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Review: BTS welcomes new fans to K-pop with new EP “Map of the Soul: Persona”

BTS Album

Members of BTS, the unstoppable K-pop boy group, have reportedly been taken to the hospital due to broken backs and legs from supporting the entire K-pop industry.

K-pop is taking America by storm and BTS is helping lead the charge with this comeback. BTS is back with its sixth EP “Map of the Soul: Persona,” showing a softer, cuter side than its previous comebacks. The songs on this album, including the title track, show how BTS has developed to captivate an international audience.

The song “Boy with Luv” featuring Halsey is charming and catchy, starting with Jimin, V and Jin using softer voices to lead up into the pre-chorus. Halsey’s voice is mainly used for the “Oh my my,” and a few English phrases in the chorus, adding a feminine tone to the sweet and playful song. This makes Suga’s deep, slower rap sound a little out of place, especially when compared to J-Hope and RM’s raps later in the song. The rap isn’t bad, though. In fact, it sounds unique and interesting with Suga playing with the rhythm and tone of his voice, it just doesn’t feel like it belongs with the light and playful beat.

The next song on the album, “Mikrokosmos,” has a dreamy quality to it. The sparkling rhythm that starts off the song transitions to Jungkook and V’s simple vocals in the first verse. J-Hope gets to demonstrate a softer side of his voice with a rare instance where he actually sings. The beat intensifies into a climax at the start of the chorus with Jimin and Jungkook carrying the heightened emotion of the song.

With a slight departure from the previously mentioned songs, “HOME” has a cool, synthetically-jazzy intro beat before the synthesized voices of Jimin and V take over. The vibe created from the effects in the background music and on their voices creates a sound that isn’t usually associated with K-pop, giving it a unique flavor when compared to the other songs on the album. J-Hope and Suga’s raps as the second verse add to the difference with the more upbeat flow of their raps and energy in their voices.

The two slow songs on the album, “Make It Right” and “Jamais vu,” give the listener a break from the more energetic songs. Ed Sheeran is listed as one of the writers for “Make It Right,” and the tone of the song makes that evident. The almost upbeat beat provides a neutral background, but the synthetic trumpet and overflowing emotions from the guys’ voices classify it as a new take on the standard love song. The piano in the background of “Jamais vu” highlight the vocal talent BTS has. Half way through the song, the beat speeds up and allows for J-Hope and Suga to show off their emotional rapping.

Most of the album follows the first track’s theme of gentle, soft vocals and playful beats. Even the hard hitting and hype style of rap that J-Hope and RM use in the group’s more powerhouse singles like “Idol” or “Mic Drop” are adapted to fit the song’s theme.

With that in mind, “Intro: Persona” and “Dionysus” are the exact opposites of the rest of the album. “Intro: Persona” is an RM solo, and while the flow of this rap is fire, the background music doesn’t do it any favors. It seems like an odd choice to have as an intro to a much softer sounding album.

“Dionysus” has an odd vibe for this album as well. It is reminiscent of BTS’s old songs like “Boy in Luv” or even “We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2” with some of the rap line’s rhythms and the rock inspired beat. Jimin, J-Hope, Jungkook and V’s alternating parts in the chorus make the lyrics dynamic and the overall song exciting.

Even with the somewhat inconsistent theme, the album demonstrates BTS’s talent for doing songs that express different sides of themselves. If this is America’s first taste of K-pop and to BTS, this was the album to listen to.