Album Review: BTS, LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’

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K-Pop phenomenon, BTS, has been slowly but surely breaking into the American market. On their new, and potentially history-making, album, LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear,’ BTS explore new sonic ground, deeper exploration of the English language, and more mature concepts.

The album begins with a luscious neo-soul track, titled “Intro: Singularity,” with hints of lounge music and jazz. The solo on this song is performed by V; his tender and seductive vocal easily places him in the American R&B landscape. The intro then bleeds into “Fake Love,” the lead single which they debuted at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards. “Fake Love” is bombastic and explosive, the track’s crisp production and manic energy invite the audience to chant and dance along, at some point we’ve all been “sick of the fake love.” Completing the 1-2-3 punch of the introductory tracks is “The Truth Untold (feat. Steve Aoki);” “Truth” is a stunning ballad that uses the smeraldo flower as an analogy for insecurity in relationships, the song is simply beautiful. Other highlights on the album include the insanely hype “Anpanman” and the incredibly fun “Magic Shop.” On a slightly negative note, the penultimate track, “So What” is not good at all, it sounds like a song that would have smashed in 2011; the production is dated and cheap and does not make for an enjoyable.

LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’ is the second installment of the Love Yourself series following last September’s LOVE YOURSELF 承 ‘Her.’ BTS’ growth as musicians is astounding, the rappers are more fiery and aggressive and their flows are more interesting than some of the biggest trap artists in the U.S, right now. The main vocalists of the group have gorgeous tones that are expertly draped by multilayered soundscapes. Where LOVE YOURSELF 承 ‘Her’ was brighter and seemingly more optimistic, LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’ is darker on nearly every level. LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’ shows the artistic breadth of BTS and their enviable versatility and evolvement.

KEY TRACKS: “Intro: Singularity,” “The Truth Untold,” “Outro: Tear”

SCORE: 70

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