K-pop giants BTS released the third and final instalment of their much loved Love Yourself series in August. 'Love Yourself: Answer', a follow up to May’s historic Billboard 200 chart- topper 'Love Yourself: Tear' and last year’s record breaking 'Love Yourself: Her' has brought the band to new heights with their second No. 1 album on the Billboard charts. Overflowing with positivity, the new album – an amalgamation of songs, both old and new- brings to a close an era of the band in the most inspiring way.
The two-disc album kicks off with “Euphoria”, which was released earlier this year as a theme to the Love Yourself Wonder video. A solo sung by Jungkook with lyrics by RM, the ebullient track with future bass leanings, it sets the blueprint for the album’s optimistic tone.
Next comes the first of three 'Trivia' tracks from the rappers of the band. 'Trivia 起: Just Dance' by J-Hope is a funky, hip-hop track that perfectly emulates the sound he set up in his Hope World mixtape from earlier in the year. Detailing the electric connection of love at first sight between two people dancing together, the track features a jazzy, two-step rhythm, which provides the perfect segue to RM’s 'Trivia 承: Love', in which the rapper grapples with the thought of whether to leave behind a relationship or not. With minimum instrumentation, the track is philosophical – with him comparing the one letter difference between ‘live’ and ‘love’- and impactful. His 'Trivia' leads into the sweet, bouncy hip-hip track about love, #Her'.
Suga’s 'Trivia 轉: Seesaw' which compares the ups and downs of a relationship with riding a seesaw serves as a great vehicle to explore – in a first- the rapper’s vocals. The funky, disco- inspired track in which the rapper takes the hard decision of bringing an end to a relationship is poignant and stays with a listener much beyond the first listen, and acts as the perfect conclusion to the trilogy of Trivia.
A full-length version of Jimin’s solo 'Serendipity', featured previously as a shortened intro within Her, along with the bright, whistling 'DNA' and the future bass of 'Dimple' round out the first third of the album.
The second half of the album featuring V’s R&B inspired introspective solo 'Singularity' leading into the desperate EDM and rap-rock sound of 'Fake Love', and sentimental tune from the group’s vocalist called 'The Truth Untold', produced by Steve Aoki. The second part of the album effortlessly forges a connection between the love found within the first half and loss.
Headed by Suga’s 'Trivia' the third part of the album, moves forward the theme of grappling with loss. Following this comes 'I’m Fine' which acts as a parallel to 2016’s 'Save Me' off 'The Most Beautiful Moment In Life: Young Forever'. A euphoric EDM track with motivational lyrics it is the inverse of 'Save Me' in every way. While in the melancholic 'Save Me' the group pleaded for someone to take their hand and save them from the darkness, 'I’m Fine' is declaration of self-reliance.
Bolstered by this self-reliance, comes the next track Jin’s 'Epiphany' which brings the conclusion of the Love Yourself series. An uplifting and revelatory track, featuring Jin’s flawless vocals “Epiphany” is the beginning to the message of self-love that the entire album encompasses. Rounding out their two-year long journey of self-love and self-compassion is 'Idol', the group’s boisterous, Gqom-inspired track about taking pride in one’s self. 'Idol' is a celebration of self-love, of BTS and of how far they’ve come, and everything they stand for.
In an uplifting finale to the series comes the title-flipping 'Answer: Love Myself', which closes out the series with a positive message of self-love. Impactful, and with poetic lyrics, the track is the perfect end - and fittingly the perfect answer - to the exploratory nature of the Love Yourself series.
Aside from all these amazing new tracks comes a second disc of much loved previous releases including 'Magic Shop', 'Best Of Me', 'Go Go', and different remixed versions of various other old gems like 'Mic Drop'.
With so many records previously broken, this new release was one with high expectations attached, and this masterful compilation which perfectly pays homage to previous releases and simultaneously moves the journey of BTS into a new era, stands out as magnum opus from a group that is ready to scale new heights.
Words: Malvika Padin
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