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Album Review: BE by BTS

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BTS, or also known as the Bangtan Boys, are a seven member Korean-pop group from Seoul. While originally starting out as a hip hop group, they changed directions. Ever since 2015, they started to grow massively in popularity after every release. With the continuation of their worldwide success, they have just released their ninth studio album, BE.

The first track from the album is Life Goes On. At first glance, a guitar introduces a track, however, it could also be a synth due to the electronic nature of it. Besides that, if this is your first trip into Korean pop (K-pop), most of the music is not in English. However, I will be going over the lyrics with an English translation. Based on the translation, this track talks about the current state of the world in the pandemic. Despite all of the things happening in 2020, life is still happening and we can't just wait at a standstill.

Fly To My Room starts off light with an organ-like synthesizer. After the introduction, you still have the same instrumentation, but the notes are short and sweet. The instrumentation sounds oddly familiar to some pop songs I've heard before, I just can't remember where I've heard it. While the vocal harmonies are great on the chorus, some of the other parts, especially more of the rapping parts just ruin the tone of the track. Other than that, this track continues to talk about the struggles of quarantining in 2020 which most of us are feeling currently.

Blue & Grey opens up with a slow and melodic acoustic guitar. While it did open up sweet and beautiful at first, some of the low vocals definitely throw me off and while I do agree sometimes they have different vocal registers, the track morphed from what I had expected, and from what I would have preferred to hear. According to one of the members, this track was about asking themselves if they could really go on with their work and keep making music, so this is a personal and deep track for several of the members.

Skit is a quick, three minute conversation between the members of BTS. While no music is presented on this track, they do talk about their success as a group, especially how their track, Dynamite, was able to reach the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100. They were the first Korean pop group to achieve this so it definitely is a memorable moment. Other than that, they seem grateful for the opportunity, I just don't know how they wanted to tie this into the album.
 
Telepathy was another fun track from BTS. It opens up with a quiet synth, but after the introduction, it definitely opens up with their more playful and fun style that they have presented on some previous albums. Again, they are pretty talented vocally so it's nice to hear some of the vocal harmonies they are able to come up with on this track. Also, the rapping fits in much more on this track so I'm glad they are utilizing that on here. Despite not being able to meet their fans on tour, BTS made this track to, "melt down the feeling of not being able to meet with fans."
 
I was a bit surprised by the hip-hop track on Dis-ease. From someone that normally listens to American hip-hop, as well as some British grime hip-hop, this isn't far off from some of the music I've listened to over the past few years. Despite the language barrier, there are a lot of solid bars as well as some decent hip-hop elements in here. From the translation I've read over, this track talks about the uncertainty of the future with the pandemic, but also being hopeful about the future.

Stay tones down the album again with a light guitar part and piano parts. Eventually, more of a dance beat comes in to brighten up the track. It's a nice mix between singing and rapping as well to switch up the variety of vocals they present in the group. Continuing with the theme of previous tracks, this also connects with the current pandemic and how they are unable to see their fans during this time. To them, the past seemed like a distant memory or dream since it's been a very long time since their live concerts.

The last track from the album is Dynamite which actually encouraged me to branch out and listen to this BTS album. Many people, and surprisingly myself, were just glad to experience some happy and uplifting music during this difficult time. I also can't help but think about the track Dynamite by Taio Cruz since they share some similar lyrics. As I've said before, I'm sure this track will bring on some new fans and continue to grow their popularity world wide.

Overall Rating: 7/10
Favorite Tracks: Life Goes On, Telepathy, Dis-ease, Dynamite
 
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