Trigger Warning: depression, suicide, self-harm, and trauma.
There have been many depictions of mental health issues in various forms of media, but one of the most common ways people express themselves is through music. There are songs such as “In My Blood” by Shawn Mendes and “Way Less Sad” by AJR that reference issues like depression and suicidal thoughts. One song that came out recently is “Amygdala” by Suga of the K-pop group BTS. His new album, D-Day is under his other stage name Agust D, and “Amygdala” is the follow-up single.
Both this song and the music video depict dark themes of trauma and the repression of traumatic memories that Agust D, aka Min Yoongi, has gone through in his life. He talks about events such as his motorcycle accident ten years prior, his mother’s heart surgery when he was a baby, and his father’s liver cancer. The scenes in the music video illustrate his mental state, including depictions of self-harm. The song speaks of various moments in his life that have left him with lasting trauma.
The amygdala is the region of the brain that processes emotions and memories. The name is derived from the Greek word for ‘almond’ due to its size resembling an almond shape, and in the music video, we see Agust D eating almonds in a few scenes. It’s implied that he wants to forget the bad memories and therefore, he’s eating the almonds to erase the trauma. There are also shots in the music video where he takes pills that cause memory loss. He’s holding a handful of almonds, and then it flashes to a handful of pills. We can infer that both are meant to make him forget his trauma. As the video keeps going, we see Agust D locked in a room by himself and trying desperately to get out, but he can’t. He’s stuck there with his memories. They’re suppressed through the different methods that he tried to use, but they’ll always remain with him. Trauma never actually disappears no matter how much it’s pushed down and the video portrays that very well.
The music video has a trigger warning because the scenes are fairly graphic, but the lyrics and the visuals come together to tell a very poignant story of resilience. This song is connected to Agust D’s other singles, “Daechwita” and “Haegeum.” All three together create a trilogy with a shared storyline, but “Amygdala” acts more as a prequel to the other two. Min Yoongi has spoken in the past about these times in his life, and he often puts his own life and experiences into his songs.
This song paints the picture of what he’s gone through, and it packs a real punch in its portrayal of mental health.