Old memories, New music― Map of the Soul: 7

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MAP OF THE SOUL. Bangtan Sonyeondan, better known as BTS, released their latest album ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ on Feb. 21. With a total of 20 tracks, the album has 15 new ones and five old ones from their last album titled ‘Map of the Soul: Persona.’ The album is the “darkest, strangest and yet most relevant and ambitious music BTS has made yet,” according to LA Times.

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It is that time again when each BTS fan, or ARMY, has a job to do. Some may connect dots from lyrics and metaphors, creating theories. Some may practice their dances relentlessly, getting ready to upload tutorials. Most of them, however, would be streaming their music and videos non-stop, to break records. It is comeback time again, everyone.

   The album titled ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ features multiple styles of songs that bring a new sense of freshness into the listener’s ears; also, the album features previous tracks from their last album titled ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’.

   The new tracks start with ‘Interlude: Shadow’ by Min Yoongi, or Suga, where he raps about his fears and experiences with success and fame. He addresses the downsides of being famous, including lyrics like “I’m afraid, flying high is terrifying/ No one told me/ How lonely it is up here/ I can leap in the air but also plunge.”

   The next track is ‘Black Swan’, which is sung by all seven members. This song, in particular, has an east-Asian tone to it, accompanied by a swift choreography the fans can view. The song discusses how they think their life’s purpose is to create music and if one day that passion fades away, it would feel like death. The symbolism in this song is very associative with their past works as the whole album is. 

   ‘Filter’ by Park Jimin has a Latino flair to it, with guitar strings strumming and Park’s high-pitched voice accompanying the lyrics Mix the colors in the palette, pick your filter/ Which me do you want?.” According to Jimin, the song is to bring out his feeling of expressing every version of himself and to really put him out there.

   The next song on the album is also a solo, by Jeon Jungkook, and is titled ‘My Time.’ Jungkook talks about his life priorities and wonders at how quickly the time flew― once he was a young boy who thought of the world as a massive place and next, he was a superstar who can just get to a part of the world in a few hours. He mentions how sometimes all this becomes too overwhelming for him, but he has his fans, the ARMYs, who motivate him and he is happy with them.

   While the track ‘Louder than Bombs’, which was co-penned by Troye Sivan, deals with their thoughts about inner shadows, songs like ‘We are Bulletproof: The Eternal’ state happily that despite the hardships faced, they will keep going on with their determination.

   Moving to solo songs again, Kim Seokjin’s ‘Moon’ is a direct conversation between him and the fans with lyrics like “You stay by my side/ Even when I am sad/ Even when I am hurt/ You simply shine on me.” Kim Taehyung’s Inner Child’ is a reflection on his past self when he was struggling through some hard times. The song is mixed with a variety of sounds like guitar and some drums, which complement Taehyung’s deep vocals beautifully.

   The next song on this list is ‘Friends’. Sung by Jimin and Taehyung for each other, the song reflects a childlike innocence in their friendship where they refer to each other by ‘alien’ and ‘pinky finger’. The music itself is brighter sounding than some of their heavier and deeper songs. The song basically discusses how they have been by their side for so long and almost like a promise that once “the cheer dies down”, they will still be standing with each other. It is a pure song based on friendship and the entire lyrics’ translation can touch one’s heart or perhaps bring out a tear in one’s eyes.

   ‘UGH!’ is like the “MOTS:7’s (diss) track, where BTS’s rap line address haters and detractors once more,” according to Teen Vogue. The rap line, consisting of Yoongi, Kim Namjoon, and Jung Hoseok, are known for such tracks like the Cypher series they composed in their earlier albums. Another rap song, sung by Yoongi and Namjoon, ‘Respect’ is an honest conversation between the two regarding the implications of being respected and what it means to them.

   ‘Zero O’Clock’ is a song similar to their old song titled ‘Magic Shop’ as both act like a comforting song for BTS as well as the ARMYs. Sung by the vocal line―Jimin, Jungkook, Taehyung, and Seokjin―it consists of an indelible convergence of beats and harmonization which make this song sentimental, too.

   Finally, the lead single of this album is ‘ON,’ which is also sung by all of the members. The other version of this song is only available digitally and features Sia Kate Isobelle Furler, commonly known as just Sia. This song again repeats the idea of their hardships and how they are not going to give up, with lyrics such as “bring the pain on” portraying their determination. The first music video features an array of complicated dance choreographies that demonstrate the energy powerhouse BTS truly is, along with backup dancers and a marching band. Even James Corden could not be entirely successful at performing them while BTS taught him the steps in the Carpool Karaoke episode, so if you think you can do it, go ahead and learn from the official dance practice video for ‘ON’ and give it a shot.

   To conclude, the album is one of their best ones so far and is certainly breaking new records. For people familiar and unfamiliar with their songs, this is the album to add to your playlist because it truly captures the beauty of their journey with themselves and their ARMys. Furthermore, if visuals are your thing, then do check out their second music video for this album. Happy ARMY-ing!