BTS, the biggest boy band in the world finally released their new album on Friday, November 20.
‘BE’ with eight tracks:
- Life Goes On
- Fly To My Room
- Blue & Grey
It is their first album since February’s Map of the Soul: 7 dropped at the beginning of the pandemic, and since its summer hit “Dynamite” became their first top-charting single in the US. The album is pure pop, all the way down a loudly retro mix of pop sounds ranging from frothy to funky, melancholic to mellow, filtered through a lens of determined positivity.
Be is like a deliberate road map for how we can all get through the next few months: singalongs, good humor, and reliance on the bonds that keep us close. Be is both a proclamation and a promise. It’s okay to rest, it says: to simply exist, to survive, to be. In that sense, the album’s auditory shift toward total pop feels like a completely necessary response to a very difficult year — and indeed, it’s intended to be.
The short album opens with their newest single ‘Life Goes On’ which was also released on Friday. The song was directed by the group’s golden maknae, Jeon Jungkook, with the theme pandemic (Coronavirus-19).
Life Goes On, as the first track made a remarkable impact on people to continue their lives despite the stress brought by the pandemic. TIME writers Raisa Bruner and Kat Moon shared their reactions to this latest offering from the world’s most powerful musical group.
Kat Moon: As soon as Jung Kook opens with the line, “One day the world stopped without any warning,” it becomes clear that “Life Goes On” is a song for 2020. What struck me the most is how deeply intertwined the title track’s sound and message are. The relaxed tempo of the song reflects the sentiment of being fixed in place. “There’s no end in sight. Is there a way out? My feet refuse to move oh,” V sings.
Another auditory element throughout “Life Goes On” intrinsic to the track’s meaning is the emphasis on breathing. “Once winter comes, let’s exhale a warmer breath,” RM raps before a loud exhalation, ha. Beyond that, the song is packed with lines that end with the Korean vowels a (ㅏ, pronounced like “ah”) and eo (ㅓ, pronounced like “uh”). These open-mouthed endings create the effect of members inhaling and exhaling throughout the track. The sound can be interpreted in two ways: sighs that “the world stopped,” or, the likelier option, new breaths taken as BTS embraces “Be”-ing in this new reality. (It’s also worth noting that the opening shot of the “Life Goes On” music video shows V in a mask, sending the message of responsibly covering our faces when we breathe.)
Raisa Bruner: Thank you for bringing up those Korean details, Kat—the little things that a casual listener may not get, but that show BTS’ notable attention to meaning and double-entendre. They promised “Life Goes On” would be, in RM’s words from the pre-release press conference, “a simple message but a profound truth.” It’s warmer and lighter than what BTS is perhaps best known for on the charts; it feels like a cozy sweater, a hug from a friend.