Before we get into my official Map Of The Soul:7 album review, I would just like to say that BTS has created a masterpiece! I have twerked and cried from the same album, and felt emotions on a visceral level. I have not had this kind of reaction to an album release since Prince’s Purple Rain. Now with all that said…let’s move on to the review! ?
In the spiritual world, numbers have meaning. While these meanings can sometimes differ depending upon the source, the number 7 has always been associated with auspiciousness, the divine, completion, and perfection. BTS’ newest release, Map Of The Soul: 7, is indeed perfection and should catapult BTS beyond international super stardom faster than you can say “Helloooo Grammy nom!
ARMY’s have spent the last few months speculating on the new release and the corresponding content, and many believed that the group would continue to explore the Jungian philosophies and concepts introduced with Map Of The Soul:Persona. Theory obsessed fans took to Twitter to discuss possible concept ideas such as Shadow and Ego. While many of our ideas were a little off-base (“Shadow” is a track on the album, and not the actual album title, and “Ego” is the happiest sounding song ever!), BTS still continues to ask the serious questions about identity, the nature of self, and finally, self-realization/actualization. It’s not all gloom and shadow though: Map Of The Soul: 7 is imbued with powerhouse pop, hard-hitting rap, a little bit of sexy Latin swagger, and some stellar collabs (Troye Sivan, Sia, Halsey, Hitman, Hiss Noise). Let’s discuss some of the standout tracks of this album!
I was NOT expecting BTS to come at us like this!!! My wig has been snatched, I am bald, and that is perfectly ok! “ON” is literal music perfection: From the drumline sounds that are straight out of an HBCU (*sips tea*), to the visuals (Helloooo Taehyung’s face tattoo!), to the vocals (Jungkook’s haunting falsetto during the stripped down bridge), and THE DANCE BREAK OF LIFE!!!! Seriously, BTS put their all into this song, and the lyrics, which speak of being a fighter, and refusing to stay down, are powerful indeed!
Hands down one of my favorite songs! “UGH!” sounds like the perfect blend of southern trap and Chicago drill music, and really showcases the rap line’s (RM, Suga, and J-Hope) proficiency at the technical aspects of rapping. The trio discuss the hate they receive and the importance of rising above anger as they flow over the slickly produced club-banger beat.
Black Swan was released as the first single, and I instantly fell in love with its dreamy, surreal flow. BTS digs deep on this track, as they ponder what a loss of their love for music would mean, and the effect that it would have on them with regard to self-realization. The production on this track is stellar, as the emotional lo-fi guitar sounds blend well with the harmonious singing-rap format.
“Ego” is definitely one of my favorite tracks from the album. J-Hope soars on this solo in which he realizes the choices that he has made have led him to his destiny, for better or for worse. If “Intro: Persona” is the car, and “Interlude:Shadow” is the gasoline, “Outro:Ego” is the road that J-Hope travels on as he finally reaches his destination: The fusion of all parts of the self. This song could have been dark and gritty, but in classic J-Hope “sunshine” fashion, J-Hope’s rap verses glide over a Latin-esque beat full of peppy horns and gospel-like background vocals.
Min Yoongi (Suga) has a knack for poetic self-expression, and he’s in his best form here, as he switches between his real self (fear of the spotlight, fear of his shadow self), and the shadow (his desire to be the top, to be the best, and to have all of the material trappings that come with success). By the end of the track, Suga seems to come to terms with the fact that he has to learn to live with his shadow self, instead of fearing it.
Jungkook embraces his r&b side on this solo track in which he discusses growing up in the spotlight, and wonders whether the fame was too sudden. Jungkook flows over this beat in a singing-rap style, and at times his vocal stylings are reminiscent of the late Michael Jackson. As the theme of self-realization is ever present in this album, Jungkook finds his resolve midway through “My Time”, and goes from stating that “I can’t…” to “I will…” by the end of the song.
Taehyung (V) tugs at the heartstrings on this solo, as he sings to his inner child about his achievement of the things that his child-self never realized he could obtain. You’ll have the sniffles by the time you reach the bridge in which Taehyung sings “my boy, my boy, my boy” over a melodic swell.
We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal
BTS has penned a love letter to ARMY in this moving ballad that is a far cry from the rowdy raucousness of its’ predecessor! BTS discusses how they were 7, but now “have all of us.” Try not to ugly cry.
Jin always chooses poignant and touching songs for his solos, and Moon is no exception. The melody is a bit floaty, and brings to mind sounds reminscent of the Beach Boys, but Jin showcases his love for ARMY in his signature polished fashion that will have you reaching for the Kleenex.
This is a moving song, not in a sad way, but in a “wow, this was the release I needed” kind of way. The vocal line discusses those bad days that everyone seems to have, but then lets us know that “were all gonna be happy” because a new day begins. Or at least, that’s the conclusion I reached. *wink*
Louder Than Bombs
Already considered a fave of many ARMY’s, this darkly sensual, heavily thrumming piece co-written by Troye Sivan is a 2nd Generation “House Of Cards”, or a song in which the lyrics aren’t sexy, but the song as a whole, is.
Jimin is at his flirty best on this Latin-infused solo, in which he sings “I can be your genie…pick and choose me.” His vocal stylings are sexy, but in classic BTS fashion, there is a deeper underlayer which discusses changing oneself to satisfy a partner.
BTS’ Map Of The Soul:7 is a fully realized, beautifully produced (and packaged) album with plenty of standout tracks (many not reviewed here) that are sure to become favorites of ARMY over the coming months. BTS has been eager to show the West that they are not a “bubblegum pop” group, and with Map of The Soul:7, they have revealed a gritty, mature, and lyrically focused album that is worth the price of admission, and definitely a Grammy nod!
*Map Of The Soul: 7 was released on 2/21/2020, and is now available through Weply, or national retailers (Amazon, Target, etc.) *
What are some of your favorite songs from the album? Leave us a comment below!
See you next time!