K-Pop Comeback Spotlight: BTS Fourth Studio Album “Map Of The Soul: 7”
It has been a long wait but totally worth it- BTS smashes with their diverse, unique and extremely delightful artistry
With every comeback, BTS has always explored wide genres of music while also ingraining in them deep-meaning lyrics relatable to their listeners. As the global superstars return with new music, they divulge into more personal stories which is an accumulation of their entire journey marked from the very beginning.
A second part of the Map Of The Soul series, Map Of The Soul: 7 too has a reference to Carl Jung’s theories. On February 21, the septet unveiled their much awaited album along with the music video “ON” Kinetic Manifesto Film: Come Prima. Another official MV of the lead single is scheduled to released on February 28.
This is BTS’ comeback after eight months since their last release. Their last comeback was last year on April 12 with Map of the Soul: Persona. Just like Map Of The Soul: Persona, here too, they are revisiting the past again.
Lots of records were created and broken within a few hours off the album’s release. The album topped iTunes Chart across 93 countries. Besides that, all the tracks from the album occupied the top 20 spots on the US iTunes Chart. While the title track “ON” achieved Real-time All-Kill on all the Korean music charts.
BigHit raised anticipations by dropping comeback details along with comeback map on January 8. The comeback map showed that the comeback schedule would take place in four phases. It also confirmed that two comeback trailers, along with a single, will be dropped prior to the album’s release. There was also an underlying curiosity regarding CONNECT, BTS.
The first comeback trailer “Interlude: Shadow” starring Suga was released on January 10. A sequel to “Intro: Persona” which delves on finding about one’s true persona, “Interlude: Shadow” is about trying to understand the connections between a persona and a shadow.
After a lot of speculations, BTS finally revealed their CONNECT, BTS project on January 14. A meaningful project, the aim of CONNECT, BTS was to bring artists across various platforms together and showcase their art. Backed by BTS, this wide-scale project collaboration is one of a kind.
On January 17, BTS released their pre-released track titled “Black Swan” along with an art film that features dancers from MN Company. The single went on to break the record of highest number 1 in iTunes Chart by a Korean act.
BTS’ stage got grander as they performed “Black Swan” for the very first time at The Late Late Show With James Corden on January 29.
BigHit dropped the second comeback trailer “Outro: Ego” which stars J-Hope on February 3. A brighter song compared to the previous trailer, the song is about looking back to the past. It contemplates on the road not taken, but accepting the present is happy with the selected choices.
The dance practice of BTS’ “Black Swan” choreography was released on February 7.
Concept photos of four different versions were released between February 10 to February 13. While the first version depicts a white swan, the second portrays a black swan. For the third set of concept photos, they dress up luxuriously preparing for a feast. Finally, in the last version they look much brighter and happier.
On February 17, the album tracklist was dropped revealing that the new release will consist of a total of 20 songs. While “Intro: Persona”, “Dionysus” and “Jamais Vu” are some of the songs from the previous album, there are 15 new songs.
A 30-second preview of the title track “ON” was released on February 21 at 6 a.m. KST exclusively on TikTok.
The group had a Vlive special show on February 21 at 12 p.m. KST where they talked about the album and gave some spoilers.
귓가엔 빠른 심장 소리만 범ㅍ범ㅍ범ㅍ
두 눈을 뜨고 나의 숲으로 점ㅍ점ㅍ점ㅍ🤩
잠시 후, 정오(KST)에 V앱에서 만나요! 헤이 나나나😄😆#BTS #방탄소년단 #MAP_OF_THE_SOUL_7 #인터내셔널팝케이센세이션썬샤인레인보우트레디셔널트랜스퍼USB허브쉬림프BTS컴백
👉 https://t.co/4KUKpf2pQx pic.twitter.com/PEs0bmBqsC
— BTS_official (@bts_bighit) February 21, 2020
Map Of The Soul: 7 First Impressions
BTS has outdone themselves with this comeback. It would not be an exaggeration that this is the best album from the group so far. What makes this album special is the number 7 emphasizing on the fact that this is the group’s seventh year and also BTS consists of seven members.
One of the core traits about BTS has been their teamwork. Hence, this album is their way of saying that they need all the seven members to function.
In addition, Map Of The Soul: 7 feels much more intimate as it consists of BTS’ own personal stories. Each of the members have contributed in creating this album with RM being the biggest contributor having worked on as many as 16 tracks for the album.
The album consists of 20 tracks in total. While “Intro: Persona”, “Make It Right”, “Dionysus”, “Jamais Vu” and “Boy With Luv” were some of the old songs from the previous album, the other 15 tracks are completely new. It also consist of seven solo songs by each of the members and three sub-unit tracks.
“Interlude: Shadow” stars Suga who showcases his rap as well as vocals in an emotional song that expresses the fear that comes with success. The song encompasses the connection of persona with shadow and finally reaches the conclusion that they co-exist together.
A song about losing love for something that was once a passion “Black Swan” cleverly weaves those unsettling feelings through its dissonant sounds and piercing lyrics.
“Filter” is a solo track that features Jimin’s breathy vocals. It is latin-pop song which is pleasing to the ears. Through this song, Jimin expresses that there are many sides to him that people might not have seen however he wants to be loved irrespective of his image in people’s minds.
“My Time” is Jungkook’s solo track that conveys the feelings that he has felt during the time period from when he started out to where he has reached at present. Jungkook’s smooth vocals that flows with the addictive beats are mesmerizing in this R&B track.
The chorus sounds absolutely amazing where Jungkook goes “Oh, I can’t call ya, I can’t hol’ ya/ Oh, I can’t” and his adlibs are cherry on the top.
Co-written by Troye Sivan, “Louder Than Bombs” is indeed very loud in terms of quality. Experimenting with a new kind of sound, BTS has created yet another masterpiece in the form of this single.
The title track “ON” sounds grand with its upbeat energy. Comprising of powerful lyrics adorned brass and percussion instrumentals, the song is on another level.
Reflecting BTS’ thoughts on their ups and downs as artists in their seven-year journey, it also has references to “N.O” which is the title track of their second album O!RUL8,2?. The lines are extremely catchy with the highlight being the “Hey na na na” part and it is impossible to listen to this song without humming along.
A song that features the rapline members “UGH!” has the similar emotions as their previous tracks such as “Ddaeng” and the “Cypher” series. With cleverly written lyrics, the track takes a jab at all the BTS haters who say malicious things about them.
“00:00 (Zero O’ Clock)” features the vocal line members who harmonize with their honey dripped voices. A feel good song, it urges the listeners to stay happy. The line “Ooh-ooh, and you gonna be happy” gives a sense of comfort and assurance that everything will be alright again.
“Inner Child” is V’s solo song which is co-produced and co-composed by him. Through the song, he talks about the struggles faced by his younger self. Out of all his solo songs, this song comparatively more cheerful as the lyrics say that as he embraced his flaws, he found peace and is finally happy now. This sincere song is very heart touching and also accentuates V’s deep soulful voice.
“Friends” is Jimin and V’s duet which is also an embodiment of their everlasting friendship. Co-written and co-produced by Jimin, the song talks about the friendship between the fellow 95 liners. When the duo sing “You are my soulmate” to each other, it captures the camaraderie and mutual love between them.
It makes everyone wish that they had something to that with someone. Jimin and V has the most unique vocal colors in the group and Jimin’s tenor voice meshes perfectly well with V’s baritone voice.
Jin’s solo song “Moon” is his heartfelt message towards BTS’ fans ARMY. The song is co-composed by Jin.
Using the analogy of how the moon and the earth have always been together, he declares himself as moon while calling the ARMY his earth. This song is an embodiment of how immense Jin’s love is for the ARMY.
“Respect” is hip-hop song which features the sub-unit of RM and Suga. It is an honest conversation between the duo about the habitual usage of respect in daily life. A really fun song with some dosage of satoori, it also refers to some of the old lyrics of BTS’ old songs such as “Moving On”.
The latest edition to the iconic “We Are Bulletproof” – the emotional “We are Bulletproof: the Eternal” hits different from its predecessors.
The song speaks about how BTS started out as seven but now they have ARMY. Due to this, they have managed to overcome all the difficulties and are not afraid of any hardships that might come.
“Outro: Ego” which stars J-Hope is probably the happiest song from the album. However, the song does hold deep meaning as it conveys the story of J-Hope’s journey from the very start to where he is at present. The song preaches positive thoughts and loving oneself.
The Map Of The Soul: 7 pieces itself coherently with the 20 tracks. It progresses from “Intro: Persona” which is about looking for true self to “Interlude: Shadow” where one wants to escape from the shadow that they have created. Then, finally it concludes with “Outro: Ego” that talks about being confident and loving oneself.
The album also consists of another version of “ON” that features singer Sia. With Sia’s unique voice, the song sounds different yet still enjoyable.
Listening to Map Of The Soul: 7 is like going on a fun-filled adventure that has its happy, sad and every kind of moments. BTS’ discography is always great to listen to because they create wonderful melodies across wide genres while also telling honest stories.
With Map Of The Soul: 7, BTS sends across a message in spite of everything they are still the same boys who are passionate about music.
“ON” Kinetic Manifesto Film: Come Prima MV Afterthoughts
It was grandiose, majestic and everything that is unimaginable. At the end of the day, there is a reason why BTS keeps achieving untapped heights in an over-saturated industry. From the intense choreography to the jaw-dropping visuals everything was amazing.
Staying true to their reputation as power performers, BTS highlighted their fluid dance movements in the MV. They also revisited the past by incorporating some of their older dance routines in this choreography as well. Interesting dance formations continuously keep drawing attention throughout the video.
What is great about this MV is that every member has a moment to shine. While Jungkook’s bridge is an eargasmic pleasure, the dance breaks especially J-Hope’s are absolutely mind boggling. On the other hand, V’s quick and sharp transitions in his expressions as he turns his head in a millisecond is so attractive.
Jin’s dance center movements were absolute perfection and it is impossible to take eyes away from Jimin while he is dancing. In addition to that, rapline members RM, Suga and J-Hope completely raise the bar with the unique flow of their rap verses.
Watching “ON” never gets tiring as it has too many things happening. The drum sounds in the beginning hypes up the atmosphere. BTS has always surprised with their artistry that it should not be surprising yet they still manage to add new surprises with their every release.
Image and Video Credits: BigHit Entertainment