BTS continues their well-deserved rise to fame


BigHit Entertainment

BTS become even more international with their new album featuring unique sounds and collaborations.

Prudence Nowicki, Multimedia Editor

BTS brings powerful collaborations and a unique sound along with a feel-good vibe on Map of the Soul: Persona, their first new album since finishing their Love Yourself trilogy.

Despite the Korean band’s worldwide rise to fame, they have managed to stay ever true to their roots while crafting and exploring new styles in their music.

BTS is a seven-member group that sings almost entirely in Korean and also is known for their rapping and dancing skills. Despite the supposed language barrier, BTS has found international success, proving the ability of music to transcend language.

Their newest album is focused on the character of a person, thus giving it the name Persona. Despite the album being shorter than some of their most recent ones, it features an array of genres and messages on its seven tracks.

BTS is equally known for their meaningful lyrics and themes, and it shows on the album. The first track, “Intro: Persona,” questions knowing oneself and coming to understand the map of your soul.

Part of the concept of Persona is paying tribute to one of BTS’s first albums, Skool Luv Affair. “Intro: Persona” features a sample from the first song of Skool Luv Affair, which starts the track with the old school hip-hop style that once dominated the boys’ older music. The track only features RM, the rapper and leader of BTS.

It will certainly give any fan nostalgia, reminding them of the earlier style of BTS’s music that often comes through even in their newer albums.

The second track, “Boy With Luv,” features American pop artist Halsey and creates an upbeat song filled with melodious vocals and sweet high notes. Halsey’s voice blends seamlessly into BTS’s sound and style, creating a song with new depth.

BTS’s music video for “Boy With Luv” broke the record for most-viewed YouTube video in the first 24 hours. This is a feat they had previously achieved with their “Idol” music video, but that record was later broken by Ariana Grande’s “Thank u, Next.” K-pop group Blackpink broke the record earlier in April with 56 million views, which was then broken again by BTS’s “Boy With Luv,” with over 70 million views with the release of their new album.

Growing international popularity has given BTS many collaboration opportunities with different artists. Along with Halsey, Ed Sheeran also contributed to the new album, though his vocals don’t make any appearance.

“Make It Right” was originally written by Sheeran and pitched to BTS, and his style certainly shines through in the song. While it still has BTS’s unique sound, it also has more Western flavor than the majority of their music, which is surely thanks to Sheeran’s input. The song is upbeat, catchy, and just as likely to get stuck in listeners’ heads as Sheeran’s most famous songs.

The boys gave their first live performance following the release of their album on Saturday Night Live, becoming the first Korean artists to do so. On the same day, they announced that they would be performing at the Billboard Music Awards along with Halsey, making it their third visit and second time performing there.

“Mikrokosmos” and “HOME” are sentimental songs, though they are more upbeat in sound. The lyrics to “Mikrokosmos” are about a world made up of people who create a galaxy. It is an inspirational song about how in dark times, the lights people find in each other and in themselves will shine the brightest.

Part of BTS’s success is due to their devotion to their fans. They remain incredibly humble and modest despite their fame. So it’s no surprise that their track “HOME” is written for the fans. The song is about how all the luxuries and dreams they achieved do not make them happy and instead leave them feeling empty. The lyrics say that instead they find happiness in being with the people they care about, and that with them, anywhere becomes their home.

“Jamais Vu” is a slower track on the album that shows off BTS’s ability to utilize different genres of music. It only features vocalists Jin and Jungkook, and rapper J-Hope. However, featuring the few members makes for an even more unique song that pulls at the heartstrings. The song is about searching for a remedy for their pain that will make them want to continue on.

The final track on the album is perhaps the most unique and powerful. The song is fast-paced and has more of a rock style. The song is inspired by the Greek god Dionysus, the god of party and wine. “Dionysus” features an epic mixture of high vocals and hard rapping that creates a song meant to get anybody hyped up, effectively living up to its name.

So while BTS may remain a mysterious or unknown phenomenon to many in the U.S. and throughout the West, there is no denying their rapid rise to international fame. With each album the boys outdo themselves, both artistically and success-wise. They have proven that rather than reaching a plateau, this is only the beginning for them.

One can only hope that with their fame will come a change in the music industry. They lead a movement that erases a stigma around language barriers and instead appreciates music as an artistic expression. They show music can be defined by meaningfulness and artistry rather catchiness or scandal.