Global superstars BTS have set a date for their next release and — surprise! — it's a lot sooner than anticipated. With the South Korean boy band set to kick off their U.S. stadium tour in May, the international chart-toppers have confirmed that their next album, Map of the Soul: Persona, will drop Friday, April 12 — just in time for you to learn all of the fan chants ahead of their tour.
Map of the Soul: Persona marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the artists following their massively successful Love Yourself trilogy, which concluded with Love Yourself: Answer — peaking at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 — this past November. Per a press release, the album will be available for pre-order starting March 13.
While their passionate fans (known as ARMY) will undoubtedly parse through potential clues buried deep in their past work, performances, and wardrobe choices (yes, BTS are that meticulous), here's what we do know about Persona: BTS have been hard at work on the album for months, even pulling an all-nighter the evening before their historic presenting gig at the 2019 Grammys to finish it.
"The concept is paying off," leader RM said on the red carpet. "I hope [the fans] love it, and they listen to it, and they like it." That concept he's referring to started all the way back in 2013 with their debut single, "No More Dream" — and BTS have cleverly and carefully weaving together a narrative of self-love and acceptance ever since.
In fact, astute fans have already discovered that the opening of BTS' performance at the Mnet Asian Music Awards in December of last year hinted at Map of the Soul with a short vignette that read: "You gave me power. You gave me love. So now I'm a hero, so now I’m a boy with love. I'll show you the map of the soul. I'll show you the dream."
Wherever the Bangtan narrative leads, one thing's for sure: BTS are poised to break even more records in 2019. Where do you go after two No. 1 albums and a sold-out stadium tour? RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook are about to find out.