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Album review: BTS’ “BE” is a creative take on pandemic life

“BE,” is K-pop supergroup BTS’ latest album, and perhaps the best to date to date. 

Despite the tracklist being short, with only seven songs and one skit, each song’s lyrics are impactful and relatable.  With the current pandemic as the main theme, the lyrics reflect on the group’s thoughts and feelings on living through the troubling times of the coronavirus.

“The pandemic unexpectedly put a lot of our original plans to a halt. However it provided us an opportunity to step back and focus on ourselves as well as our music,” BTS’ member Park Jimin told Rolling Stone India. “We reflected the emotions that we felt during this unprecedented period into this album.”

The most notable song on the album is the opening track, “Life Goes On.” It is a wonderful start to the album, beginning with an acoustic guitar that complements the song before blurring into an alternative hip-hop sound. Just like its title, the theme of the song is living through life despite what obstacles we have before us. The song is inspiring; it feels like BTS is lending an open hand to a bright future we should hopefully look forward to.

While “Life Goes On” looks to the future, the second track “Fly to My Room” focuses on the present. It is the most relatable song on the album, representing the difficult experience of stay-at-home orders and quarantine.

“Everyday it’s so frustrating, it’s driving me crazy. Somebody turn back the clock, the entire year got stolen,” Park sings.

The song has a slow, heavy-sounding beat that cleverly mimics how time seems to slowly pass during the pandemic. Although the interpretation is a bit sad, there is still a bright outlook in the song. There are multiple mentions in the lyrics that talk about the comfort that rooms have given us throughout 2020.

While the album starts out with somber, ballad-like songs, more retro-sounding songs, such as “Telepathy” and “Dis-ease,” appear in the latter half. Both songs are cheerful, with lyrics that talk about fighting the feeling of uneasiness and sharing the message of hope for the future.

The album ends with “Dynamite,” another notable track that was previously released as a single on Aug. 20. It is the only song on the album that is fully sung in English and is also the most upbeat. It gives a nice tone to end on for an album that has heartfelt, meaningful songs throughout. Although “Dynamite” heavily differs from the songs before with its disco-pop sound, it stands as a reminder to the album’s listeners to remain optimistic during dark times.

“BE” is one of BTS’ most artistic projects it has produced so far. While the group’s members take a creative outlook on the pandemic, they also use the album to reflect on themselves and relate to their fans.

If you haven’t listened to any of BTS’ discography, then try out “BE.” It is a solid album with pretty-sounding songs and thoughtful lyrics. There is at least one song on the album that you will relate to and become fond of.

acqn3@mail.umkc.edu

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