In a society where it is not uncommon to be constantly judged or scrutinised, it can be difficult for one to follow their own heart or mind. The need to conform can pressurise us into losing an essential part of ourselves, and it is in times like these that we have to remind ourselves that we should try to hold our own grounds when we can. Owning ourselves in a world that wants to own is not easy at all; societal expectations of living are beaten into us since a young age that we often fully buy into these dominant roles. Individuality is important to each of us, but there is a liberation in learning how to let go and living your own life in accordance to your own rules.

One such song that encourages its listeners to do so is Minzy‘s “Superwoman,” In this song, Minzy uses her own experience as a way to embolden not only herself, but also her audience. Even though she worries about her past and how it could bring her down, she powers through, fighting against her own weaknesses and fears to be strong and get up again. She — and anyone else listening to her song — have the power to live their lives as they wish if they can overcome everything that is trying to bring them down.

Worries increase,
but still I try to overcome.
Strongly enduring through the past,
Many times I almost gave up.
Every time I fainted, I got up again.
I won’t be weak,
I won’t be scared,
I’ll passionately shout, I’m Superwoman

Gaeko takes this message further with the Hip Hop track “Gajah.”

Don’t you hesitate,
just do what you want.
You never know what’s gonna happen
even tomorrow.
Just take elephant steps.

Not just focusing on the past and the worries that one may have, Gaeko emphasises on the fragility and uncertainty of life. Since you have no idea what is going to happen next, be it a few years or just the next day, live your life as you want to. If you are afraid or uncertain, you can take it slow, one step at a time like an elephant. At the end of the day, though, do not let your hesitation stop you from doing what you want or have to do for yourself.

In a similar manner, Wonder Girls‘ “Girls Girls” focuses on letting go of one’s pride and setting free any worries one might have about consequences of their actions. Oftentimes, we obsess over the repercussions of an action so much that we miss an opportunity and possibly end up regretting it. We doubt ourselves and our individual approaches on certain matters so much that we lose confidence in the people we are.

Say hello, start the conversation first.
Take the first steps to approach.
To me, who always only dreamed in my imagination,
Hey miss – your chance has come.
Hold onto it, don’t lose it now
You want to do it, you wanted it too
I’ll be honest,
because of my fear,
My days were always repeats of ordinary days.

Wonder Girls spur their listeners to have some days that are more than just ordinary days. Directed at women who are often conditioned to shy away from being driven or ambitious, “Girls Girls” talks about being unafraid in fighting for the things or opportunities they want. The track tells women not to fear the consequence of judgement from others or what others might think, and walk on.

A final track is “Never Mind,” rapped by BTS’ Suga. It is rougher in tone as compared to the aforementioned songs, vocalises frustration and anger at a society that tries to put down youth for dreaming big and dreaming different. Instead of letting young adults make their own mistakes, “Never Mind” expresses resentment for those in society who stifle the growth of these young adults due to set norms and rules.

I can have a taste of failure and frustration and bow my head.
We are still young and immature, don’t even worry about it.
Moss surely grows on a stone that doesn’t roll.
If you can’t return, go straight through your mistakes and forget them all.
Never mind.
It’s not easy but engrave it onto your chest.
If you feel like you’re going to crash then accelerate more, you idiot.

Stones are known for their strong physical properties, yet once moss grows on it, it becomes slippery and is rendered useless. Suga uses this metaphor to explain the necessity of growth and individual improvement. He explains that it is better to keep rolling as a stone. Even if it is too late to stop, it is alright to push ahead, crash, and make mistakes, rather than stopping yourself from exploring anything at all.

It can get tough to remain true to ourselves and the individuals that we are, but it is songs like these that remind us to decide what roads to take. For us to be a diverse and robust society, the idea of self-growth and individuality should be encouraged, not pushed away. Self-sovereignty is something we should practice for our happiness and well-being.

(Lyrics via Genius Translations, pop!gasa. Images via The Music Works, JYP Entertainment, Big Hit Entertainment)