What’s happening here? The video for “On”, the single from their last album, was still a compressed fantasy blockbuster that combined references from “Lord of the Rings” to “The Lion King”. BTS members ran around on huge mountains, walked across battlefields and stood in front of Noah’s rusted coffin. And now, in the clip released on Friday for the lead single of their new album “BE”, the South Koreans brush their teeth, eat pizza, tour the car and play on the couch.
A pandemic is not leaving the world’s biggest band at the moment. The world in which they released their album “Map Of The Soul: 7” last February was yet another. In it, for example, he planned a global stadium tour that would have taken the K-pop group to Berlin in the summer. Of course it was canceled.
Then in April BTS announced that they were working on a new album. They documented the creation process in live streams on YouTube. There, you could watch them discuss the concept for the new music video over lunch. Part of the group’s recipe for success is the close connection with their “Army” supporters, with whom they interact on social media.
Between the two, there were a few entries in normal BTS mode. In late summer they landed as the first South Korean band with the disco pop song “Dynamite” number one in the US singles charts. The video was clicked over 100 million times on YouTube within the first 24 hours, more than any other clip on the platform before. And in October nearly one million people from 191 countries watched them in two online concerts.
So now the new album »BE«, which is basically not one at all. Because in addition to the popular “Dynamite” and short skiing where BTS talks about its chart success, there are only six new songs in 28 minutes of playtime. It’s still diverse: there’s pop, ballads, retro hip hop and disco.
For a long time, though, the record is completely burglarized by K-Pop standards. Organ carpet here, piano chords and a few drums there: end of production. There are pieces that don’t seem to be written for the big stadium, but for the home quarantine arena and the conflicting moods in the closures. You can dance to the new songs, be sad and gain hope, all at the same time.
For example with the album opener »Life Goes On«, in which BTS repeats the year of Corona: how the world came to an abrupt end and faceless days passed by. And as hope continues, better times will come. The song sounds like a light tap on the shoulder should feel: it’ll be fine. In the melancholic ballad »Blue and Gray« they describe inner emptiness and loneliness to acoustic guitars and strings. “I don’t want to be happier,” sang Jin, V and Jungkook alternately.
After this early catharsis, it goes on quite lively. The song “Telepathy” matches the ease and success of “Dynamite” with its shallow groove, red bells and lively synth sounds, but remains pleasantly relaxed. After a bit of old-school rap (“Dis-facilitation”), EDM formula (“Wait”), which sounds like the B-side of the band’s “Love Yourself” EP series, and of course it’s “Dynamite” then it’s over again. On the one hand.
On the other hand, BTS with »BE« offers just under half an hour, from which you can take a break from daily life. Many supporters of the “Army” millions emphasize that the boy band has already helped them through difficult times. With this in mind, the group remains alone on their pandemic record. They provide comfort. And you can never have enough.