BTS’s new installment in the “Map of The Soul” series — “Map of The Soul: 7” — further establishes the Korean boy-band as a worldwide juggernaut, no longer a crossover novelty, in the music industry. Doing it, as always, in their own terms.
In anticipation of the album release, the band’s label, Big Hit Entertainment, released a four-phase “Comeback Map.” The phases included art installments by twenty-two artists in London, Berlin, New York, Buenos Aires and Seoul, titled “CONNECT, BTS.”
In addition, they released an art film for their single “Black Swan” performed by MN Dance Company, two comeback trailers, four sets of album concept pictures and a “Kinetic Manifesto Film: Come Prima” for the lead single, “ON.”
“MOTS: 7” continues the band’s work influenced by Jungian psychology which explains the human psyche archetypes. In this installment, BTS once again succeeds at ambitiously experimenting with a diverse array of musical styles under a cohesive grand theme.
Visiting themes and lyrics from past projects such as Agust D’s “The Last” and collaboration in Halsey’s latest “Manic.” “Interlude : Shadow” has main rapper Suga (Min Yoongi) getting honest about the dark shadow that grows in the bright light of success.
While sampling their 2013 song “Intro : O!RUL8,2?,” he concludes that they are inseparable, one comes with the other.
He closes with, “Yeah, you’re me, and I’m you, you get it now, right? / We’re one body, and sometimes we will crash…Yeah, you’ll be more at ease if you accept it / Yeah, success or failure, wherever you are.”
In “Outro : Ego,” rapper and main dancer, j-hope (Jung Hoseok) talks about looking at oneself in the eye and confronting the whole in order to find trust in one’s own ego. The track samples their 2013 song “Intro : 2 Cool 4 Skool.”
The song begins with “We’re going to progress to some steps/Which are a bit more difficult / Ready, set and begin,” the original intro by leader RM to their “2 Cool 4 Skool” debut album.
In his characteristic vibrance and hopefulness, j-hope finds comfort in how his dreams and struggles ultimately helped him become who he is today.
For this 20-track album, BTS led a deep dive into their seven years together and reflected both individually, and as a group. Unit tracks such as “Respect” by rappers RM and Suga, and “Friends” by vocalists Jimin and V, show the meaningful relationships the members have with each other and how these affect how they see the world and the future.
Seven solo tracks, including “Intro : Persona”, “Interlude : Shadow,” and “Outro : Ego,” tell their stories, convey their feelings and share their experiences from their own unique perspectives – as they are today.
Even before its release, this project had already become the biggest-selling album of the year with over 4 million pre-orders worldwide. The lead single “ON” already has over 80 million views on Youtube.
It’s only the second month of the year, yet this release is already a monumental pop culture moment of 2020.