Music

BTS bares its musical soul

K-pop band BTS during the promotion of their new album ‘Map of the Soul: 7’

K-pop band BTS during the promotion of their new album ‘Map of the Soul: 7’  

The hugely popular K-pop band’s new album, ‘Map of The Soul: 7’, is a heartwarming story of their journey

When K-Pop Supergroup BTS became a global phenomenon, it was widely speculated that they wouldn’t last long. However, the septet has proved the sceptics wrong by continuing to rule the popularity charts. With the release of its latest album, looks like the band is here to stay. ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ shows the group’s ability to look beyond K-pop with the album being a mix of styles — ballads, rap, electro-disco, Latin, progressive and some Disney-esque music.

“The emotions in our songs are something that our generation and everyone around the world can relate to,” said leader RM at the Map of the Soul: 7 global press conference that was streamed live on YouTube.

The album, which has a total of 20 tracks, of which 15 are new and five part of the previous album ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’, was released on February 21. It is said to be one of their biggest and most intricate productions, since the launch of Connect: BTS — a global project that connected 22 artistes and five cities. Their latest offering weaves in Carl Jung’s philosophies and tells the story of the band members’ journey along with references to their earlier works.

For me this album ranks below their ‘Wings’ (2016), ‘You Never Walk Alone’ and ‘Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever’. ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ begins with five of their earlier tracks and works perfectly to tell the story that the band’s intended to.

“We debuted seven years ago; sometimes we were uncertain, and every time that happened that shadow and fear inside of us grew,” said Suga at the press conference. The first new track on this album, ‘Interlude: Shadow’ is Suga’s solo, where he looks back on his childhood dream of being a rap artiste and as he grew in fame, his shadow became bigger, it was harder to find himself.

‘We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal’ is my favourite song on the album and speaks of how they were just seven members but with their fans they became bulletproof, a nod to their name which translates to ‘Bulletproof Boy Scouts’, no matter what happens they will always be here.

The title track ‘ON’ is a stadium-like anthem. While it is a reversal of their 2013 hit ‘N.O’, the music style and the lyrics are quite different. This track also has a digital version of the song which features vocal powerhouse Sia. ‘Louder Than Bombs’, which is co-written by Suga, RM and J-Hope alongside South-African born Australian singer Troye Sivan, is not just haunting and gives a nod to some of Sivan’s earlier works but also is a perfect fusion of all the elements that reflect the BTS of now.

‘Friends’ is sung by V and Jimin and also marks the latter’s official production debut. It traces their life together since they met each other, references little personal experiences and overall is heartwarming as they sing of how they will stay by each other’s side even after the cheers fade away and close the song by singing to the other ‘You are my soulmate’. ‘Respect’ is the subunit song that features RM and Suga. When it was first announced, fans wondered how the two with very different music styles are going to work together. This song seems to be a novel experience. ‘Jamais Vu’ featuring Jungkook, Jin and J-Hope was part of the last album, but to have included it in this album means offering a full package.

The members also have their solos — V’s ‘Inner Child’ is an ode to his past, Jimin’s ‘Filter’ is Latina influenced; it is not just a lovely song to listen to but also a great salsa number, Jungkook’s ‘My Time’ is an R&B influenced track that weaves in the emotions he went through as a young boy who was training for a life in the limelight and Jin’s ‘Moon’, a heartfelt thank you letter to fans - ARMY. The vocal line of BTS, Jungkook, V, Jin and Jimin also showcases their abilities on ‘00:00 (Zero O Clock)’ that runs with the underlying message of no matter what happens, every day is a fresh canvas for one to paint on, so we shouldn’t dwell on past mistakes.

‘Intro: Persona’, RM’s solo is another song from their previous album ‘Outro: Ego’, a solo by J-Hope is the last track. It is reminiscent of the music style that J-Hope showed us in his solo mixtape ‘Hope World’.

By the time you reach the end of the album, you feel like having had a heart-to-heart talk with the BTS.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 4:21:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/bts-bares-its-musical-soul/article30930763.ece

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