When the general population of the world thinks K-pop, they’re thinking BTS. There is good reason for it, as the group has had dominant years within the scene, putting out previous hits like “FAKE LOVE,” “Blood Sweat & Tears” and “IDOL.” Along with their big songs, the group’s continuous worldwide expansion has also made themselves a big name within the industry. On Saturday evening the group is set to play at the weekly American comedy program Saturday Night Live, which features a mainstream musical act on every episode.
The seven-man group built upon their already large discography on Friday when they released the album MAP OF THE SOUL: PERSONA. This is the group’s first Korean album since the start of the three album project Love Yourself. This album includes seven new tracks, including a title track with American pop artist Halsey being billed as the feature. When listening to this album it’s easy to understand why they would have such a large fanbase: they make good music. This album is good, in some spots even great, but didn’t deliver on the levels that past songs have. Let’s break down the album track by track.
A Review of BTS’ Latest Album Map of The Soul: Persona
- Intro : Persona
- Boy With Luv (feat. Halsey) (Title Track)
- Make It Right
- Jamais Vu
Track 1: “Intro : Persona”
The opening track is an ode to the group’s past music, having a similar sound to the 2014 intro track “Skool Luv Affair.” The purely rap based song is performed by RM. The song is the classic sound that you would recognize if you’ve listened to older songs from the group. It’s fast, intense and has a great beat. The lyrics when translated to English show an interesting struggle being shared about personality and self.
Track 2: “Boy With Luv” (feat. Halsey)
For BTS, following up on the songs “FAKE LOVE” and “IDOL” is a tall order. Personally, I considered “FAKE LOVE” to be the best song that came out of 2018. The past three comebacks from BTS included fast, exciting songs. Whether they were sad or positive in their message, the repeating theme is was that they had songs that left a real impact. While “Boy With Luv” sounds great, I didn’t get that impact I heard in previous songs. I thought this song was great, but at the same time, it can’t be compared to previous releases. It is a nice tune, but not something that will be considered for a top song of the year. The thing is that BTS have set their own bar so high in the past that a song like this feels like it underdelivers despite being good.
When it comes to choreography, the performance is very well put together. It’s very BTS-like, but unique at the same time. The video has great production value, but, similar to the song itself, can’t be compared to an older track like “FAKE LOVE.”
You can hear Halsey during parts of the song like the chorus or adlibs, but other than that she doesn’t have an appearance. I was hoping she could get some part of the song, but we did not get that. Even her involvement in the video seems somewhat limited. She appears, but only in a couple of scenes. If you gave someone this song and said it was just BTS, they would most likely ignore the different voice being heard at points.
Track 3: “Mikrokosmos”
“Mikrokosmos” is a love song from the group that follows the theme of talking about the microcosm philosophy. While I wasn’t big on the backing track, the vocals were great. If I had to rank all the songs on this album, while this is a good song, I would put it in last place. It just felt like another song, and that could fall on the fact that the beat was kind of lame.
Track 4: “Make It Right”
“Make It Right” was one of the less exciting songs on this album, but was still good. The simplistic song centers around a chill chorus with the repeating lyrics “All right, I can make it right.” Suga’s rap during the bridge stuck out to me as well done and a good lead into the final chorus.
Track 5: “HOME”
“HOME” was a very vocal-centered song by the group. I thought this article done by Pitchfork had a good analysis of the lyrics of the song, showing how BTS opens up about some of their struggles in the song. The R&B beat was great.
Track 6: “Jamais Vu”
The sixth song on the album called “Jamais Vu” was a decent slow song. This song was performed by the members Jungkook, Seokjin and Hoseok from the group, this song Like I say often with slower songs like this, I don’t see myself listening to something like this often, but I can appreciate the vocal talent and the performance on this song.
Track 7: “Dionysus”
The saying “saving the best for last” would be absolutely valid in this situation. Without a question, “Dionysus” was my favorite part of this album. The hostile sounding song included great rap verses and a catchy repetitive chorus. In the final chorus, I was surprised by rock elements being put into the song, which was a fun way to reel the listener back in.
Last Word on Map of The Soul: Persona
Top to bottom, this is a well put together album. Similar to the group BLACKPINK and their latest release, this song had an obvious focus on including English lyrics. Many choruses have tons of English lyrics. This only makes sense as the group claims they will be doing a stadium tour in America in 2019. One thing I liked about this album was the song titles. A few titles have a background, with some relating to Greek philosophy and Greek gods. While I still hold older songs from BTS on a higher pedestal, I consider the album Map of The Soul: Persona a great listen.
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