Day6’s Young K never fails to deliver. Just a month before enlistment, Young K returns as a solo artist with his first mini-album, Eternal. Taking on a rock genre for his debut, the title track, “Guard You” is one reminiscent of older angsty Day6 tracks.
Purely looking at the lyrics, “Guard You” tells a romantic story about a very brave Young K who protects his lover. Reminiscent of its Korean title, “I’ll hug you till the end”, he promises to hug his lover till the end and metaphorically shields them against the world. In and of itself, “Guard You” speaks of hope and how he will be the light in their darkness.
Even if someday only scars remain
I’ll hug you till the end (you)
You alone in front of a world full of darkness
Don’t shed tears (No more)
You are staggering and moving forward (Against the world)
Yet coupled with its rock sound and dystopian imagery, it tells an entirely different story where this narrative is taken literally. Set in a post apocalyptic world, Young K is the remaining survivor of what appears to be near the end of humanity. (Of course, this is disregarding the band scenes, which doesn’t add to the overarching storyline.) As a lab researcher, he remains in his dimly lit lab, which mirrors his dwindling hope for survival. Devoid of signs of life other than his plants, Young K doesn’t crack a smile throughout the MV. As bleak as it is, though meteors are hitting planet earth, Young K still waters his plants and goes about his daily routine. He has a strong will to survive as the weight of humanity is on his shoulders.
It won’t leave a single scratch, I’ll hold you
Even if my everything is broken, I’ll guard you
Don’t be anxious, I’m here for you
Look at me smiling It’s my all for you
Even if all the light disappears
Even down to the floor
Evеn if I fall into despair
I will hold you till the end
At the MV’s climax, he debates if it is worth living. This is especially so as he is alone and the world can end at any moment. Yet, he bravely decides to push a red button in the lab, one that he glances at a couple of times prior. Void of further explanation, the button possibly suggests either self-destruction or eternal isolation from the external world. In other words, Young K is choosing between life or death. Without much ado, the city is hit by a meteor in the immediate shot upon pressing the button.
Yet the MV throws a curveball. Staying true to the central message of “Guard You”, Young K will protect you even if a meteor has just hit the city. While it appears as if Young K has been killed, he surely is far from death. Despite the external world collapsing, Young K’s internal world is quite the opposite. His will to survive and protect humanity triumphs. For the first time in three minutes, we see that he lives in a doomsday bunker, signalling that he has been well prepared despite his worried facade. And in the post credit scene, though earth is in flames, Young K wakes up unscathed despite the meteor.
The saving the world trope is not new with regards to Day6. Seasoned My Days may notice that “Guard You”’s lyrics draw references to another Day6 track, “Sing Me”. And visually, the MV neatly parallels Day6 Even of Day’s “Where the Sea Sleeps”. In that aspect, even when the world is ending, Young K will not just sing, but sing for us. The same is also true for Day6. Through “Guard You”, Young K has proved that their music is eternal. Aptly enough, Eternal is also the name of his album.
From a wider scheme of things, “Guard You” might be referencing the group’s potential hiatus in the coming years. Even if Day6 might momentarily stop making music as five, they hope to still bring comfort to fans with their past music. And with that, “Guard You” perfectly embodies this sincere message.
(YouTube. Images via JYP Entertainment. Lyrics via Genius.)