1. Track List (186)

Learn Why BTS Are The Reigning Champs Of Boy Pop With Album Love Yourself ‘Her’

taylor
Written by taylor
/ 8 mins read

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.

A Spiritual And Physical Connection Is Paramount Within BTS’ Love Balladry

The album couldn’t open up more romantically, from the gorgeous arrangement of the echoing love melody to the truly deep and almost unisex language used on “Intro: Serendipity.” This song, because of it’s tenderness, would melt the hearts of any gender. The translated lyrics are heart-achingly beautiful; “when you called me / I became your flower / as if we were waiting / we bloom until we ache.” Now, granted, the singer refers to flowers in the sense of the flowers girls receive on Valentines – yet, a man presenting himself as a flower – in terms of phrasing, is going to illicit different interpretations from culture to culture. What makes the text masculine though here is the roughing up of the falsetto, which expresses very seductive emotions. If you are a fan of popular hitmakers The Chainsmokers, you should be happy to know that they produced BTS on a lively and original number with “DNA.” Two truths to be told – for one, I personally can’t stand The Chainsmokers, and two – this is one of the best productions of their’s I have ever heard, therefore, perhaps everyone has their day in the sun. The acoustic elements that they are known for infusing with electronica and EDM are actually quite minimal, and speaking of minimizing, the expected EDM ‘drop’ is also not overly done, but rather subtlety supports the BTS energy here. The song continues the previous track’s theme of being inextricably linked with a lover (although it could always be a friend as well, knowing how this boy band values brotherly and professional relationships). The lyrics could be said to be in fact incestuous, but certainly, they express a deep connection; “At first sight, I could recognize you / as if we were calling for each other / the DNA in my blood vessels tell me / that it’s you I was looking all over for.” So his DNA recognizes her DNA? Meaning they are related perhaps? Probably reading too much into the translation.

Familiar Melody Lines Shine, But Original Ones Shine Brighter

I am struck by the well executed mimicry exhibited on two tracks in particular; “Best of Me” and “Dimple.” On many of the vocal parts, I hear Ed Sheeran’s iconic hook for “Shape Of You” imitated on the line “when you say that you love me” on “Best of Me”, yet thankfully, there is plenty of room where originality triumphs, from the crisp digital noises being applied to the song’s complete surrender to a bright and exciting House beat. When the lite Trap elements transition back in, I feel the song looses some momentum due to a lack of ‘bottom’ to the song, yet everything returns to it’s former club worthy excitement before long. “Dimple” has the same hazy cinematic melody line in the background as Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools”, while mixing in some Maroon 5 ‘ooh-oohs’ into the vocals, but though it follows the urban trend laid down by Lamar’s iconic “please don’t kill my vibe” vibe, BTS truly do make this song their own thanks to much harder club percussion and a very bright and overarching harmony. This is one of the several examples of a commitment to heavier American Hip Hop – albeit a soulful version that retains enough prettiness and lightness to attract the meeker, more innocent crowds with promises of sweet, rather than raunchy, love. These aforementioned songs really rely on all ready established source material, yet “Pied Piper” comes with a ton of originality, bumping with an electro funk melody and rhythm and a great balance of sweet falsetto R&B hooks and very baritone rapping. I actually hear the influences of DNCE, The Weeknd, and Bruno Mars rolled into the vibe of this package, but what makes it more BTS’ sound is the asiatic tone of the arrangement. These songs, and this last especially, sure shine brightly.

Boy Bands Of The Moment Must Try To Catch Up To BTS’ Eclectic Energy And Excellent Execution

After hearing the excitement of a skit where BTS receive the award for Top Social Artist at the Billboard Music Awards, it’s hard not to get caught up rooting for the band amidst all of the audible fanfare. They are the first Korean band to receive such a top spot award, and I even remember at the time during 2018 award shows where American artists from Ariana Grande to Lil Pump were all vying for photo ops with the group of the hour. Shoot, they are also in the Guiness Book of World Records for Highest Tweeted Band of all time. One clear sonic clue to their success is their absolute diversity of sound. Now this is a real Pop band; a group that can take on any style and make it their own, while also doing the original material proper justice. “Outro: Her” opens with a jazzy classic boom bap beat and – mark my words, a dead-on homage to the rapping style of 2Pac from member RM, as he raps in a mix of English and Korean in a deep timbre and Shakur-like flow, translated in full here as “the world is a complex / we wus lookin’ for love / I was just one of those people / didn’t even believe in true love / just said I wanted to be in love like a habit.” Then on one of the hardest beats I’ve heard in a minute, “MIC Drop” blows me away with an aggressive (the only aggressive track on the album) mix of both Boom Bap NY rhythm mixed with both Trap and straight up stripper club buildups – before the song breaks down in a major way. Add to this flows with tons of attitude, and explosive triple time drum fills for some color – and you have everything you need to break it down on the dance floor. BTS really ‘get it’ when it comes to adopting and executing international sounds – which must be why so many Americans have touted this group as artistic and authentic. Because Tropical Trap music is often a must on Pop albums, “Go Go” is on the album to motivate even more booty shaking and two stepping – sure to impress the R&B and Hip Hop crowds with it’s perfect dedication to the pulse of what the world digs right now. BTS – this is a great album and you very well may be the best boy band of the moment right now.

On Album ‘Love Yourself ‘Tear’, K Pop Group BTS’ Music Sounds Much Like The West’s Various Mainstream, Hip Hop, And Neo Soul

taylor
Written by taylor
/ 8 mins read

Perhaps switch out the Korean and Japanese language on album Love Yourself ‘Tear’ for English and you will have a standard mainstream album on your hands, incorporating familiar elements such as EDM Pop lite and international Latin Dance beats (think Despacito) and the infusion of certain Trap and R&B influences which have permeated into Pop. This is of course a smart business move from production company Big Hit Entertainment, with designs on world domination, and thus, there are plenty of expected flavors to choose from on this pretty decent album. I remain a little non-plussed though, not honestly on the same wave as everyone else out there, because at the end of the day, I’m less interested in albums designed by process of box checking what sounds various audiences will respond to. Alas, I’ll probably die penniless, whereas BTS will live a rich life indeed, already showing signs that they are currently the most popular and successful boy band since EXO. What works here are the slick and polished productions on each song, and additionally, the impressive rapping displayed herein. Vocals are pretty good too, yet perhaps unavoidably, there is some definite processing that can be heard here and there, plus the occasional unintentional comical phrasing of an English word which sort of snaps this American listener out of an almost seamless fantasy – which honestly would not even occur if K Pop groups would do the revolutionary thing and sing in all Korean, on all parts of all songs for an album. Now, would that even work, in an industry that is committed to being bilingual lyrically? On the subject of pronunciation, yes, BTS do a mostly fine job, but does anyone ever really stop and ask ‘why speak English’ and run the risk of not knowing what you are talking about, or, God forbid, mispronounce something pivotal which kills the vibe. I strongly feel I would like BTS and other K Pop groups even more if they would stop pretending so much to be something they are not and just give their own language a proper chance to shine in all its history and nuanced complexity. But it doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon, and rather, that musical content of this genre will just get more and more Americanized.

A Linear Rundown Of The Album Showcases The Musical Flavors That Make Us Move

Things kick off in a ridiculously sexy way with the bedroom ready seduction of group member V’s steamy and soulful vocals on “Intro: Singularity” as he sings (translated) “a sound of something breaking / I awake from sleep / a sound full of unfamiliarity / try to cover my ears but can’t go to sleep.” What is intriguing here is that, while the beat is drawn out for every ounce of funk and eroticism, the actual meaning of the words is way more tame than the melody and rhythm here would suggest. How many countless other R&B artists, based in the U.S. or the UK, would go full on raunch over such a tune? This just goes to show, it is not what you say, but how you say it. What’s really crazy about the text within “Intro: Singularity” is that the lines are so metaphysical, poetically painting its primary conflict as one in which the singer wrestles with a pain in his throat and phantom voices which may or may not be his own. But trust me, the meaning here is unbelievably convoluted as the song progresses, which is an indication of either untranslatable language, or woefully pretentious prose. Personal judgement and unrequited love are expressed once again with a drastically different beat on “FAKE LOVE”, showing that the ambiguity which accompanies such songs is actually by design. To explain; because K Pop groups generally are discouraged from writing anything that is explicit about man/woman relationships, certain symbolism is used instead, where conflict comes in the form of ‘mirrors’ and the questions which arise while looking at one’s reflection, or hiding one’s true feelings out of an obligation for the other party’s feelings. Sounds frustrating and counterproductive according to my personal cultural norms. In other words, the songs, however intense, soft, adorable, or erotic they sound, most often seem to be about a certain concept; the trials and tribulations of suppressing true feelings – or in another interpretation – upholding the manly virtue of being perfect on the surface for your paramour by maintaining the right façade. When that façade becomes too much or inconsistent, the narrator then blames himself, and this becomes the conflict and drama central to these songs. By extension, fans feel sympathy for this narrator who is going through such an ordeal for the audience – with everyone keeping up the charade that the members are committed to this virginal relationship with each fan, careful to not identify, through song, specific physical features of women that the members of the band would gravitate towards (were they free to actually date), with designs to not alienate the physicality of any fan in particular.

BTS Prove They Are Beasts Of All Styles, Right Up To The End Of ‘Love Yourself ‘Tear’’

Steve Aoki’s producer’s touch on “The Truth Untold” is very light, as a large portion of the beginning of the song consists of traditional piano playing, and nothing even close to approaching EDM beat comes nearly 3 minutes into the song, and even then, it is very subtle. I find that this track does nothing for me either emotionally or rhythmically, and certainly found myself skipping over it in the interest of much hotter and captivating tracks. These include “134340” and it’s Jamiroquai style Nu-Disco jubilation, and “Paradise” with its very cute and sexy tropical snap patterns which transition to a stop and go funk beat that is truly out of this world. “Paradise” is a mix of several old-school and contemporary elements, from Timbaland production to the more modern production heard on Ty Dolla $ign beats, and also weaves the very adorable steel drum sound with harder Trap rhythms once the rapping starts picking up. “Love Maze” is nice throwback to the loving sound of old nineties R&B in the spirit of Lil Kim’s “Crush On you”, updated of course with Trap elements. Make sure to float to the acoustic and snap romance of the very ethereal and breathy R&B mid tempo groove “Magic Shop”, which manages to perfectly balance aggressive baritone rap verses with super sweet and innocent harmonies, all leading to the hugest electronica explosion on the album. What a great offering of several exciting and emotional styles on one song, whereas too man Pop numbers out there are content with just one style. While certainly not a bad song in and of itself, I can’t take “Airplane, Pt. 2”’s sound seriously, finding it to be too generic of an attempt to be the next “Despacito”, yet, to be fair, it is actually a much better song than “Despacito”, and perhaps if it hit the airwaves first and was sung entirely in Spanish, it could have been the superior mega-hit. “Anpanman” is another favorite because of its complete dedication attitude with absolutely no faltering anywhere whatsoever – amounting to probably the best Fetty Wap song you have ever heard (since “Trap Queen” of course). Honestly, the sound is epic and crystal clear hear, while the rapping is unbelievably authentic, with the same moaning auto tune made popular by Fetty Wap, plus much more, going above and beyond any Melodic Trap song on the market by having several beat switches and explosive measures. I really got my Electro Pop meets Trance fix with another dynamite hit, “So What”, a song perfect in every way, mixing rap with club pumping sound so much better than the best Pitbull or Flo Rida songs could ever accomplish. It is honestly that superior of an arrangement. Finishing the album experience with flying colors is such atmospheric and symphonic magic trick, as after an intricate opening, the song switches to an exciting and aggressive Rap track which reminds me just how dope BTS is operating in the realm of Hip Hop. To this last point, I have to add that in terms of Pop boy bands who Rap, accented missteps aside, BTS might be the best incorporators of Hip Hop in Pop at the moment – a certain testament to their continued talent.

High Quality Pop Gets All The Notes Right On BTS’ Flawless Album ‘Wings’

The eclectic boy band BTS perhaps never sounded as eclectic as they did on the sophomore album Wings, where each member gets to soar on great solos throughout, and where I am completely satisfied with the attention to detail given to each genre of music tacked here. One of the most versatile boy bands, perhaps ever, show that they can take on any style and do it justice. Shoot, take the first track “Intro: Boy Meets Evil.” It comes on like a Wu-Tang Clan track before transitioning into an aggressive Trap EDM hybrid, definitely raising my eyebrow as the details are so finely executed. And then to go form this hype ass energy to “Blood Sweat & Tears”, which showcases Reggae Fusion that fits in a club and also in the bedroom (for it’s sexy parts.) This band will keep you guessing if you are not familiar with them already. Like, I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy “Begin”, really worried that it was going to barely stray from its hazy opening notes, but my impression was totally reversed by all the great criss-crossing elements, borrowing from The Weeknd on the one hand, but also some wholly original patterns that definitely paint BTS accurately as stylistic risk takers. This is both sexy R&B and something with a Drum n Bass complexity. The more adventurous the group gets, the more I want them to succeed, and this is how I think they gain so many fans. Their Pop is of super high quality.

Written by taylor  / Mar 28, 2019

    3. Official (39)

    IDOL

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    DNA

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    I Need U

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    BTS

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    About

    BTS (Hangul: 방탄소년단; RR: Bangtan Sonyeondan), also known as the Bangtan Boys, is a seven-member South Korean boy band formed by Big Hit Entertainment in 2013. The name became a backronym for Beyond the Scene in July 2017. The band won several New Artist of the Year awards for the track "No More Dream" and gained prominence with their subsequent albums Dark & Wild (2014), The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2 (2015) and The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever (2016). The latter two entered the U.S. Billboard 200, and The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever won the Album of the Year award at the 2016 Melon Music Awards.
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    Active

      2013 (2013)–present

    Label

    • Big Hit
    • Pony Canyon
    • Def Jam Japan
    • Columbia