I was not able to share a playlist for the month of November, but there was one musical release I was really looking forward to, and that was BTS’s latest album -BE. Born out of their experiences during the pandemic, it was a highly emotional, deep and thoughtful album. To many, instead of BTS releasing another probable chart topper, taking a more emotional and detailed turn like this when they’re at the peak of their career was different.
What are the songs on the album? How did the people who listened to it, think about it? Let’s find out.
BE is BTS’s fifth studio album and contains eight tracks. And here’s what I felt about it. As I’m typing this out, BTS has earned a #1 on the Billboard 200, their fith consecutive album, has charted the album and the songs at the top positions in 90+ countries and one of the tracks which was released as a single some months ago, has earned their first ever Grammy nomination, a rare feat for a non- English artist in the otherwise mostly English-centric award like the Grammy’s. It’s also gotten their third #1 hit on the Billboard hot 100, less than an hour ago, another historic one for a non- English song.
I think it’s safe to say that BE is their most personal work yet and that’s evident in the track list.
Life goes on
I think something we have all learnt from the pandemic is that, things we never thought could be stopped can indeed be halted and we were forced to deal with so many changes all in the expanse of our homes. Suddenly we couldn’t see the people we meet on a daily basis, and if we ever came to come across another human we had to maintain a very safe distance from them.
Having to deal with so many changes we also realised along the way that Life goes on, which is what BTS has encompassed in this alternative hip-hop with faint tunes of acoustic guitar number. The lyrics ain’t rocket science. We can all relate to it without a doubt, and in what way we relate to it, is totally up to us.
I found this deeply melancholic and it always has my thoughts drifting away as I wonder about how much things have changed and become stagnant in 2020. I can’t help but hope for things to be back to normal and so that my life can go on like that.
Multiple versions of the music video have already released on YouTube where BTS is either in their homes, or in a spacious garden, or in a stadium that’s empty but with each sit lit by a lightstick that represents their other half – ARMY. I personally loved all the MVs, but the first one and the main released MV which is a culmination of all the other versions stays my favourite.
Fly to my room
We don’t have any solo numbers on this album, but we do have a sub-unit song and the first one on that comes from Suga, Jimin, V and J-Hope on this second track.
This track is a neo-soul, R&B, pop number from the quartet. This track is about the confinement and loneliness we experienced being quarantined in our homes and rooms. Although it sounds like a slow-dance number when you listen to it without going through the lyric trans with it’s slow staggered beat, and soft and breathy vocals, the lyrics.
If you really want to get the essence of the song, I think a part of the lyrics by V compiles it all – “my room seeks to be my everything, I might as well convert it into my world.” (A loose translation)
Blue and Grey
Blue and Grey is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a soft pop ballad that describes emotions with the use of the colors. Usually these colors in writing express sadness, angst, anxiety and many other darker feelings.
This was originally a song that was intended for V’s mixtape. But the choice to include it in this album was definitely the right one,as it fits right in with the mood.
BTS has included skits or recorded conversations amongst themselves with their albums but the last one was in 2017, with the album Love Yourself : Her. That skit was actually a recording of their name being announced as the “Top social artist” and their subsequent speech at the BBMAs. It was their first win, and a historic one at that and one has to agree that it was a start of many many records and history in the making by BTS.
Now, this skit is even more special as it’s a recording that was taken right after they got their first #1 hit with their song Dynamite! Their excitement, and happiness is infectious even if you don’t understand what they are saying until you read the translations of course.
So many things are special when it comes to this album of BTS but this time it’s their heightened participation in the formation of the album as well. While they normally take part in production, songwriting etc for all their albums, this time their involvement has increased with Jimin being the project manager for the album, Jungkook responsible for the MV direction and much more. During the weeks that built up to the album release BTS had several YouTube pre-recorded and otherwise kind of live broadcast on their channel where they were shown discussing ideas for BE. And one of the keywords they discussed over one live was – Telepathy.
This song is a funky disco track and kicks off the more upbeat part of the album. It’s a song that talks about distance, and a telepathic connection, experienced during these times. While Jungkook sings about running off to an island and having fun, V sings about how our minds are the same, even though we are far away.
Being separated from your loved ones is definitely one of the toughest things this year but this upbeat , funky tracks that celebrates that telepathic connection really sets off the mood on a more positive note.
When the trcaklist was released this was the song I was looking forward to the most from its name and it ended up as my favorite song as well.
This old school hip hop number has BTS talking about their relationship with their work which can maybe be described like a love-hate relationship (I mean don’t we all, with our jobs), with several references to illnesses and disease.
The thing that hooked me to this song the most? It was the final bridge of the song. From the information we know of the album making process this bridge was formed in a very short amount of time but has us bopping our heads for sure. I have lost count of how many times I’ve listened to this track! And it adds on to the energetic vibe that the album is carrying now that we are reaching the end.
It’s time for the next subunit track and it’s from , yes you guessed it – RM, Jin and Jungkook!
This is an old era style influenced EDM track whose chorus again really caught my attention as the word “Stay” was frequented in different ascending levels of pitch.
It’s a closing track in the album and it hits a note of positivity and optimism for tomorrow – “wherever you go, just stay” – with those strong pops of EDM.
The boys of BTS ends their album with their already released hit single – Dynamite.
Now, if you haven’t heard this song yet, I’m going to assume you’ve been been living under a rock. An international chart topper and hit, it was released with the intention of lightening the hearts of so many of us who were sad due to the pandemic and we’ll it was exactly that – it’s been quite some time since the song has been released but I’m still shining through the city with a little funk and soul with this one (wear your masks though) ! It was a perfect ending to this adventure for the auditory senses that we all love to call BE.