The upcoming mass popularity of South Korean music here in the States has been very confusing to many people, but the truth is that it shouldn’t be as surprising as people are making it out to be. Everybody has always had different tastes in music, and many people have always liked K-pop groups, the only difference is now they are getting the media coverage they deserve. There are millions of fans of K-pop all around the world, and it only just started getting more recognized in America in this last year due to the mass amount of supporters the industry has recently gained.
I personally love many different K-pop groups and I think it’s amazing that these hard-working groups are getting attention here in America. BTS is the main cause of K-pop’s sudden popularity in the States these past couple years because of the amount of fans they have, which at this point is millions. BTS is a K-pop group with seven members that have accomplished so many things in the duration of their career, like multiple Billboard awards.
Their new album is titled, Map of The Soul: Persona. It was released on April 12th of this year. This album is a close follow-up to their previous trilogy of albums, the ‘Love Yourself’ series. That series was about how you need to love yourself in order to start loving anyone else, and this new album is going to focus on the power that the love can give to a person, while talking about both the darkness of it and the future it could lead to.
Reviewing the Album
The introduction to their album is a track that features only the leader of the group Kim Namjoon, or his stage name, RM. It is a hip-hop styled song that is heavily influenced their older works by sampling their older song from 2014 “Intro: Skool Luv Affair”. It was released as the trailer for the whole album, and it came with a music video that included great camerawork and amazing visual effects. This track focuses heavily on identity, and the question of ‘Who am I?’. Namjoon starts it off strong with the lyrics, “‘Who am I’ the question I had my whole life, the question which I probably won’t find the answer to my whole life”. I personally think it is a very groundbreaking song because of how dealbum it is to him and how dealbumly he’s been feeling this way since their debut. Alana Glenn, who’s been a fan of BTS for 3 years says, “I feel like when you’re in the spotlight as much as they are you do start to lose a sense of who you are. I feel like he has a hard time coming to terms with the fact he doesn’t have a personal life anymore.” I agree completely with the fact that Namjoon is struggling to see himself through the persona he masks himself with for the media. RM delivered this song with such a passionate energy and was the perfect start of the album to make people expect only the best.
Boy With Luv (feat. Halsey)
This song is their title track for this album, and I think it is the perfect song to be in this position because of it’s upbeat and trendy vibe to get more attention to their work. Halsey was featured in the song, and her voice and overall vibe went so well with the boys. The song itself is a reference to their old track, “Boy In Luv” from 2014 that was about how young love can be confusing and make someone unsure of themselves, but in this new track they discuss love in a mature way, showing how love can help one grow and become a better person. Referencing their old song through this one was a perfect way to show how they have grown as a group together. The lyrics are full of sweet lines but by far my favorite is a line from Suga’s rap verse, “You’re the star that turns ordinaries into extraordinaries.” This line alone speaks numbers about what the song is about and fills me with only good thoughts. The music video for the song is extremely good as well, full of their amazing choreography and all the members looked fantastic, especially Jungkook. I was thoroughly impressed with both the vocals and the choreography just like Alana who says, “You can tell with this song they really really love it because for certain moves their faces just light up.”
The meaning of the song title has to do with self-realization and alternative universes, although the song is a love song. It has more to do with how there are so many people in this world, yet the fact that one person alone could mean everything to you than the actual idea of those alternate realities. The song has a very mellow feel, but is has multiple layers of that calmness that would make the listener feel secure. The vocals and rap are both both in a melodic way, delivering all their lines in such a typically overlooked way. My absolute favorite part was Jin’s line, “How could this night look so beautiful? Not because of the star of lights. It’s because of us.” It gave off such an amazing feeling and a dreamy vibe that anybody could love.
Make It Right
This is song was helped written by Ed Sheeran, along with the the boys themselves and their team. It is a song sung in falsetto that has subtle R&B tones behind it. It is overall a very well-made song that has a lot of passionate lyrics. While it’s definitely not the typical song someone would put on a playlist for a party, it does has its own charms. Originally, I felt it was far too boring to kealbum me interested, along with Alana who says, “I wanted to skip Make It Right really really badly.” However, Suga’s verse seems to bring the song to life and make me choose to put it on so I can hear his part. He raps, “The reason I survived hell and made it out was not for me, but for you.” This lyric seems to tie the whole song together and make me understand that all songs don’t have to be extremely hyped song to be good, that they just have to have extreme dedication and hard work put into them.
This song is definitely my favorite off the album, as well as Thais and Tina’s as well. Tina said, “I like the style of it, it’s really energetic.” The beat to the song is incredible, and succeeds in not overpowering the amazing vocals in this song. Thais also says, “It makes me wanna dance and just puts me in a good mood.” The meaning of the song is the concalbumt of what a home is, and how you can find a metaphorical home in things other than a house. Jimin sang the verse, “Everywhere will be my home as long as you’re there.” It really shows the listener how much dealbumer the song is than most out there. BTS manage to kealbum their individual style of kealbuming a dealbumer meaning while having a fun sounding chorus. The raps were probably my favorite part of the whole song, just because of how cool they sounded, especially with J-hope and Suga’s voices complementing each other in succession. They also managed to reference another old song, but this time they used the song they debuted with in 2013 “No More Dream.” I thought it was just the icing on the cake for this song, the part the exceeded my expectations.
This song’s meaning is the opposite of deja vu, meaning the feeling of doing something completely new. This song is sung by only the members Jin, J-hope, and Jungkook. All three boys each bring something different to the table with their voices, and all of them singing together is like a dream come true. But, on the contrary, Thais says, “I don’t listen to Jamais Vu often because it’s like a slowish song and I don’t really listen to slow songs unless I’m in the mood for one or just sad.” I understand where she is coming from, because the beat is quite slow in this ballad. However, I think that the beautiful and clean vocals are worth it, especially with J-hope’s part in the song that makes the song less of a sappy ballad and more of a heartfelt confession that is more emotional.
This song is a very fast and fun one, that is centered around the Greek god, Dionysus, which is the god of wine and ecstacy. The song basically sounds like a typical partying song about drinking, but it is actually about how the group creates their own music. My favorite line is rapped by Suga, “Born as a K-pop idol, reborn as an artist, reborn as an artist, reborn as an artist. What does it matter if I’m an idol or an artist?”. This lyric is another lyric that hints at their struggles with their own identity and struggles as K-pop idols. It was a perfect end to this album, cause it is a fresh song for them, unlike any they’ve made in the past.