“Trust and listen to Day6” is an adage well-known throughout the K-pop world, speaking to the reliability of Day6’s music. Renowned for their songwriting and unique style, Day6 has made a name for themselves in continually improving their music while retaining their signature sounds.
However, 2020 saw a large amount of changes for the five-piece band. Leader Sungjin took an extended mental health break before abruptly enlisting in the army, and guitarist Jae also took a mental health break while involving himself in solo activities such as collaborations and podcasts. During that time, the subunit Even of Day, consisting of members Young K, Wonpil, and Dowoon, continued The Book of Us series with, “The Book of Us: Gluon,” before the group made a full comeback with the conclusion to their The Book of Us series.
Certainly not that last answer. Even of Day’s new album, Right Through Me, is yet another advancement in Day6’s impressive discography and acts as a clear promise to their fans: continue to trust and listen to Day6 in all incarnations, and they will continue to be true to themselves.
The first track is aptly titled, “WE,” and it serves as the most uplifting track in the album. Lyrically, it begins by acknowledging anxiety over the future as the members confess that they’re not sure of what tomorrow will look like. This is an imminently relatable feeling, yet Even of Day does not let themselves linger there. The chorus is a strong declaration that,
Sometimes, we fall and then we rise
Always repeating endlessly
When hope arises
Despair will be over
Let’s just remember the joy and the life
We, we, we
This sense of hope through uncertainty is the ultimate message of the album as Even of Day struggles to find move forward in life and love. The title track “Right Through Us” spends time in the immediate aftermath of a failed relationship as Even of Day lament the fact that they are no longer needed and feel that their life is spinning out of control.
In the following track “Walk,” Even of Day try to pick themselves up and press on despite the difficulties. The chorus repeats, “Keep walkin’” as an extortion to themselves despite the tiredness, and Young K sings,
Sometimes I lose strength in both legs
My hands are already tired
Sometimes I’m on the floor
I must gain momentum
Saying is one thing, but doing is another. “All the Things You Wanted” acknowledges that moving forward is not that simple or easy of a process. The slower pace of the instrumentals allows the vocals time to shine as Young K and Wonpil look back on a failed relationship. Through soft and contemplative melodic lines, Even of Day acknowledges that even with hindsight, things would not necessarily have changed for the better if they went back in time. People are inherently flawed, and while they wish things could be different, they are also able to come to terms with their own weaknesses. It is only then that they can move forwards.
Endings always signal a new beginning, as the next song, “From the Ending of a Tragedy” indicates. While the song seems to be aimed at their ex-lover, the lyrics can also apply to the members themselves as they beg,
At the painful end of this tragedy,
Run, run, run, run
Please hate me now
Run, run, run, run
The repeated emphasis on the word “run” along with the omnipresent thrum of the electric guitar indicates Even of Day’s desperation to finally move on from a time that they consider a tragedy. However, they are unable to as their failures keep weighing them down to the point of self-hatred.
This low point signals the real change in the album. While the past tracks were full of self-deprecation and a desperation to move on before the members were ready, “Home Alone” forcefully embraces self-love. The upbeat track is complete with piano glissandos and Day6’s signature background vocals as the members convince themselves that they can be happy on their own as they head home alone.
Finally, in “Love Parade,” Even of Day invites their listeners to join them in this endless expression of love. Wonpil and Young K join together in the chorus, urging everyone,
Join this endless march
(Love) One more time
(Love) From now on
Our love parade will continue
With the marching beat of the drum as well as the literal repeated, “bba-bba-bba”s, it seems like Even of Day has finally found a way to move forward in the world.
Right Through Me is certainly a cohesive album, both musically and lyrically. Even of Day does possess a marked difference from other Day6 songs, most notably in the vocals as Young K and Wonpil (and occasionally, Dowoon!) fill the shoes of the eldest members Sungjin and Jae. This isn’t necessarily a detriment, however, as the members are able to flex their various skills and unique colors to add to Day6’s already diverse discography.
However, perhaps the most impressive feat of this album is how accurately it is able to convey the desire to move forward while also being full of uncertainty. As anyone can tell you, there are times when life doesn’t go according to plan. This past year and a half have demonstrated that on a global scale, with COVID-19 stymieing so many plans on an individual and collective level.
Through it all, Day6 has gone on this tumultuous journey together with their listeners. In “Zombie,” they indulged in those feelings of hopelessness and monotony as the world went into lockdown. Even of Day’s “Where the Sea Sleeps” consoled listeners through storms, and “You Make Me” offered an optimistic outlook into the future.
Now, Right Through Me gets down to the nitty gritty.
For Day6, their immediate future is unclear. If following a traditional seven-year contract, the group is due for contract negotiations with JYP Entertainment in the next year. The active members have always been vocally supportive of Sungjin and Jae in their break from the band, but with Sungjin serving in the military and Jae on an indefinite hiatus, it could be a long time before Day6 is able to reunite as a full five-piece band.
Despite this uncertainty, however, Even of Day is determined to press on. Yes, they have moments of doubt and angst, and at times, it seems they even hate themselves for their inability to forget the past. It’s like they have to physically drag themselves forward.
However, the continuing theme throughout this album is clear: they must and will march on. Through the rise and fall of happiness and the endless walk forward, they will march on.