El Dorado

“Sail Sail Sail Gotta Gotta Go Go”


Watching Dae wield sabers is just….(your Admin will be crying throughout this analysis)


To begin our discussion for today, please read the excerpt from an article written by Willie Drye on National Geographic.

“The lust for gold spans all eras, races, and nationalities. To possess any amount of gold seems to ignite an insatiable desire to obtain more.

Through the centuries, this passion gave rise to the enduring tale of a city of gold. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Europeans believed that somewhere in the New World there was a place of immense wealth known as El Dorado. Their searches for this treasure wasted countless lives, drove at least one man to suicide, and put another man under the executioner’s ax.

“El Dorado shifted geographical locations until finally it simply meant a source of untold riches somewhere in the Americas,” says Jim Griffith, a folklorist in Tucson, Arizona.

But this place of immeasurable riches hasn’t been found.


The origins of El Dorado lie deep in South America. And like all enduring legends, the tale of El Dorado contains some scraps of truth. When Spanish explorers reached South America in the early 16th century, they heard stories about a tribe of natives high in the Andes mountains (Andeans) in what is now Colombia. When a new chieftain rose to power, his rule began with a ceremony at Lake Guatavita. Accounts of the ceremony vary, but they consistently say the new ruler was covered with gold dust, and that gold and precious jewels were thrown into the lake to appease a god that lived underwater.

The Spaniards started calling this golden chief El Dorado, “the gilded one.” The ceremony of the gilded man supposedly ended in the late 15th century when El Dorado and his subjects were conquered by another tribe. But the Spaniards and other Europeans had found so much gold among the natives along the continent’s northern coast that they believed there had to be a place of great wealth somewhere in the interior. The Spaniards didn’t find El Dorado, but they did find Lake Guatavita and tried to drain it in 1545. They lowered its level enough to find hundreds of pieces of gold along the lake’s edge. But the presumed fabulous treasure in the deeper water was beyond their reach.”


Sorry that that was such a long excerpt but I felt that it was important considering the title of our first of two pieces today.

El Dorado’s lyrics basically follow the same theme of the original lore described above. There are mentions of gold, a journey, a dazzling city, paradise….

The opening stanzas give us further insight into EXO’s frame of mind. They realize that the journey that they are heading towards may be futile (what with not being able to pinpoint the exact location of the “dazzling city that vanishes before they are able to get to the city.”)

The chorus line of (sail sail sail gotta gotta go go got to find the El Dorado El Dorado oh) (something many EXO-L’s chant over and over for sure) tells us that EXO is back again on the water after traveling on land in the opening stanza in the desert.


But as we continue throughout the song…this Admin believes that EXO is actually searching for something greater than the fabled “Golden City” or to meet the “gilded one” or even to be blessed with the riches found in the depths of Lake Guatavita….



jǐn gēn yǎnqián zhǎnkāi de yīdào guāngxiàn

Follow closely the ray of light unfolded in front of our eyes



zǒuxiàng shuí dōu wèizhī dì nàgè míngtiān

Move towards the tomorrow that nobody knows about


這一步很久以後 變傳說

zhè yībù hěnjiǔ yǐhòu biàn chuánshuō

After this long time, it will turn into a legend



suīrán mǒu tiān wǒmen huì zài bàofēng lǐtou

Even though one day we will end up in the raging storm


zhǐyào yīqǐ

as long as we’re together


就不必害怕 oh El Dorado rado

jiù bùbì hàipà oh El Dorado rado

There is no need to be afraid oh El Dorado rado



qù xúnzhǎo lèyuán

To find the paradise



wǒ tīng dào huì shì wúshēng de fēngshēng

I might hear a soundless wind blowing

那是從哪裡吹過來 金色旋律

nà shì cóng nǎlǐ chuī guòlái jīnsè xuánlǜ

Where did that blow come from? A golden melody


閉上眼 就更明顯

bì shàng yǎn jiù gèng míngxiǎn

Close your eyes and it will be more evident


wǒ huì qīngxī de kějiàn

I can hear it clearly



xīnzhōng de shénmì dìdiǎn

The mysterious place in my heart



wúfǎ yùzhī de jìntóu

There’s no way to predict the end


què yě huí bù dào yuántóu

There’s no way to return to the start



dāng zhè dìfāng hūhuàn wǒ

This place is calling me



wǒ zài yě bù huì

I will never



tíng zàiyuán dì tíngzhì bù dòng

stop at this place and remain still


就不必害怕 oh El Dorado rado

jiù bùbì hàipà oh El Dorado rado

There is no need to be afraid oh El Dorado rado



zài yuǎn chù nǎpà dà de fēngshā làng bō

At a faraway place even with big sand waves


yòu tāotāo gǔn xiàng wǒ

rolling torrentially at me



zhè shì wǒ de mìngyùn

This is my destiny


那就 El Dorado

nà jiù El Dorado

that is El Dorado

Eventually this Admin will probably add all of the lyrics from this piece (the Chinese version in particular) because they are just that beautiful and that inspiring.

From the tone of the lyrics cited above EXO is talking about their destiny which brings us back to their initial mission which we witnessed in “MAMA.” How has their destiny transformed over these past couple of albums?

Grant it their mission and their intentions may have changed considering what was happening not in their musical/lyrical lives…but in their actual everyday lives. At this point, EXO had become 10 instead of remaining as 12 something that is indicated later on in the lyrics. To this Admin, though it may not have been entirely on purpose (considering they talked about their disappointment in the ex-members while also wishing them well) this song seems to be discussing the trials that they went through publicly and behind closed doors. EXO had a lot of support from fans during the transition but they also faced some setbacks from fans as well. Their brand also apparently took a hit because of the details of the cases Kris, Luhan (and eventually Tao) would bring against SM. Hence the song “Promise” which will come up later on….

Where Tao/Chanyeol lead the rap/break down is one of your Admin’s favorite parts. I admire what was said. I admire the lines “no pain, no gain.” Like the explorers who no doubt went through hardships to find this paradise they believed existed (which was described briefly above in the excerpt. People actually died for this quest,) EXO will also have to endure and search for this paradise that is constantly reshaped and molded to fit who they are becoming. It isn’t a single destination. It is not tangible like gold but it is purer and more sacred to EXO than that.



旅途再顛簸 把障礙都越過

lǚtú zài diānbǒ bǎ zhàng’ài dōu yuèguò

No matter how rough the journey is, get over all the obstacles


qián lù yuè lái yuè liàng

The road in front is getting brighter


yīnwèi gòngtóng miàn duì zhè yīqièle

because we faced this all together

No pain no gain 這裡是未知的世界

No pain no gain zhèlǐ shì wèizhī de shìjiè

No pain no gain, this is the unknown world


shí gēn shǒuzhǐ zuàn zài yīqǐ

Ten fingers put together

這種力量 we are the one

zhè zhǒng lìliàng we are the one

this kind of energy, we are the one


Now we’re here


wú shǔ de shíjiān dōu yǔ wǒmen cā shēn érguò

infinite time has brushed past us


我更期待開啟在 未來眼前的奇蹟

wǒ gèng qídài kāiqǐ zài wèilái yǎnqián de qíjī

We’re anticipating the start of the future miracle in front of our eyes even more


對相信我 每張臉說

duì xiāngxìn wǒ měi zhāng liǎn shuō

That’s right believe in me, every face says



prove yourself



nà xìnniàn cóng méiyǒu cuò

That faith was never wrong

It breaks my heart to read the last part of this song because of what’s being said. They are unified, all 10 members now like never before (knowing it won’t last long is what makes it so sad to read) but you have to appreciate the earnestness and sincerity of this promise that they have made to one another. That no matter what they face, no matter how big the tides rise, they will stand side by side and confront their destiny together. How poetic.



zhàn zài xiāngtóng tiānkōng

Standing under the same sky


xiāngtóng míng zì wǒmen shì yītǐ de

under the same name we are one body


也彼此相信 oh El Dorado rado

yě bǐcǐ xiāngxìn oh El Dorado rado

Trust in each other oh El Dorado rado


Sail sail sail, gotta gotta go go

gotta find the El Dorado El Dorado do

Sail sail sail, gotta gotta go go

gotta find the El Dorado El Dorado



zài yuǎn chù nǎpà dà de fēngshā làng bō

At a faraway place even with big sand waves


yòu tāotāo gǔn xiàng wǒ

rolling torrentially at me



wǒmen yīqǐ pīnbó

We fight together


抵達 El Dorado

dǐdá El Dorado

to reach El Dorado

To this Admin, the legend of EXO is still one that is being created even now (technically couldn’t Kris, Luhan and Tao be included in this legend since they are technically still on the roster on SM Entertainment’s website though court details certainly say otherwise…) And we shouldn’t leave any part of how that legend came to be out, just as this song appears to say. We must take into account everything that has happened in order to be able to witness the miracles yet to come. We cannot tell the story of EXO now and 10 years into the future without talking about where they started in 2012 and perhaps even before that. “Every face says prove yourself that faith was never wrong;” it may be a reach but it all sings so purely of  “Promise.” Inception anyone?

This has been your Admin Pisces

**Experiences Tearful Lyrical Transfiguration**

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