Listen, sometimes life happens and you can’t write for a few months. And sometimes your love for BTS slaps you in the face and forces you to write. That’s right. After months of posting absolutely nothing, I’m back with yet another K-pop album review.
BTS is a K-pop group comprised of seven members. Within the past two years, their popularity has exploded internationally. You might have seen them on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Ellen, Good Morning America, The Billboards Music Awards, The Late Late Show with James Corden or at the United Nations, just to name a few.
After their hit album “Love Yourself: Her” was released in 2017, the group has been focusing their message on self-love. Earlier this year they released “Love Yourself: Tear” which spotlights the darker side of learning to love yourself. To wrap up this album series, BTS has released “Love Yourself: Answer,” an album repackage that combines songs from “Her” and “Tear” with new songs that make it a cohesive message about the process of learning self love.
I really didn’t expect to be as emotionally invested in this album as I ended up being. I still remember crying listening to “Tear” for the first time and thinking that they had absolutely outdone themselves. Little did I know I would be listening to “Answer” on repeat during a 17 hour road trip feeling the exact same way.
I don’t think I ever fully recognized the power in their albums “Her” or “Tear” until I heard the songs in this compilation album. The well thought out construction of “Love Yourself: Answer” provides a balanced blend between new and old songs, rapped and sung pieces, and solo songs for each member. “Answer” really does take listeners through the emotional journey of realizing what it means to love yourself and how it’s a messy, confusing process that may never end.
Other than the organization and meaning within the album, “Answer” is chock-full of bops and top-notch production value. The album’s single is easily one of their busiest songs in terms of production. It’s layered in such a way that you discover something new about the song with each listen. I think the majority of the album is like this, especially with the newer songs. After months of listening to “Answer,” something new seems to pop out to me every time.
As I’ve spoken about a handful of these songs before in my previous reviews of “Her” and “Tear,” I’ll be focusing mainly on the newer songs that I haven’t discussed yet.
Alright, here’s the song breakdown:
- Euphoria. I won’t lie to you, the first time I heard this song, I was underwhelmed. It really wasn’t until “Answer” came out that it became one of my go-to BTS songs. The name pretty much sums up the message of sharing pure happiness with one another. This is vocal-leader Jungkook’s solo song on the album. The song really reflects his style in music from the melodic EDM influence to its uplifting intention. It’s those particular production choices and sweet vocals matched with the message that makes this the most personal solo song on the album. Euphoria is just one of those songs that really communicates through the emotion being expressed, not just through lyrics. It inspires positivity and contentedness which makes it the perfect introduction to the journey of self-love.
- Trivia: Just Dance. A fitting solo song for the lead dancer of the group, Just Dance is a feel-good song that gets you on your feet. This song really reflects J-hope’s production style from his mixtape “Hope World.” The song itself has a lot of energy but is paired with a melodic groove that guides the listener through the song. Not to mention, J-hope’s performance of Just Dance is stellar. The song really comes to life when it’s put to choreography.
- Serendipity (Full Length Edition): Serendipity was one of the superstars from “Her.” Jimin’s solo is a slow, soft song which is highlighted by his ability to sing in such a high pitch. Since it was one of my favorites from the original album, I was thrilled to see a longer edition on “Answer.” Somehow, Jimin’s solo became even better. Even with all of the new songs, Serendipity is still one of my favorite songs from the Love Yourself era.
- DNA. Of course, the single that launched the entire Love Yourself series had to land onto the “Answer” tracklist. After a year, DNA is still an absolute bop.
- Dimple. My opinion on this song hasn’t changed much since my first review of it. Of all the middle tracks on “Her,” I still don’t think Dimple is a standout track. Her was a mini-album so the selection of middle tracks is limited, and admittedly, they weren’t my favorite. While Dimple is still a good song, Pied Piper would have been my choice for this album.
- Trivia: Love. RM’s solo track is all about love, but not necessarily the romantic kind. One of the prominent lines in the song, “I live so I love,” really sums up the song’s meaning. This rap song is very mellow and melodic. Since RM produced a large amount of the “Answer” album, this song flows perfectly with the overall sound of the album. Since RM’s recent mixtape release, Love seemed to be the preview to RM’s style shift to a subdued, moody sound. His old style was quite brazen so this change has allowed for more emotion in his music and I’m loving it.
- Her. As the closing song on the first album of the series, it’s an interesting, mellow rap song. Yet, after the release of Tear, the closing song on the second album of the series, I find that Her falls flat in comparison. That being said, I still enjoy the song and think it holds an important place on this album as a transitional piece.
- Singularity. Shifting away from love songs, V’s solo track brings in the sultry R&B influence that rings in the darker part of the album. Singularity still stands out as of the most unique songs on the album for its pure R&B influence and emotive storytelling. V has a low voice that works well with that style of music and an approach to art that relies heavily on emotion. When you listen to Singularity, it demands your attention and places you into an indulgent reality that’s completely controlled by the music.
- FAKE LOVE. Much like DNA, Fake Love was the single that launched BTS into a new chapter. This is the song that dominated international media for months and still is an iconic song for BTS. The angsty bop is still one of my favorite singles by them and stands out to me as the song that turned the international intrigue from DNA into secured superstardom.
- The Truth Untold. This is still one of my all-time favorite BTS songs. No other song of theirs reaches the level of emotional power present in this song.
- Trivia: Seesaw. Without a doubt, Seesaw is my favorite of all three Trivia tracks. While it is Suga’s song, it doesn’t reflect anything that the rapper has ever previously done. Instead of an intense, angry rap song, Suga released a subdued, melodic pop song complete with singing, a chorus and even choreography. Despite it being new territory for Suga, he absolutely nailed it. It’s one of the standout songs from “Answer” and the Love Yourself series as a whole. This makes me wonder if Seesaw will be a predictor for a new shift in Suga’s style for his upcoming mixtape.
- Tear: As I mentioned, Tear completely overshadowed Her in terms of strength and quality. This is one of my favorite songs from the Love Yourself series and even one of my favorite rap tracks every put out by BTS. It’s impressive to say the least.
- Epiphany. I can’t even tell you how excited I was for Jin’s solo track. For a long time, Jin seemed to be an overshadowed member in the group and this especially stood out to me in “Her.” After Epiphany, there’s no denying Jin’s presence in the group. Much like Singularity, this song stands out from BTS’s usual sound. The song defies what has become expected from the K-pop genre. Unlike a lot of singers, Jin stays true to the uniqueness in his voice and limits techniques that mimic other established vocalists. His soothing voice paired with the instrumental and acoustic features in Epiphany makes it a timeless piece that I think will age well compared to a lot of other music in the industry at the moment.
- I’m Fine. As a follow up of sorts to their song Save Me, I’m Fine highlights the independence that follows self-love. Rather than needing someone else, you’re enough. The song itself seems very fragmented with varying rhythms, speeds and styles. While it can be jarring to listen to, it really connects to the confusing pace of loving yourself. The shifting speeds and emotions in the song really conveys the feeling connected with the meaning, much like Euphoria. It takes the listener on a journey that may not always be smooth but ultimately leaves you feeling better than you did, much like enjoying a newfound independence. The song itself is a bop and has a killer live performance.
- IDOL. As the single for “Answer,” IDOL amps up the intensity for what is the busiest song on the album. Like the previous two singles, IDOL launched BTS into yet another phase of their careers. Since the meaning of the song is about having unashamed love for yourself, BTS became beacons for positivity. The clear message was massive news in American media and even took them all the way to the United Nations. Outside of the incredible message and unreal reach the song had, the song itself is impressive. The production of the song is a testament to how much work BTS and their producers put into their music. It’s easy in high-energy singles to follow a formula that will produce the most value for the least amount of work. IDOL is so slam-packed with little touches and quirks that it’s clear that it wasn’t just another song form a recipe book. The music video and live performances for this song are just as stunning and in-your-face as the song is and have set the bar even higher for their future work.
- Answer: Love Myself. Wrapping up the album is a sappy, feel-good song. On a surface level, I wouldn’t expect myself to like this song. Yet, I find it almost therapeutic after the total journey the album takes you on. More than the other songs on the album, this one moves me the most. It’s so uplifting and comforting in both production and message. The beat of the song is very simple and makes you want to clap along or sway back and forth. The message focuses on learning how to love yourself, since the journey never truly ends. While it is sappy, I think it’s a necessary song to balance out the intensity of the Love Yourself series.
“Love Yourself: Answer” really connected with me in so many ways. I love the production, the message and the journey it portrays. I love it so much I actually bought overpriced tickets and saw it all live at Citi Field. I can honestly say that this album series has changed so much in my life and broadened my horizons as to what this world has to offer and opened my eyes to how strong of a person I can be. After listening to it nonstop for months and reliving the concert on a daily basis, I finally feel ready to look forward to what’s next for BTS and, more importantly, myself.
Okay, I’m a sappy person when it comes to BTS, I’m sorry. The album is impressive and is just a good time to listen to. If you don’t get swept up in the emotion of the album, it’s still incredibly fun to listen to. There is a second disk to this album, but they’re all songs I’ve discussed in my previous reviews so I decided to leave it out. The second disk is filled with their fun pop songs from “Her” and “Tear” like Go Go and Anpanman. It also includes some remixes that I’m really not crazy about but to each their own.
I’d love to know your thoughts on the album if you’ve listened to it or to some of the songs. What are your thoughts on their far-reaching international fame? Are you ready for more BTS or are you looking more forward to some solo projects being released? I am coming back to the world of blogging and am working on a few posts at the moment that aren’t all K-pop, I promise. See you soon!
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