BTS fans are in for a treat with the fourth studio album “Map of the Soul: 7“. The album is part of the Map of the Soul series, beginning with the chart topping “Map of the Soul: Persona” released in 2019.

“Map of the Soul: 7” is the group’s reflection on the last seven years since their initial debut. The album shows a deeper level of maturity by exploring the members’ hardships in their journey to become global superstars. Comprised of sub-units and solo tracks “Map of the Soul: 7” is a testament to BTS’ creative talent.

The lead single ‘ON’ highlights the highs and lows of the last seven years. The song is BTS’ acknowledgement of their success. As RM puts it: “it is a declaration that we admitted our destiny”. The track features powerful lyrics accompanied by brass and percussion instruments not unlike a marching band. The refrain “bring the pain on” shows the group’s willingness to endure life’s difficulties in order to pursue their passion.

Every one of the solo tracks tells a story about each member. RM’s Intro: Persona has him questioning who he is; Suga’s Interlude: Shadow shows his fears of being famous. Despite the upbeat melody, J-Hope’s Outro: Ego reflects on his struggles since the group’s debut in 2013 while Jungkook’s My Time expresses his feelings about growing up in the public eye since the age of 15.

However, not all of the solo tracks are so hard hitting – Jin’s Moon expresses his love for ARMY and promises to do his best for them. Jimin’s Filter is bursting with confidence as he sings about recognising his self worth, and V’s Inner Child is a message to his younger self telling him that things will get better.

The group is known for their social commentary in their music, evident in 00:00 (Zero O’Clock) where everything resets at zero o’clock. The song also tells the listener not to let life get you down. Suga and RM’s Respect addresses the overuse of the word in today’s world, and they aren’t wrong.

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Though BTS have branched out musically over the years, they stay true to themselves – the track UGH is reminiscent of their older music. The confrontational in-your-face rap track calls out malicious haters – something the group have dealt with and continue to do so. The song has pretty similar vibes to some of their previous tracks like MIC DROP, DDAENG and the ‘CYPHER’ series.

BTS are an incredibly diverse group, and their passion is most evident in the experimental song Black Swan. The track takes inspiration from Martha Graham: “a dancer dies twice – once when they stop dancing, and this first death is more painful.” The song gives a hard-hitting message about the pain of losing your passion.

BTS has always openly discussed their hardships, and the pure duality of Louder Than Bombs discusses both the pain and success that the group has endured. The lyrics tell the story of how BTS develops confidence, coming to accept their pain and fear as part of the process. The song finishes by showing how they’ve moved forward with the confidence and determination we see in their performances today. Personally this song is the strongest from the album along with Bulletproof: The Eternal. These will easily become fan favourites if they aren’t already.

“Map of the Soul: 7” packages seven years worth of BTS into one singular album. Though fans have had to wait for almost a year, it’s certainly been worth it. The album is for ARMY to understand the journey BTS has taken as artists. An emotionally charged masterpiece, it’s difficult to predict what’s next, but it’s likely to be another hit. BTS are timeless – it’s never too late to start listening and stanning if you don’t already.

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