Arguably the most popular boy band from South Korea at the moment, 2018 was certainly the year of BTS, and progressing into 2019, their music is still relevant because of some smart stylistic choices which makes their music very modern to my ears. While I would have preferred a bit more of a New Jack Swing style on some of the tunes, I concede that that fad may be over in Korean music for the time being, and themes are probably going to lean more towards Hip Hop and Urban for the while – yet album Love Yourself ‘Her’ isn’t an aggressive sounding album by any means. The digital Trap elements are modest, and the bass lines are not intimidating, but rather chill. While I found that I dug, as a whole, more of the songs on previous album Love Yourself ‘Tear’, for their sheer Neo-Soul R&B power, Love Yourself ‘Her’ has some truly excellent music too, but in general, it leans more towards a popular instrumentation that marries electronic elements with Pop writing (on the ballads at least) and perhaps a little Soft Rock instrumentation here and there which makes the music sort of middle of the road and uber crowd pleasing, like that of Maroon 5 – but nonetheless, it’s all really well executed. And when it’s not a ballad or a dance groove but rather straight up rap song like “Outro: Her”, I swear to god – the rapping is ridiculously authentic – but more on that later. This was a successful listening session for me from a successful international megastar group, and obvious proof for why these 7 gentlemen have legions of ultra loyal fans. I don’t know if BTS moves me so much that I would want to start stanning with everyone else as a full fledged ARMY member (as the fan base is known), but I can absolutely understand the demand for their music – thanks to a mix of BTS’s attention to musical detail, and, though I do not speak Korean, I am of the understanding that the lyrics are much more open and meaningful than your average group’s output, as they wrestle with themes of anxiety, mental health, and the balancing act of personal freedom versus career obligations. BTS has always been known to be a band that is more open about their individual lives and struggles, whereas other K Pop bands have historically had to operate under contracts which aim to restrict personal expression, for ‘fear’ of muddying the carefully groomed ‘idol’ façade. A looser media relationship with the public allows for BTS to be more forthcoming lyrically, and for that matter, more truer musical artists.