BTS creates youthful, refreshing sound in ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’


For the “Map of the Soul: Persona” concept photos, BTS poses in front of a bathroom mirror. Photo from Big Hit Entertainment, used with permission under fair use.

Seven-member South Korean group BTS broke records with its latest YouTube video as it became the most-streamed video in 24 hours and the fastest to hit 100 million views.

BTS became renowned for their successes in the Western music market, and they’ve often been considered to have “paved the way” for Asian artists. The boys have made appearances on the American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, and just recently, Saturday Night Live. They’ve left a major impact on the world ever since they spoke at a United Nations conference and were named “Next Generation Leaders” by TIME Magazine Asia.

The group’s music video “Boy With Luv” from their new album “Map of the Soul: Persona” accomplished record breaking milestones by obtaining 100 million views in less than two days and 74.6 million views within 24 hours. These new records topped noteworthy artists like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande.

“Map of the Soul: Persona” is the group’s first mini-album of 2019, and it embarks on a new message after concluding the “Love Yourself” series last year. After emphasizing the importance of self love and care, they’ve transitioned to a different concept surrounding Carl Jung’s psychological theories on individuality.

The album includes seven tracks blending a mixture of rock, EDM, pop and R&B. Although BTS’s versatility is demonstrated throughout all their albums, every song on “Map of the Soul: Persona” holds no resemblance to the next.

“Boy With Luv,” which is also the song in their record breaking April 12 music video, features a collaboration with Halsey. In fact, Halsey learned the Korean parts and adjusted to BTS’s culture rather than vice versa. It is their main promotional track, paired with an easygoing choreography that can be seen in their music video.

The lyrics appear to describe the average boy who has fallen in love, nothing more. However, the title of the song connects to a previously released song from 2014: “Boy In Luv.” Now, love is truly “with” the narrator as he learns to love himself first; these connections to previous songs and albums are demonstrated in all their releases.

The background of an electric guitar provides a lively, groovy mood that continues throughout the whole song. The uplifting vibes create a feeling of spring and summer. This is quite different than their last album’s intense, saxophone-based main track, “Idol.” Their new image has also grown to portray them as fully blossomed adults compared to their earlier angsty eras.

In addition to the instrumentals of the track, the lyrics were essential in differentiating this love song from others through emphasizing the growth that occurs in a relationship. The narrator is “flying high in the sky” with “the wings of Icarus” their significant other gave them. He learns how to develop as a person and reach his limits through this “love” he obtains.

Another one of their tracks with similarly bright and uplifting vibes is “Mikrokosmos.” BTS dedicated this track to their fanbase, ARMY. It’s a feel-good song full of their soft vocals and light drums, but once again, the most intimate parts are the lyrics. The boys state how they find themselves at their best when they are with their supporters, and it is a mutual relationship in which they’ll always be there for each other. In fact, the group forwardly sings, “I got you inside those pitch dark nights.” Fans have often accredited the boys’ music for helping them cope with personal struggles, and BTS also persevered through such difficulties because of their fans’ support.

BTS and the producers surpassed expectations despite the pressure placed upon them by the critical Western audience. The boys once again proved to the West that music is a universal language every single person can connect with.

“Map of the Soul: Persona” is available on iTunes or the Google Play Store for $7.99.