If you thought I would let life get in the way of my love for BTS, you would be only half right because I’m back! I’ll reserve all of the thoughts spinning around my head for the end of the review because right now I just want to dive in and get started.
I’ve already talked about this a little bit so I won’t say too much more, but I will say this: within the cohesion of the album, this is definitely fitting. The album has a darker and more mature tone than Love Yourself: Her and Singularity was a brilliant introduction to all of that. I also just want to take a moment to admire once again Taehyung’s soulful vocals and the incredible composition of this song.
I’ll be honest right off the bat: this is not my favorite single. As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even hit my top five. However, these are my boys. I adore them. Even when their stylist decides they need to emulate My Chemical Romance circa 2009 with their hair and outfit choices. So I gave this song more than one shot to impress me and I was thankful that–like every other BTS song–it grew on me. I still wouldn’t put it above the masterpiece that is Blood, Sweat, and Tears or even DNA, but it’s a solid single.
The Truth Untold
I am a huge fan of vocal line tracks. Yes, I am a rap line stan at the end of the day, but vocal line knows how to deliver. They just do. This was no exception. The vocals are beautiful and raw and the lyrics are haunting to the point where I really felt on the brink of tears listening to it. As much as I adore Dimple and Lost, this track was on another level in terms of displaying all that vocal line is capable of.
This is a certified hit. These are just facts. BTS has experimented a lot during their careers but this was something else entirely. And I loved it. I don’t know who sat in the studio and said “Let’s make it sound like a sunny day in Brazil on the beach–but you’re sad” but they were geniuses. This song is an on-the-nose metaphor and it’s still brilliant because it’s done so unexpectedly.
Did BTS mean to put three bops back to back to back? Perhaps. Regardless, it was a bold choice with positive results. Not to mention that the track is the quintessential BTS reassuring. It’s a song that literally tells you it’s okay to not always be driven, to not always be pushing yourself if you have something that you already love and makes you happy. Especially in the world that we live in where everyone feels like they constantly have to push toward a larger and larger goal, that can be a seriously comforting thing to hear.
This is that third bop I was talking about and it’s quite possibly my favorite of the three. There’s something about it that is unique and interesting but also easy to listen to. It’s as if Love Maze was Dimple’s cooler, hotter older sibling. The song itself is sweet and it’s definitely fun to hear say Jin “Don’t give a damn.” My favorite part though, has to be the chorus with Jungkook and Jimin harmonizing.
The first thing that struck me about this song was Jungkook’s voice. It sounded stunning at the beginning and it was a beautiful introduction for Namjoon’s rap. That said, my next immediate thought was “Another bop? O-okay.” This, however, lies somewhere between bop and ballad. It’s a chill bop which, if you know anything about me, is one of my least favorite things. I’m very particular about those things (I either want to dance or I want to be in my feelings–I don’t want to be crying while getting down, it’s too much happening). I can kind of come to terms with this song because the lyrics are cute and the chorus is cool, but it isn’t an exceptional song in BTS’s repertoire.
Airplane, Pt. 2
I have to give credit for that slick guitar in this song. Also, as a Latina woman, this song makes me think of my culture in the best way. It’s kind of reggaeton with a little bit of salsa and a whole lot of BTS. I don’t really think they walked into the studio knowing what this would become, but I love it regardless. It makes me want to travel and I can’t promise this won’t be my anthem when I’m on the plane heading to my honeymoon.
There really is no shortage of bops on this album. BTS really saved up all their hypest tracks for this album and I understand why–they have more attention now than they ever have in the past so they have to impress. That said, I can’t even complain because this is so good. This feels a little like a beach track. Like this would be the song that you would play as you felt invincible and young and incredible while driving out to the beach with your friends. Or maybe in a movie montage where the hero is working really hard. You choose.
I was prepared to not like this song. That was until I said aloud what it reminded me of. (Hint: it’s the gay nightclub bop of the century–Outro: Wings) Still, it’s not quite Wings. It’s something a little different and perhaps a little more energetic. It feels like something that would get you energized if you were already three Red Bulls into the night but would drive you crazy if you were trying to just be a person. So it’s a toeing a pretty fine line.
They really went dark with this outro. I’m not used to rap line sounding quite like this, but the change is not entirely unwanted. Mostly, it was surprising. Although I suppose, given where we started with the lyrics in Singularity, it makes sense that the tone here is a little bleak. The whole thing is very dramatic and frantic, which is a huge shift from what Outro: Her was and the whole thing wraps up the album on a very unsettling note.
I remember when Wings came out it was so far beyond what we had seen BTS do and we thought that was dark. This is on another plane, however. The whole album does have a certain cohesiveness but that cohesiveness is not quite natural for me. Maybe I’m wanting something that doesn’t exist, but it just doesn’t live up to what I thought it would be. It’s inevitable that Love Yourself: Tear would be compared to Love Yourself: Her and I’m trying my best not to be one of those people but it is hard. It is hard to be a second generation ARMY and have been there through the majesty that was The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Parts 1 and 2 and try to think of each BTS accomplishment independent from the last.
All that said, I love my boys. And I love how far they’ve come. Even if their sound is unexpected, it is still uniquely theirs and it is still showing a magnificent progression of where they’ve been and where they will be. And I, for one, will be happy to stick around and see it all happen.