The Korean boy group BTS are encouraging the world to learn how to love themselves with the release of their compilation album, “LOVE YOURSELF 結 ‘Answer’.”
BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys or their Western name Beyond The Scene, is a seven-member group that originally debuted in 2013. Having initially focused on a local market for the beginning of their career, the group has since skyrocketed to global levels of fame.
CHANGING MUSIC HISTORY
Notably, the group is credited for starting the Korean wave into international markets, including the United States. BTS’s career is full of firsts: they were the first K-Pop artists to perform at the American Music Awards, they were the first K-Pop artists to be nominated for and to win a Billboard Music Award, and they have held the highest position out of any Korean-language song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “MIC Drop (feat. Desiigner).”
The first release from Love Yourself, an EP, is entitled “LOVE YOURSELF 承 ‘Her’.” This EP was headed by the promotional track “DNA,” which BTS performed at the American Music Awards for their first-ever televised performance in America. The album debuted on the US Billboard 200 chart at No. 7, making it the highest charting K-Pop album ever ranked at the time.
The second release, “LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’,” is a full album. The title track, “FAKE LOVE,” and all subsequent tracks explored darker, more self-reflective tones of lost love and longing for more. This album debuted on the same chart at No. 1, breaking their previous record while also becoming the first K-Pop act to ever top the chart.
“LOVE YOURSELF 結 ‘Answer’” is the group’s final release of the series, taking the form of a compilation album. Seven previously unreleased songs are included on this hour-long album. The album also includes remixes and full versions of previous songs featured in the series. As the story is told through the album, themes of empowerment, self-love, rising above, and other notions can be found, taken directly from the experience of today’s youth.
DEEPER MEANINGS OF SONGS
The main promotional track on this album is “IDOL.” It’s an eccentric and colorful track that is laced with hooks. The lyrics of the song, “I know what I am / I know what I want / I ain’t never gon’ change / I ain’t never gon’ trade,” alludes to the notion that they are rejecting the stereotypes associated with being idolized and promising to stay genuine.
An integral part of this series is the use of intros and outros. The team’s vocalists – Jungkook, Jimin, V, and Jin – each sing an album intro.
Jungkook started the whole series with the future bass track “Euphoria,” a pre-release track associated with the short film “LOVE YOURSELF 起 ‘Wonder’.” While this song isn’t officially an album intro, it has been included on the ‘Answer’ album as the first track of the compilation.
Jimin starts the ‘Her’ era with “Serendipity,” an alternative track meant to challenge his range of expression and emotion. V, the richest toned vocalist of the team, sings the silky smooth R&B track “Singularity” to kick off the ‘Tear’ album. Finally, Jin, the oldest member of the group, performs a classic rock track entitled “Epiphany” to encapsulate the themes found in ‘Answer.’
On the other end, the outros of the albums are by the rappers as a collective unit. RM, SUGA, and j-hope. “Outro: Her” is reminiscent of previous songs the group has released, specifically “Whalien 52,” and shares a similar theme lyrically with the track.
On the other hand, “Outro: Tear” is similar in style to the spit-fire mixtapes that the three have previously released, called cyphers. Through the use of wordplay, this second outro conveys the darker themes and messages from the ‘Tear’ era in an aggressive, pain-laced way. Furthermore, “Outro: Tear” directly relates itself back to “Outro: Her” through the use of the same English hook, “You’re my tear.”
Included for the first time on “LOVE YOURSELF 結 ‘Answer’” are trivia tracks, solo releases by each rapper to summarize the previous concepts in a new light. The concepts of ‘Wonder,’ ‘Her,’ and ‘Tear’ were explored by j-hope, RM, and SUGA, respectively, by incorporating various acoustic, trap, R&B, and soul elements to convey their messages. All the rappers also sing on their tracks, which is a first from them as well.
The remainder of the album holds a collection of their most popular tracks from the Love Yourself series, including “Best of Me,” their collaboration with the Chainsmokers, the original Korean version of “MIC Drop,” and other selected tracks. New to this album are two remixes of “DNA” and “FAKE LOVE,” a continuation of an older BTS track in the form of “I’m Fine,” an extended version of their English remix of “MIC Drop” featuring Steve Aoki, and a second version of “IDOL” featuring the American rapper Nicki Minaj.
As seen through this whole project, BTS is effectively able to manage the balance between staying true to their roots while also appealing to foreign markets. Something for every demographic of music-lover can be found on this album.
The Love Yourself series is on streaming sites including Spotify and Apple Music, and can be purchased through iTunes. Physical copies can be purchased at local retailers.