×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Album Review: BTS’ ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’

In 2013, BTS was just another Korean boy band signed to a small label that hardly anyone had heard of. Six years and a K-pop global explosion later, they are the most popular boy band in the world, which is why fans around the globe set their alarm clocks (or pulled all-nighters) to catch the global release of “Map of the Soul: Persona” at precisely 6 p.m. KST (2 a.m. PT/ 5 a.m. ET).

The 7-song album is taut musically and thematically (the group is a septet consisting of RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, Jungkook), although things get into murkier territory lyrically. Fans of the group dig deep into the meanings behind the songs — a challenge for many, since the majority of their lyrics are in Korean — but the reasoning behind this album’s title, derived from “Jung’s Map of the Soul,” a study of Swiss psychiatry pioneer Carl Jung written by psychoanalyst Dr. Murray Stein, is unclear. Jung said that people inherited the collective unconscious of their ancestors and possess memories of which they’re unaware. What could this have to do with BTS?

Well, in Korean, there is a concept of “jung,” which doesn’t really have a direct parallel in English but describes an emotion that encapsulates the feeling of love and loyalty that people have for one another — which in this case the bandmembers feel for each other and their fans (collectively called ARMY). That sentiment is prevalent throughout “Map of the Soul.” Heady song titles like “Mikrokosmos,” “Jamais Vu” and “Dionysus” sound more like titles from a college syllabus, but the casual listener wouldn’t necessarily notice from the music of the group’s sleek, streamlined pop sound.

American pop star Halsey joins BTS on the highly-hyped single “Boy With Luv,” which the band will premiere live tomorrow on “Saturday Night Live.” An homage to 2014’s “Boy in Luv,” the new song deconstructs their then adolescent mindframe. Halsey’s vocal captures the giddiness of being in love, while the lyrics address the relationship the group has with its ARMY: “I’m flying high in the sky with the two wings you gave me,” with the wings referencing the title of their second album. Likewise, they’re hopeful and optimistic on the Ed Sheeran collaboration, “Make It Right,” with the Brit adding some trademark melodic flavor to the ballad.

“Intro: Persona” is a solid showcase for the group’s leader, RM. His flow eases back and forth between Korean and English. “Who the hell am I?” he asks, but his delivery says it’s more of a rhetorical question.

On the funky final track “Dionysus,” the group asks, “Are you ready for this?” The answer probably came at precisely 6 p.m. KST today.

RELATED VIDEO: 

Album Review: BTS' 'Map of the Soul: Persona'

More Music

  • soulcycle image

    SoulCycle to Launch Station on SiriusXM, Bring Playlists to Pandora (EXCLUSIVE)

    SoulCycle devotees will soon be able to listen to their favorite spinning soundtrack all day: SiriusXM is getting a dedicated SoulCycle Radio station this summer, and the two companies will also bring playlists from select SoulCycle instructors to Pandora. SoulCycle Radio is said to feature music curated by SoulCycle instructors, as well as inspirational messages [...]

  • Songs for Screens: Eric Church Teams

    Songs for Screens: How Eric Church Teamed With Ram Trucks — and Five Tons of Vinyl — for ‘Solid’ Campaign

    Country star Eric Church has long used his new music to reward his loyal fans, from surprise releasing 2015’s “Mr. Misunderstood” album as a direct fan-club exclusive to impromptu meet-and-greets before his hometown show in Greensboro, North Carolina. So when Church was prepping the April vinyl release of 2018’s critically acclaimed “Desperate Man,” the singer [...]

  • Jenni Rivera Biopic

    Authorized Jenni Rivera Biopic in the Works

    An authorized biopic of the late singer Jenni Rivera is in the works, seven years after she died in a plane crash at the age of 43. The life rights deal was announced Tuesday with an agreement between Jenni Rivera Enterprises and producers Javier Chapa and Simon Wise of Mucho Mas Media and Donald De [...]

  • Toronto Raptors fans wait for the

    Drake Turns Raptors' Celebration Into a Million-Person Hugfest

    Drake chugged a can of beer that was tossed to him, did interviews, and signed merch along the Toronto Raptors victory parade route Monday, but when the NBA champions arrived at Nathan Phillips Square hours later — the procession’s final destination, where an estimated million people had gathered on the grounds and outskirts —  the [...]

  • Tencent Music presentation at Shanghai

    Shanghai: Tencent Proposes Alliance of Music and Film

    All tech companies strive to be ubiquitous. Within China, behemoth Tencent is a clear leader of the pack. From the company’s “pan entertainment strategy” in 2012 to its 2018 equivalent “neo-creativity strategy,” Tencent keeps unveiling new master plans, each time with more in-house platforms and business approaches involved. On the margins of the Shanghai International [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content