The talk of the town is none other than BTS, one of Korea's finest acts in today's K-Pop world. The current sensations have come back with a full-length album titled 'Wings' and a beautifully eerie MV for the promotional track "Blood, Sweat & Tears."
1. Intro : Boy Meets Evil
2. Blood, Sweat & Tears
6. First love
11. BTS Cypher PT4
12. Am I wrong
13. 21st Century girls
14. Two!Three! (Still, there will be better days)
The MV is compelling and enchanting with a ritzy, high-class appearance. From clothing and set designs to the overall concept, "Blood, Sweat & Tears" crafts a more superior style in comparison to their previous MVs. The lap of luxury is one way to describe this MV as the meticulous attention to the lavish details, such as J-Hope's gold V-neck and Jungkook's bedazzled collar, makes other current MV releases appear childish. Check out their revamped style below!
The boys look poised, sexy and refined as they seem to frolic throughout the German, historical museum one moment then go hard (as always) with their intricate dance routines the next. Can we also take a moment to seriously appreciate those deep cut v-necks? Particularly on J-Hope! *Drools and dies* Anyway, the MV contains countless metaphors and symbolism, especially through the statues and German phrases. Just in case you were wondering what the lines above the statues mean, it translates as, "You must have Chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star."
The whispery vocals over a funky, dance hall-inspired instrumental breathed some fresh air into the K-Pop scene as it seems like BTS are cultivating their own sound through this new concept.
Lyrically, "Blood, Sweat & Tears" is a pure boy band, love-obsessed track. With sweet confessions such as, "Even my blood, sweat and tears, Even my body, heart and soul, I know that it's all yours" and "Baby, I don't care if I get drunk, I'll drink you in now, Your whiskey, deep into my throat" is the poison of today's female youth. Take notes boys, the lyrics drive girls insane.
The rest of the album opens up with a heavier sound as intro track "Boy Meets Evil" goes hard with a trendy EDM hook and familiar trap-inspired raps from j-hope over a messy yet well-constructed instrumental. While not as smooth and energizing as "Blood, Sweat & Tears," the intro makes for a great start. The title name itself, alongside other tracks, really illustrates their darker side for this album's overall concept.
"Begin" brings things back to a mellow state with less hectic sounds, a steady instrumental and more realistic vocals. It isn't a ballad piece entirely, as the mid-tempo song escalates with the rhythm as the song carries on. The instruments used in this track are very peculiar as it uses steel drums, light electric guitar strums, and synthesized notes that skip and hesitate to make a sound during the refrain, making the song jittery at times.
"Begin" soon fades into the deep violin melody of "Lie." It seems BTS were playing around with sounds from different cultures as "Lie" has a somewhat Latin taste. The song creates the feeling of being on edge, anticipating something to happen as the bridge builds up with the violins and female vocals that hum lightly and suddenly louder between your ears.
However, the refrain changes into something different as the song becomes high pitched while the lyrics plead, "Caught in a Lie, Find me, Who was innocent," and "Get me out of this hell." "Lies" catchier chorus will ultimately become a fan favorite.
The atmosphere is cool, calm, and collected in "Stigma." The promotional track "Blood, Sweat & Tears" may have let off a different impression as songs like "Stigma" has a real 2PM ballad vibe. As long as you don't develop this sort of uninformed expectation, you won't be disappointed by the variety of the tracks. This song seems to reference religion a lot as V even whispers, "Are you calling me a sinner?" Don't worry V, it isn't a sin to rap that deeply and for V to sing so epically high!
"First Love" is an oddly playful rap over a laxed melody. The song creates a serious almost stoic tone as the raps soon transform into chants during the bridge and go harder later on.
This song is more about the lyrics than the instrumental, with beautiful lyrics like, "I remember back during my elementary school days, When my height became taller than yours." Your "First Love" is always your mom and this song recollects on days of childhood, the little things forgotten and really gets you deep in your feels as it talks about appreciating your loved ones.
"Reflection" is another Rap Monster masterpiece, as he opens up with an all English intro and gradually settles back into Korean. As always Rap Monster proves he is more than a wannabe with great flow and real sincerity in his lyrics such as "I know every life's a movie, We got different stars and stories, We got different nights and mornings, Our scenarios ain't just boring." If you are a big fan of emotional raps or wonder what the craze over Rap Monster is all about, "Reflection" is proof in the puddin'.
Things get a little more upbeat and quirky in "MaMa." With a sassy, retro beat, "MaMa" has a fun-filled, catchy chorus, addicting "Hey MaMa" in the background and emits a real MAMAMOO-esque. The playful saxophone, disc scratching, and speedy drums make it a delightful track and turns away from the previously darker tunes.
The album comes back to a more tranquil state with classic violin sounds in "Awake." The songs on this album all seem to go down memory lane as each conveys a deep passion and emotional story. "I can't fly like the flower petals over there, Or as though I have wings, Maybe I, I can't touch the sky, Still, I want to stretch my hand out" - the lyrics are an instant tear-jerker.
As listeners continue on with the album, it is easy to see that the album starts off rowdy and rambunctious but shifts into a more sentimental sound, showing off the maturity and passion the members have for their music.
But for those who aren't total ballad addicts (I know I'm not), the album releases you from its gripping melancholic restraints and revitalizes your mood with upbeat songs like "Lost" and "BTS Cypher P4." I'm all for a zany and odd beat, and "BTS Cypher P4" delivers! The album takes a hit at today's trap-rap trends and of course Suga, J-Hope and Rap Monster woo everyone with their steady beats and rap strength.
"Am I Wrong" has a very American Southern vibe to it as the opening sounds like something you'd hear in New Orleans.The song rides off of the previously funky vibe and sassy sounds of "MaMa." "Am I Wrong" has a real anthem-like theme to it and features a lot of shouts and chanting. The fun continues in "21st Century Girls" as well.
The more you hear Rap Monster speak English the more addicted you become. His voice is like a voice made by angels... like please read me bedtime stories for the rest of my life! Now that I voiced my fangirl opinion, "21 Century Girls'" is another club banger and is filled with a wild rhythm consisting of more trap-inspired beats and more rhythmic shouting.
Since the album is nearing an end, the boys bring it back to a calm state with "Two! Three! (Still, there will be better days)." The song is a walk in the park (literally) as it becomes the light out of the dark tunnel the rest of the album keeps relating to. While it tries to remain optimistic, both in sound and lyrically, BTS keep to their realistic image through lines like "Let's only walk on flower trails, I can't say that. Let's only see good things, I can't say that either, Saying that there will only be good things from now on, Saying that you won't get hurt, I can't say that, I can't lie like that." Everyday may not be good, but there is something good in everyday and BTS want you to experience that with them.
Finally the sweet harmony of "Two! Three!" fades into the distance and transforms into "Wings," an upbeat tempo and feel-good dance track. Yet again, the boys boast some sweet high notes, inspirational words, and an enjoyable beat. It definitely has that end-of-a-concert-encore vibe!
In the end, BTS didn't disappoint with this full-length album. A lot of work went into not only the sound but also the composition and lyrics of each song. 'Wings' showcases a lot of variety and puts BTS' best foot forward as artists.
While some of the tracks may not be for everyone, the words will touch everyone's hearts and are truly thought-provoking. "Blood, Sweat, & Tears" is a great promotional track but I hope the boys can choose wisely with what side tracks they also choose to promote with. After all, the album does pack both quality and quantity.