BTS – Proof

A nice wander through the past - with three pointers to the future...

Easily described as the kings of K-pop, BTS have achieved world domination with a literal ARMY of fans proudly standing behind them as the group slays every possible musical record. As they approach their 10th year as artists, the Bangtan Boys have released an anthology album entitled 'Proof' that brings together some of their most popular songs, demo versions and unreleased tracks.

With a mighty 48 tracks included, the album is split into three discs. Disc one is a chronological journey of BTS. From their debut single 'No More Dream' up until the chart-topping 'Butter', disc one really displays the group’s development, both in terms of their sound but also their maturity and willingness to experiment. Disc two dives into more fan favourites, but this time takes a look at solo and unit tracks. Disk three includes a plethora of demo tracks as well as three new singles 'Quotation Mark', 'Young Love' and 'For Youth'. Being described as a gift for their fans, the final disc of 'Proof' provides an insight into the production of some of ARMY’s favourite BTS tracks. The loose adlibs and rough vocals showcase the creative process of the group. Despite disc three only being available on the physical CD version of 'Proof', final track For Youth is available on streaming platforms and displays BTS’ gratitude towards their fans.  

'Proof' opens with 'Born Singer', a track written by BTS’ rappers to a J.Cole instrumental. Unofficially released back in July 2013, the track is the group expressing their emotions a month after their official debut. Now being remastered f-or the album, the groups’ sentiments are still eminent. Suga speaks of his ambition to rap professionally whilst RM expresses his ferocious self-belief.  

The lead single 'Yet To Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)' feels extremely referencial. Lyrically the group are both reminiscing over their time as artists whilst also looking forward into the unpredictable future. Backed by a laid back pop beat, 'Yet To Come' demands attention is given to the member’s words and force a listener to emphasise with the nostalgia surrounding the group and their music.

A highlight of the album comes from new track 'Run BTS'. Sharing the same name with BTS’ iconic reality show, 'Run BTS' reflects on each member’s individuality whilst also leading space for their personal taste to protrude. The track features an infectious repetitive guitar riff whilst the low-key growls of J-Hope, Suga and RM can be heard during the pre-chorus. 'Run BTS' is a perfect example of BTS’ versatility, it allows for the vocal unit (Jimin, V, Jungkook and Jin) to showcase their well-versed abilities, yet also suits the intricate rapping style of Suga. As an anthology album, 'Proof' allows fans to reminisce over BTS’ journey since their debut back in 2013, but it also allows fans to recall their own adventure and puts into perspective the meaning of the group to their own lives. The new tracks feel somewhat minimal in sound yet their lyrical complexities give it more of a focus. If anything, 'Proof' provides context to K-pop’s infiltration into the Western industry and gives reasoning to BTS’ dominance.

7/10

Words: Abbie Aitken

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