Photo courtesy of Bighit Ent.

BTS’ “Love Yourself” album review

With BTS’s most recent album “Love Yourself: Her,” the South Korean-based group has shot to the top of the charts within a week. While it is shorter than their previous album “Wings” and the album’s re-release “You Never Walk Alone,” “Love Yourself: Her” has garnered an immense amount of coverage.

After the release of the album trailer on Sept. 4, fans and media outlets clamored over the album’s contents. The leader of the group, Rap Monster, hinted that the band was extremely excited to let their fans hear the entire album. In an interview with Billboard, Rap Monster said the album would “mark the turning point of BTS.” Later on in the interview, he said that winning the Billboard Music Award for top social artist was, in the moment, a bit overwhelming. The award judges artists on their social media followings and engagement with fans via media like Twitter. Coming off of that win in May, BTS was able to collaborate with American music duo The Chainsmokers on “Best of Me.” They also met with artists like Steve Aoki, Halsey and Charli XCX.  

Some standout tracks on the album are “Go Go,” “DNA” and “Intro: Serendipity.” In the aforementioned Billboard interview, Rap Monster recounted that his intention for “Go Go” was for it to be a commentary on young people’s outlook on life in the modern world. He said that while the song has a trendy sound to it, it is more reflective of the low standards that young people have internalized in the wake of economic downturn. He also said that the song is meant to emphasize the attitude of throwing what little money they may have around is not something they chose. Impulsiveness and indulgence is something that is thrust upon them because it is what makes their lives bearable in an atmosphere with little hope. These themes could also be a nod to his collaboration with Wale on “Change,” which emphasizes the importance of trying to make positive change on the world and not giving up hope that those changes are even possible. At the same time, “Intro: Serendipity” and “DNA” are both compelling in that they are written from a gender-neutral perspective. Rap Monster said that the emotions the songs were inspired by transcend the barriers of gender and culture. In an age where attitudes toward the LGBTQ+ community are still incredibly conservative and where the music industry is still rife with gender inequality, it is weighty that such tracks would appear on an album with the words “love yourself” in the title.

Even though the group comes from humble beginnings and different walks of life, they still manage to come together consistently with a complex, and more interesting sound. This album especially shows tremendous artistic as well as emotional growth which comes through clearly in each track.

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