Ok…so everytime I hear this song I’m brought back to EXO’luxion in New York (Newark, New Jersey.) My goodness that concert was so damn lit!
(I had to include this clip Aqua! I had to! (Admin Aqua + I’s fancam at EXO’luxion)
This will be a very nostalgic week for Admin Aqua and I. (Don’t worry. We’ll clue you in soon as to why.)
And we will also be going out of order of the discography for this album this month. (I’m sure you can find it in your hearts to forgive us!)
I think the language used in this song is really compelling. Certain words stick out to me and encourage one to visualize the otherworldly scene (which fits us oh so nicely, don’t you think Aqua?)
The Star (of course,) Milky Way, the Universe, Midnight, Galaxy, Starlight, Guiding Star, Reindeer of Legends…
It all points back to EXO’s original concept as beings from another planet. They were made for something greater. They come from something greater. They call us to be something greater. And their songs remind us of that every once in awhile.
The star EXO appears to be referencing to me is the evening star, or Venus primarily (which you will understand based on the discussions about the evening star I’ve included below. FYI I wish I had studied astronomy.)
Originally, the terms “morning star” and “evening star” applied only to the brightest planet of all, Venus. Far more dazzling than any of the actual stars in the sky, Venus does not appear to twinkle, but instead glows with a steady, silvery light. The fact that Venus was a “wandering star” soon became obvious to ancient skywatchers, who noticed its motion relative to the background stars, going from the eastern sky in the morning to the western sky in the early evening. Nicolas Camille Flammarion, a noted French astronomer in the late 19th and early 20th century, referred to Venus as “The Shepherd’s Star.” I myself like to refer to Venus as the “night light of the sky.” So, it’s easier to understand the origin of the terms “evening star” and “morning star” if we only considered Venus.
Of course, Venus is not the only wandering “star” in the sky; there are four others that are also visible to the unaided eye (five, if you include Uranus, which is barely perceptible without any optical aid on dark, clear nights). The difference is that, with the possible exception of Jupiter and, on rare occasions, Mars, none of the others stands out in the same manner as Venus. Nonetheless, somewhere in the distant past, “morning star” and “evening star” became plural in order to account for the four other planets.
-Joe Rao, SPACE.com Skywatching Columnist “What Is a ‘Morning Star,’ and What Is an ‘Evening Star’?”
Both Mercury and Venus are both evening and morning stars. That is because they are nearer to the sun than the earth is, so they can never appear very far from the sun in the sky. In other words, when the sun sets in the evening they might be in the west, near the sun as an evening star. Or they could be in the morning sky before sunrise, again, near the sun. But neither Mercury nor Venus can be opposite the sun in the sky, such as rising at sunset. Hence, they are called the evening and morning stars. Actually, “evening star” or “morning star” nearly always refers to Venus, which is by far the brightest celestial object in the sky after the sun and moon. Mercury is much dimmer and only visible for a few weeks of the year.
-John P. Pratt, “The Evening and Morning Star”
So already I feel like we’re set up to believe as always that EXO’s love interest or the other character (who never really has a voice in EXO’s songs) is someone they admire greatly. Someone they revere. Someone who they see as God-like. (Which may not be far off considering Venus is also known as the Roman and Greek Goddess of Love, Sex, Beauty, Fertility, Victory named Aphrodite and Venus’ astronomical symbol is the same biological symbol used to represent women)
They set the stage for this piece in the opening two stanzas. It sounds like they are the ancients who carved the story into the stones they are about to describe.
Uh huh can I tell you a story of season
xīng yǔ fēi wǎng dì xià xiàng shì jì huá
The stars rain on the earth like it was planned
dú zì chuān guò sēn lín hé xī bo de qì yā
Crossing over forests and thin air pressure alone
wú liáo chén jì de yè méi shen me kě yi xiě xià
The boring still night, not much to write down
huò kè zài bì huà
or engrave on murals
wǒ yǎng wàng zhe xīng kōng
I look up at the starry sky
zhāi xià zuì liàng de yī kē gǎn shòu xìng fú
Feeling happy when I pick the brightest one
shén huà lǐ de xùn lù mei yī zhāng yī zhāng
The reindeer of the legends, every piece
suì piàn pīn tú bú néng bǎ wǒ jìn gù
of a puzzle cannot confine me
어둠이 진한 숲을 지나
eodumi jinhan supeul jina
Past the very dark forest
하얀 별이 내려 온 세상 이미 다
hayan byeori naeryeo on sesang imi da
A white star fell upon the world
특별할 것도 하나도 없는 밤
teukbyeolhal geotdo hanado eomneun bam
It was a night where nothing special was going on
나 고갤 든 뒤 나
na gogael deun dwi na
But after I lifted my head
I discovered something dazzling
저기 높은 곳에서 빛나는 별
jeogi nopeun goseseo bitnaneun byeol
The shining legend of the deer that is far above
Is a farfetched story now
이젠 뜬구름 잡는 소리 이건 나의 스토리
ijen tteungureum jamneun sori igeon naui seutori
But this is my story
Clearly (at least to me) EXO is referencing the Legend of the Deer that has suddenly come upon them, relieving them of their eternal boredom. A legend that is appropriate to discuss considering this is their “holiday” or winter album. And at the same time they are referencing that age old story, they are equating their love interest with such an important figure in cultural folklore. Which is interesting because the reindeer or deer that EXO is referencing is often seen as a sacred totem.
Totemism is an ancient belief system, a religious or world view in which human beings, either as individuals or as a clan, have a spiritual relationship or kinship with a spirit being, natural object, a plant or an animal, an animal being the most common. This being is called a totem, as for example a reindeer totem. Sometimes an inanimate object, such as the sun, the wind or a rock, is chosen as a Totem. The totem is believed to be united with the gods. The totem is the centre of this belief system. If the kinship exists between an individual and his or her Totemism, we have individual Totemism. When the relationship exists between a clan we have clan Totemism and likewise a family totem. A totem is regarded as mystically related to the individual, family or clan and as such should be respected and therefore not hunted if an animal. Honouring the totem in turn honours and influences the god. The totem is considered to interact with an individual, group or clan and serves as their emblem or symbol and spiritually represents a person, family or, more likely, a clan. (I don’t know about you but it’s funny to me that this definition talks about the totem being something held sacred just as a God would. It shouldn’t be hunted. But technically these are wolves we’re talking about in this piece…..who are following “the Star” and “hunting” it….sooo.)
The reindeer is a family-oriented totem, skillful in communication and social activities. This totem is a born-leader and welcomes any opportunity to guide others in his herd into new directions. Reindeer has an innocent demeanour and is helpful to friends and family members. Receptive to the needs of others this totem teaches how to adapt to community concerns. “All for one, and One for all” could easily be the motto for this totem. If a reindeer makes its appearance in your life the lesson may very well be that it is time for you to step up and take an active role in caring for the herd. If you have become isolated it may be asking you to take on a leadership role in getting everyone to work as a team. Or, if you currently have a domineering role, you may need to look and see if you are overshadowing others with your ideals, in that case, step back a bit. Guidance is a key role for this totem. Be a kind and helpful teacher, not a bossy one.
Its interesting that in the description of the totem that they discuss guidance being an essential character trait of this totem (It almost makes me think of LuDeer.) ((As is the phrase “All for one, and One for all!” A phrase not only for the Three Musketeers but also for EXO, “We Are One 엑소”))
The deer from the legend that EXO is talking about guided the main protagonists to the land in which many nations (particularly Asian nations would spring forth.) While the Hungarian folklore is what I will use to describe some of the story below, I believe it was influenced by (as it states) Asian (China and Japan specifically) folklore as well.
The Hungarian Legend of the Wondrous Stag is one of the oldest legends of the nation. It is so old that it is found in various forms among those nations who were the distant relatives or neighbors of the Hungarians, long before their settlement in Hungary. The meaning and the wording of the legends may have changed slightly but they all have much in common. Today the remaining legend is relatively short, whereas in the past it was probably much more extensive. However the Hungarian legend despite it’s brevity includes in it many important points some of which can be found in most of the related legends found in other cultures. It is these points which show that once, in the remote antiquity, these people were neighbors or some were even related.
The symbol of the cosmos and the mother of the sun was symbolized as a large horned female doe. The great horned doe often was shown carrying the sun in her horns, in some cases the sun itself was symbolized as a stag the son of the doe of the legend. The following Christmas song told by the Hungarian regos (bards) illustrate the stag as the carrier of the sun.
Csángo Hungarian “Rege”
1. Csoda fia szarvas, ezer ága boga
2. Ezer ága boga, ezer fénylö gyertya
3. Szarva közöt hozza áldot napnak fényét
4. Homlokán a csillag, mellén a hold,
5. S elindul az égi Duna fenyes partjátol,
6. Hogy égi küldötként hírt adjon
7. A teremtö és gondviselö istenünkröl.
1. wondrous headed doe, with horns of a thousand branches and knobs
2. Thousand branches and knobs and of a thousand bright candles
3. Amongst its horns it carries the light of the blessed sun
4. On it’s forehead there is a star, on it’s chest the moon
5. And it starts along the banks of the shining heavenly Danube
6. That it may be the messenger of heaven and bringer of news
7. About our creator and caring god
The hind represents not the sun, but it’s mother, the heavenly firmament, the cosmos, which carries the stars, the sun and the moon in it’s “horns”. For these reasons the Scythian stags often represented the horns of the stag like flames.
It’s interesting (sorry that I keep using this word but it is) that EXO is talking about a Creation Myth essentially.
Perhaps EXO is playing the role of the princes in the original story who travel all across the world following the “evening star.” They like all who have seen it are completely mesmerized by it.
I don’t want to diminish this analysis to just being about a relationship or a possible love interest. (After following such a captivating piece like Miracles in December…idk I want more.)
Although that is clearly what they continue to talk about after the first opening stanzas.
Girl 你像耀眼的星河 just blow my mind
Girl nǐ xiàng yào yǎn de xīng hé just blow my mind
Girl you’re like the dazzling galaxy, just blow my mind
是照亮着我的 guiding star
shi zhào liàng zhe wǒ de guiding star
You’re the guiding star shining on me
Oh girl 渴望再和你更靠近一点 再多点
Oh girl kě wàng zài hé nǐ gèng kào jìn yī diǎn zai duo dian
Oh girl I wish I could be a bit closer to you
fèn xiǎng yī diǎn wēn róu xīng guāng
Just a little more, share some warm starlight
suǒ yǒu xiàng wǎng de mù guāng
All eyes that were wandering
dōu ji zhong zài tā de shēn shàng
Are focused on her
Ladies & gentlemen
suǒ yǒu xiàng wǎng de mù guāng
All the eyes that were wandering
shì wéi nǐ sàn fā de guāng liàng
Are for the light you emit
Ladies & gentlemen
Tell me ‘bout it, tell me ‘bout it
Tell me ‘bout it, tell me ‘bout it
Midnight zài děng wǒ de nǐ
Midnight whispers the most pleasant things
qīng tīng zuì dòng tīng de ěr yǔ
To me who is waiting for you
zhe mí huàn de xīng hé xiàng nǐ chàng de gē
This magical galaxy is like the songs you sing
kuài bèi tòng kǔ rán shāo de shì jiè
My line of sight was almost directly torn
chì yàn zhí jiē sī liè le shì xiàn
By the burning pain of world flames
què hái yǒu lì liàng guàn zhù zhe shēn tǐ
Yet there is still strength permeating in the body
ke yi yī bù yī bù ràng wǒ fēi xiàng nǐ
That will let me fly towards you step by step
太久 太久 还要走多久
tài jiǔ tài jiǔ hái yào zǒu duō jiǔ
Too long too long, how much longer is there to walk
kàn dé jiàn què zhuā bú dào de shǒu
The hand that I can see but not grab
gěi nǐ bǎ quán bù xiàn shàng
offers all of you
太久 太久 还要等多久
tài jiǔ tài jiǔ hái yào děng duō jiǔ
Too long too long, how much longer is there to wait
bì shàng yǎn zuò guān yú nǐ de mèng
Closing my eyes and having dreams about you
Oh no 不要醒来
Oh no bú yào xǐng lái
Oh no I don’t want to wake up
너 이 세상에서 제일 빛나잖아
neo i sesangeseo jeil bitnajanha
Girl, you shine the most in this world
젤 낮은 이 곳까지 비춰
jel najeun i gotkkaji bichwo
Shine even on this lowest place
Oh girl 너와 가까이 하고 싶은 걸 조금만
Oh girl neowa gakkai hago sipeun geol jogeumman
Oh girl, I want to be closer to you, a little more
따스한 빛을 나눠줘
ttaseuhan bicheul nanwojwo
Share that warm light
모두 바라보지만 나를 바라본건 아냐
modu barabojiman nareul barabongeon anya
Everyone looks but they’re not looking at me
Ladies & gentlemen
모두 너를 보잖아 여기서 가장 밝은 널
modu neoreul bojanha yeogiseo gajang balgeun neol
Everyone is looking at you, who is the brightest
Ladies & gentlemen
Tell me ’bout it, tell me ’bout it
Tell me ’bout it, tell me ’bout it
날 기다리는 듯해
nal gidarineun deutae
It’s like you’re waiting for me
내게 속삭이는 듯해
naege soksagineun deutae
It’s like you’re whispering to me
날 부르는 노래 별의 노래로
nal bureuneun norae byeorui noraero
A song that calls me, a song of the stars
겹겹이 드리워진 시린
gyeopgyeobi deuriwojin sirin
I was hanging onto this cold world
세상에 힘겹게 매달린
sesange himgyeopge maedallin
Difficultly clinging on
난 알 수 없는 힘에 이끌려
nan al su eomneun hime ikkeullyeo
But I’m pulled by an unknown power
저 높은 곳의 너를 향해 내달려
jeo nopeun gosui neoreul hyanghae naedallyeo
Running toward you in that high place
너는 너무 멀리 있는 걸
neoneun neomu meolli inneun geol
You’re too far away
보인데도 잡히지 않아
boindedo japhiji anha
I see you but I can’t catch you
네게 나를 보낸다
nege nareul bonaenda
I send myself to you
너는 너무 높이 있는 걸
neoneun neomu nopi inneun geol
You’re too high above
네 별빛은 꿈을 말하고
ne byeolbicheun kkumeul malhago
Your starlight speaks of my dreams
곁에 있고 싶어
gyeote itgo sipeo
I want to be next to you
I apologize for being so stubborn about that but with all of the celestial references that are present in the lyrics of this song and with the timing of the release of this album (December 9, 2013,) I’d truly like to believe that while it may have seemed like a simple love song (Guy wants and chases after a girl that everyone else wants and desires too. She is the ultimate fantasy. So mysterious and beyond anything that any mere human being could possibly fathom that they trip over themselves just to be in her presence. They revel in the dream of her someday choosing him over all the others. Of being the envy of not only men but women too) that it’s actually about something more.
EXO will continue to talk about chasing their destiny that they outlined in MAMA and History later in their discography as we go on (Two Moons, Black Pearl, El Dorado, Can’t Bring Me Down…and possibly some others that I have neglected to highlight talk about a shift in energy. These songs build our anticipation. We’re waiting for the other shoe to drop.)
But if the Guiding Star, the Deer of the Great Legend (who was actually a Doe in some of the articles I’ve looked through for this analysis and as the analysis prior explained, is possibly the Mother or Father of Creation appearing within the fabric of its great universe, horns of flame and all) isn’t simply a love interest….then who are they? And what purpose do they serve to EXO? What future awaits them if they follow this Star? What great path will this being bring them towards? Is this another version and another telling of the Nativity story which has been held sacred for some time? If so then that would fall in line with their original concept. (Remember the opening segment of MAMA and the ominous lines that many continue to highlight…oftentimes in a joking manner.)
“The twelve forces divide into two and create two suns that look alike into two worlds that seem alike. The legends travel apart. The legends shall now see the same sky but shall stand on different grounds, shall stand on the same ground but shall see different skies. The day the grounds be kept a single file before one sky in two worlds that seem alike, the legends will greet each other. The day the red force is purified, the twelve forces will reunite into one perfect root, a new world shall open up.”
I’m reminded constantly when I see the way in which EXO continues to break records that they were created by their company to (hopefully) bring about a new age in the industry. Their concept of promoting in primarily two countries while simultaneously attempting to appeal to the entirety of Asia and its diaspora as well as the globe has brought tremendous returns. Admin Aqua and I bring that up often here on EXO-RhymeandReason.
It may seem a bit far-fetched and like I’m grasping for straws here (which I am definitely not trying to do) but I’m not sure that Soulfulmonster meant to equate EXO with shepherds seeking the evening star that would lead them to the promised one. (Who is EXO shepherding and who is the promised one if not EXO?)
(I’ve included a small snippet from an interview he did way back when in 2013 for Korean Indie so we could read a little bit more about his process for his personal work “Much Love”)
Can you describe your music? And influences that lead you to performing this style?
I think every music piece is the outcome of previously produced great music. In the same way, my music is the outcome of all music that I have listened to and that have influenced my life. I can’t deny I was influenced by many American Hip-hop & R&B musicians, like Michael Jackson, R.Kelly, D`angelo, The-dream, The Weekend, and Frank Ocean, and also Korean musicians like Seo-taiji & Boys.
But the most important thing I really tried the hardest to put into my music was to tell my own story and express my own unique color. Music that simply mimics that of Michael Jackson is valueless. The reason is that Michael Jackson’s music is more than 200 times more beautiful and listening to the original is much happier than listening to that seems to copy it. I always think about what it is that only I can express and deliver. It`s the permanent question.
How do you compose your music? Do you start with lyrics or listen to the instrumental and get inspiration from that?
When the overall concept of the album is set, I make the beat tracks first. Then, I put some melody lines on it. I think such process makes me less bound by some rules and more drastic in making my music. Usually, writing lyrics comes last. Sometimes I start making the mood of the track for the floating lyrics but mostly I write down the stories for the mood after making the beats and melodies.
I usually take pains to write the lyrics, so the demo guides come out first without the lyrics. Then, I listen to the track again and again for more than several hundred times, I make a note every time something comes up and organize them afterwards.
-Soulfulmonster interview with Chris P.
“But Pisces! *Yawn* Why do you care so much about who is writing the lyrics? It’s just another love song? I mean look at Kris’ lines! It’s suggestive! It’s sexy! They’re just talking about a woman who is so alluring and enchanting…and just come off it! I just want to dance and enjoy the rhythm and stunt when Kris comes in at his part! Girl!! Chiiiiill! Did you forget that you’re relying on translations? Get real and be grateful for that at least! You take it too far sometimes…. -.-”
And yea. If you thought that^ I can understand why.
But I refuse to believe that SM Entertainment is really just pulling lyricists out of nowhere and choosing random songs. There has to be a purpose to the songs they have compiled for this album (besides just completing their cover art concept.) There is a deeper meaning to The Star than just Kris’ lines at the breakdown.
You know you always look so fine
You just like a rock star
You know how fine you are yeah
Imma take you to a secret place
Drop the shades and crank the bass uh
Hey girl you know how to play
Uh I know how to play
Their entire concept for EXO has been to push the envelope and to push the limits right? To bring us to new heights? To bring us into a new dimension? To bring us into the galaxy beyond? To remind us that we are the galaxy maybe?
I refuse to believe that it’s just some cheesy song.
This is why I sometimes wonder what would happen when/if EXO started to have a little bit more artistic control. What if they completed their own album? It’s a tad bit off topic but look at the way Chen wrote Part II of Moonlight (a song we will also soon be visiting) by composing the lyrics for She’s Dreaming (that is a drop dead gorgeous piece!)
If he was able to think out that story….(and I’d like to think that given the tools, he and EXO could have also handled the arrangement) imagine a Part II to The Star…
For me…it feels like the initial story of the Deer Legend was cut off after those first two stanzas and we were lost in the story of EXO and their love interest yet again.
What if we were allowed to go further and deeper..?
What if they were allowed to discuss their own philosophical thoughts about Creation and our purpose?
Because that’s what the holiday time is right..?
It is the time that we remind ourselves what we are living for.
We look to something (be it religion, family/friends/relationships, etc. and so forth) to guide us towards our sense of purpose.
During the holidays we renew our vow to humanity to seek out the greater good. To be the greater good. To get to the heart and the truth of the matter.
I mean think about it…look at all of the donations that happen around this time of year and efforts focused on providing everyone with the aid that they need to have a happy holiday. The amount of volunteerism.
This is why I wonder aloud yet again, “What is EXO trying to guide us toward…? Or what are they being guided towards? Is it benevolent and altruistic? Is it for the greater good that they lust after this love interest?”
Bringing it back to the music as well…we can’t just push the envelope aurally but remain stagnant lyrically….
I may have started rambling now….
So I will leave it at that.
**Experiences Absolute Otherworldly Transfiguration**