By: Norma Sorto, Contributing Writer
The South Korean boyband, BTS, released their new highly anticipated album, “Map of the Soul: 7” on Feb. 21. It is a 20-track album that features songs from their previous album, “Map of the Soul: Persona,” plus a digital bonus track, “ON,” featuring Sia. In accordance with the album drop, BTS also released a music video for “ON” on Youtube.
BTS gained viral, international success with their album “Love Yourself: Her,” which sold over 1.2 million albums worldwide in 2017. BTS was the first K-pop group to be nominated for and to win a Billboard Music Award, won both “Top Social Artist” and “Top Duo/Group.” In 2020, they were the first K-pop group to ever perform at the Grammy Awards, performing “Old Town Road” with Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cryus.
If you are not familiar with BTS, they consist of seven members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys, or Beyond the Scene, has cultivated their own unique style of music and image. They are highly influenced by hip hop and R&B and also incorporate rock-inspired elements.
“Black Swan” talks about losing your passion for the things you once loved. The song is a confession of the artist who is scared that music will no longer touch or move them. With its somber instrumental and elements of hip hop, it is a song worth listening to. “My Time” is performed by the youngest member Jungkook. The song has elements of R&B and talks about Jungkook’s life before fame and group recognition. The track “Friends” is an endearing song about Jimin and V’s friendship. Each track in the album is a reflection from each member of their past memories as a group.
The morning of their album drop, I also woke up excited to watch their new music video “ON.” I was surprised to see that it was a performance video including 30 dancers and 12 marching band members. The performance held a powerful choreography featuring BTS contemplating on how pain and fear can become motivational.
Their new album “Map of the Soul: 7” went beyond my expectations. Each song represents their journey as a seven-member group for seven years. I was expecting this album to be the same as their previous albums but of course BTS is always experimenting with new diverse sounds and epic performances. That is exactly what their song “ON” shows. Their growth as a group embarks a new era for the seven members, an era where the members have balance, passion, and dedication.
Overall, the album shows how BTS is always experimenting with new music. The K-Pop industry is always changing and creating new trends for people to be immersed in. BTS is changing the game in K-pop, becoming the gold standard of excellence other artists can only try to live up to.