words w only synth support all serve to intensify that first real heavy note
not to forget, hoseok’s verse builds up the tension so high before wiping out completely. it’s the two (? maybe three) lines of percussion and the synth (sounds like unwinding VCR tape) that crescendo with his voice. the whole thing seems to “break” as it reaches the climax, serving to make his scream at the end even more intense. the whole rap part has been leading up to it, and i get chills every goddamn time mmfalsdkhg
this is the same with jungkook’s part. the vocals have a more noticeable percussion line, and the snare (?) drum speeds up + crescendos into the silence. only when EVERYTHING drops out with him, do the busywork of all these melodies and countermelodies smooth out into clapping, the high opening line, and very obvious piano. there are also tons of layered vocals weaving in and out.
there is so much power in the silence as well. the silence right after hoseok’s verse where he yells into the deep, his lines climbing higher n higher every time, silence at 2:03 when jungkook sings, and silence at the beginning of the song. all of it is important to bring about a suspended, anticipated feeling to the listener ?????????and it makes things the song less cookie-cutter + more interesting
3. that One Bass Note
when counting in 4/4 (idk if it’s cut time or not lmao; both seem to work fine w the rhythm), that low bass comes in on the down beat of every two measures, so the suspension is more engaging than to have one every bar. it’s a really small thing, but it helps with the languid, drawled-out sorta feel that this song aims for.
both yoongi AND namjoon have very minimalistic starts to their lines. their rap begins on the pickup and the third word or so is really emphasized bc of the drop (idk what’s producing the noise tho / what exactly to call it). hoseok still gets that bass note, but he starts right on the down beat, which immediately changes the mood of the piece, but draws relatively little attention to it ????
4. musical buildup
the song gets built up verse by verse. namjoon starts with that high line, sparse piano chords, a sort of high-beeping noise that sounds like synth woodblock or something lmao. that sound goes off on the 3rd beat of every measure, while that bass note is the down beat of every second bar.
yoongi gets a fuller sound with low vocals, synth piano in a high ass tessitura (likely to compliment the opening motif), a really nice percussion line, and some nice low bass-y chords to bring in more depth. this is when the song starts sounding healthier, heartier, more gut-wrenching.
hoseok gets double percussion with the start of his lines. there’s a brassy, brush-like sound going on every beat, and a rat-a-tat-tat sorta thing that starts outta it at 1:06, and then takes up a life of it’s own. it has nice syncopation & it gets held off to every 3rd beat, right until taehyung starts singing. then it becomes a consistent line in the background of the song and it makes me nut so hard every time
this signifies a change in the overall dynamics and sound (???i guess) bc it calls in a more harried tone when vocal line goes In For The Kill. from then on, things stay pretty consistent (the electronic woodblock and that one bass note too!), except there are a bunch of easier heard percussion weaving in and out which is expected
5. layered vocals
throughout the song, there are tons of echoey lines, the ones that branch off from the main lyrics right away, others that circle back and show up while hidden way in the background. all it of constitutes to a hallowed sort of feel, like you’re standing on the beach or off a cliff or in a canyon with nothing around you for miles and miles and miles and it just???it takes that feeling of being Alone / at the end of ur time and really drives it home. this effect really goes with the theme of the song, especially when the lyrics turn out to be a death knell of sorts ;((
ex: there’s one really muffled, hidden line mirroring the melody at 2:21, and the first time i tapped into it i Freaked??? who tf is singing????? why is this so genius??? it grounds the half-belting real nice-like. not to forget the way bts harmonizes with themselves but also leave spaces for single words to shine thru (until filling out all the gaps by the end) goes so well with the theme of playing with silence in this song. it’s Genius, i’m telling you. Genius.
6. the singing itself
the vocal line has a natural progression from the lower melody to higher notes. jimin and jungkook both have high ass riffs in falsetto, but every one drops a third, i think. i don’t have enough theory under my belt to break the melody down further (like why the notes sound good or the sound is very unique etc), but the choral parts are my fave bit. i love the minimalistic instrumentals (clapping on the off beats god ,,, always gets to me) while vocal line sings their hearts out on top of it (ಥ﹏ಥ) and then all of bts joins in. the full multi-layered voice effect is so nostalgic n sentimental and that’s exactly what they were going for with this???
wow truly incredible i love bts