Sheltering in place (SIP) has resulted in the consumption of a lot of online content. Lately I’ve been going down YouTube rabbit holes. I’m shocked that the algorithm has yet to take me to the lo-fi hip hop girl studying at her desk. On one of these SIP days, while meandering about my place and letting YouTube make recommendations, I happened upon Zico’s “Any Song”. Immediately drawn by the opening, I sat down to give my full attention to the song.
I am not fluent in Korean. But I am a hip hop head, so I did not let language barriers get in the way of an opportunity to discover some good music. Language differences be damned, this song is catchy as hell.
But the video and lyrics make for some interesting contrasts. For every upbeat chord you hear, Zico matches it with his downtrodden demeanor. Zico looks like his introvert meter is on tilt. While the song’s tempo suggests that it’s time to get out and Cha Cha. It is not until his friends drunken stupor and when he runs off on his own, that he finds some joy.
What Does it All Mean?
Upon further investigation, I found that Zico did not attribute any meaning to the song. In an interview he states,
“I wanted to make a song people could listen to when they’re not thinking about anything. […] and that was where the concept of ‘Any Song’ came about. If I found myself thinking or deliberating on something, I stopped and relied on instinct for this song. People are always thinking about so many different things, so I thought, at least since it’s the beginning of the year, we could just enjoy this song without thinking about much. The song’s message is that it has no message.”
With that being said, the song’s lack of a clear message has allowed listeners to surmise a few messages of their own. A cursory review of comments on the YouTube video with more than 60 million views suggests that listeners have taken the song as an ode to introversion. The desire to be alone. Not among a group of friends who barge into Zico’s home in the music video. As a self-proclaimed introvert, I can agree with that.
Others have tied it to reflections on depression and the thoughts that cross one’s mind in this state. Some note that it speaks to a quarter-life existential crisis. Some aspects of “Any Song” could speak to the thoughts of those quarantining – cooped up inside, unable to keep track of the days gone by. In a groundhog day of sorts, reliving what feels like the same day, while the stress of the pandemic continues to loom on and on, and on. Queue existential dread.
If anything, “Any Song” can act as a break from the stress and monotony – get out of your head and into your body – if only for four minutes and seven seconds.
No matter the meaning, I hope you decide to give “Any Song” a listen.
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P.S. In my quest to find meaning, I found this YouTube video that makes some interesting points!