“Unmasking the Enigma: Exploring the Depths of Persona 5’s Iconic Song”

Video where have you been i've been searching all along

You all have no idea how long I’ve been itching to talk about this song. With Joker as the first DLC character in the game and “Beneath the Mask” being featured in it, the time has finally come for me to delve into this captivating piece. So, buckle up and let’s embark on a journey of discovery together.

The Power of Persona 5’s Soundtrack

It’s no secret that Persona 5 boasts an incredible soundtrack. Even those who haven’t played the game can appreciate its mesmerizing melodies. The songs blend jazz and rock/metal elements, each tailored to suit the atmosphere of the environments they inhabit.

Now, let’s focus on a particular track that requires us to delve into the game’s themes, minor spoilers, and even an Edgar Allan Poe work. Yes, you guessed it – “Beneath the Mask.” Or as it has come to be known, the best song in Persona 5. But before we dive in, there are a few cautionary words:

MINOR P5 SPOILERS AHEAD

With that out of the way, let’s get down to what I really want to discuss.

Unveiling the Lyrics

As I often like to do, let’s start with the full lyrics of the song (you can listen along). This way, you can get a feel for the song’s essence before I introduce my own interpretations. Think of it as a chance to form your own impressions before I shape your thoughts. After all, once you see something, it’s hard to unsee it – especially when it comes to interpreting songs or poetry.

I should mention that I won’t be delving into the “pancake boi” theory that you may have heard. Instead, I’ll offer alternative insights that shed light on the song’s true meaning.

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Now, let’s take a closer look at the lyrics:

Where have you been?
Been searching all along
Came facing twilight on and on
Without a clue
Without a sign
Without grasping yet
The real question to be asked
Where have I been?
I’m a shape shifter
At Poe’s masquerade
Hiding both face and mind
All free for you to draw
I’m a shape shifter
What else should I be?
Please don’t take off my mask
Revealing dark

Moments of calm
Nothing left to be found
A mirror right in front of me
That’s where I find
An empty glass
Reflecting the sad truth
It’s telling words not to be told
I need the mask
I’m a shape shifter
At Poe’s masquerade
Hiding both face and mind
All free for you to draw
I’m a shape shifter
Chained down to my core
Please don’t take off my mask
My place to hide
I can’t tell you
How to see me
Just a cage of bones
There’s nothing inside
Will it unleash me?
Burning down the walls
Is there a way for me to break?
I’m a shape shifter
At Poe’s masquerade
Hiding both face and mind
All free for you to draw
I’m a shape shifter
Have no face to show
Please don’t take off my mask
My disguise

You might be wondering why I linked the regular version of the song instead of the rain or Smash Bros. versions. Apart from personal preference, it’s crucial to this interpretation. Keep it in the back of your mind, as it sets the stage for a mind-blowing moment later on.

Unmasking the Interpretation

Before we dive into a line-by-line breakdown, I want to set up a few key points.

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Firstly, the narrator of the song addresses someone or something throughout. There are two equally valid interpretations that we’ll explore. Despite the different nuances, they both center around a core theme.

Secondly, Persona 5 revolves around the idea of taking initiative and making societal changes. As a choice-heavy game, “Beneath the Mask” plays at the end of a day when major decisions have already been made. At this point, you’re faced with a choice: take one last action or sleep and progress to the next day.

Now, let’s uncover those interpretations:

  1. Joker addressing society
  2. Joker addressing the player

For the breakdown of the lyrics, I’ll indicate which interpretation each line aligns with:

□Joker to Player
■Joker to Society
○Both

Line-by-Line Breakdown

Where have you been?
Been searching all along
□ This line suggests that the power rests with the player, as Joker questions their whereabouts.

■ It directly questions society about its whereabouts in the face of injustice, fitting perfectly with Persona 5’s themes.

Came facing twilight on and on
○ This line alludes to the song’s setting during twilight hours, a time when Joker’s thoughts are consumed by the weighty matters he faces repeatedly.

Without a clue
Without a sign
Without grasping yet
The real question to be asked
Where have I been?
□ Building upon the first line, Joker desires agency over his own life.

■ It also acknowledges that Joker himself can be held accountable for not standing up against injustices, despite calling out society’s shortcomings.

○ Furthermore, it signifies Joker’s realization that he should be asking himself the same question he asked the player or society (depending on the interpretation).

I’m a shape shifter
At Poe’s masquerade
□ This crucial line warrants its own section. So, let’s proceed to explore the allusion to Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death.”

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Poe’s Masquerade

In this short story, the protagonist, Prince Prospero, isolates himself and his friends from a kingdom ravaged by a deadly illness. As a form of entertainment, they hold a masquerade ball in an abbey with seven rooms, each decorated in a different color. The final room, symbolizing death, is black with blood-red windows – a room no one wants to enter.

The rooms can be interpreted as the seven deadly sins or the seven stages of life, with the final room representing death. However, what’s crucial for our analysis is what happens at midnight.

An intruder, dressed as the Red Death, infiltrates the ball. The prince pursues the figure, eventually cornering them in the seventh room. As the prince confronts the intruder, he falls dead, and the other guests unmask the figure, only to find that there is nothing underneath. Panic ensues, and everyone in the abbey contracts the disease and perishes.

This story is relevant because masquerades grant attendees a sense of anonymity to express themselves without judgment. Masks represent their true selves. However, for Joker, masks are merely another face he can wear, thanks to his role as the Fool Arcana or wildcard.

The line “I’m a shape shifter at Poe’s masquerade” can be understood in three ways:

○ Consider how Joker adapts his personality to fit in with those around him, much like changing masks at a masquerade ball.

Now that we’ve explored this allusion, let’s continue with the breakdown:

Hiding both face and mind
All free for you to draw
□ Joker’s true self is rarely revealed in the game, only seen through his first Persona, Arsene. This enables players to shape his character, drawing him however they please.

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■ Similarly, Joker hides his true self from society. In their eyes, he can be whatever they want him to be. This theme is explored extensively in Persona 5, as the public’s perception of the Phantom Thieves changes throughout the game.

I’m a shape shifter
Chained down to my core
Please don’t take off my mask
My place to hide
○ Continuing from the previous lines, this suggests it is in Joker’s nature to adapt, transforming into different personalities to conceal his inner self. However, he becomes trapped in this cycle, yearning to retain his mask as a place of refuge.

I can’t tell you
How to see me
Just a cage of bones
There’s nothing inside
□ This line emphasizes that Joker has no control over how players or society perceive him. As a silent protagonist, he is a blank slate onto which players project themselves. Joker lacks a canon name, love interests, etc. – those are all determined by the player.

Will it unleash me?
Burning down the walls
Is there a way for me to break?
○ These lines echo the quote “It shall become the wings of rebellion that breaketh thy chains of captivity,” speaking to the desire to break free from the cycle Joker finds himself in.

I’m a shape shifter
Have no face to show
Please don’t take off my mask
My disguise
○ Alongside the line “revealing dark,” this references the ghostly figure from “The Masque of the Red Death.” Comparing Joker to the Red Death is particularly striking, as the figure moves through the seven rooms of the abbey, much like Joker navigating the confrontations with the seven deadly sins in palaces.

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Multiple Versions, Diverse Themes

Before we conclude, I want to mention that different versions of the song exist:

:black_small_square: Normal
:black_small_square: Normal – Instrumental
:black_small_square: Rain
:black_small_square: Rain Instrumental
:black_small_square: Dancing Star Night Remix
:black_small_square: Smash Ultimate

Each version fits the tone of the game or situation it is designed for. The song itself changes to reflect its themes, emphasizing the relationship between lyrics and instrumentation. This realization adds an extra layer of appreciation to “Beneath the Mask.”

And there you have it – an exploration of the song that will leave you breathless.

Why It Isn’t Pancake Boi

Some may argue that the song is about “pancake boi” addressing Joker or speaking about him. However, I find this interpretation doesn’t align neatly with the lyrics of “Beneath the Mask.” Additionally, the allusion to Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” feels more fitting in relation to Joker himself, rather than the infamous pancake incident.

Moreover, the encounter between these two characters occurs much later in the game, long after players have heard “Beneath the Mask” numerous times. The connection could be made earlier when the player makes significant decisions.

So, despite teasing an alternative analysis, I hope I’ve managed to avoid spoilers here.

In Conclusion

I must confess that my analysis of this song may only scratch the surface. Nonetheless, even at face value, there’s much to appreciate about “Beneath the Mask.” While Persona songs often weave powerful rhythms, the lyrics are generally straightforward. However, this particular song demonstrates a depth that invites reflection. With its different arrangements aligning with the song’s themes, it’s truly a delightful and thought-provoking experience to listen to.

So, did it live up to the mind-blowing revelation you were expecting?

To dive even deeper into the mysteries of Persona 5 and beyond, check out the 5 WS, where curiosity knows no bounds.

The 5 Ws and H are questions whose answers are considered basic in information gathering or problem solving. 5ws.wiki will best answer all your questions

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