BTS makes their comeback with ‘Map of the Soul: 7’

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BTS, also known as Bangtan Sonyeondan, is arguably the biggest boy band on the planet. The group, consisting of the 7 members, RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook, have made their long-awaited comeback with ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ on February 21st. The Korean group is on their way to the top of the world now with over 24 million twitter followers, billions of views on their music videos and dedicated fans from around the globe.

Having debuted in 2013, BTS has been in the music industry for roughly 7 years but only recently gained popularity in America. After their 2017 American debut at the Billboard Music Awards, the group has increasingly brought K-pop into western media by being the first K-pop group to have been invited to the American Music Awards, the Grammys and shows like, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. 

Seemingly, this is their biggest comeback yet. Their company, BigHit Entertainment (BigHit), started their promotions since January 10th, 2020, with the release of one of their tracks, Interlude: Shadow. BigHit also introduced Connect BTS, a global art project that aims to bring light to artists in large cities including London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul, and New York. This newly released album is a repackage, which follows up their previous album ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’, released on April 12, 2019. The album dropped on all major streaming platforms on February 21st, a 20 song album with a solo for each member and introducing new subunits within the group. Their fans, known as Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth (ARMY), within the first two days of the album release, has gotten 30.1 million streams on Spotify, achieved 94 Number 1’s on various charts around the world, and helping reach their official music video to over 72 million views.

“On”, the title track for the Map of The Soul: 7 album, is a powerful anthem dedicated to conveying the message of strength and success through hardships while paying homage to their past releases. The lyrics express how they are afraid and will always have their shadows looming under their feet. But by accepting the struggles and challenges that come, facing them head-on and persevering gives them more strength to resist and to not run away. Sonically, “On” uses the powerful sound of the traditional American concept of the marching band. The striking sounds of snare drums give a sense of going into battle. With the bass drums and brass on top, background gospel choir vocals alongside too, it feels like the soundtrack ramps up into its own fight song, giving itself an heir of vitality and power, matching the strength of the lyrics.

With a piercing stringed arrangement of the violin and cello on top of a trap beat, ‘Black Swan’ truly pushes the limits of composition and brings something unexpected to the table. The contrast between the cries of the pure instrumental and synthetic music pictures the hopelessness of the song distinctly. The song staying true to the trap beat foundation with additions of autotune, and it may seem chaotic but, it gives the song an original color while being used in an innovative way, showing the distress of the lyrics. The song follows the ideas of losing passion in your life and losing yourself, depicted in the translated lines  “If this can no longer resonate, no longer make my heart vibrate, then like this may be how I die my first death.” From the point of view of the lyricists, BTS suggests that music can’t ever stop resonating with them in their hearts, or it’d lead to an event worse than death.

 

In the midst of the comeback, a new stadium world tour was announced, starting with 39 stops starting on April 18th in Seoul, Korea and ending in Tokyo, Japan on September 2nd. With many stops already sold out, BTS looks to perform in front of 2 million fans all around the world, showing that their momentum will only accelerate.