By Emma Saletta
After being forced to postpone the Map of the Soul world tour earlier this year due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, BTS forged ahead with a fire inside, all seven members coming together to write and record new songs. Enter Be (styled all-uppercase), the group’s fifth Korean-language album, which was first announced in April via the group’s YouTube account shortly after the release of February’s Map of the Soul 7. Fans clamored to social media to express their excitement, and with the drop of the Bangtan Boys’ first English-language single just a few months later, the dreamy disco cut “Dynamite,” everything exploded in technicolor.
While many fans around the world remained isolated to curb the spread of the virus, and felt the complex, sometimes harsh emotions that come with that separation, BTS united them in livestreamed performances, a virtual Festa, and the promise of new tunes. “We hope this song can be your energy,” RM told MTV News of “Dynamite” in August, prior to their history-making performance at the 2020 Video Music Awards. That intention rings throughout Be, which is out today (November 20) in full. Across eight tracks, BTS blend danceable pop, hip-hop flow, and EDM thuds with powerful lyrics that channel the members’ own fears and anxieties (“Blue & Grey”), as well as a steadfast determination to overcome (“Life Goes On”).
Ultimately, what comes through is a profound beacon of hope for the future and, perhaps, the sense that BTS needs their fans to work through this difficult time as much as the Army needs them. Below, we break down “Be,” with all its shiny funk and sentimental strings, track by track and mood by mood.
“Life Goes On”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: optimistic.
Key lyric: “Yeah, life goes on / Like an arrow in the blue sky”
“Life Goes On” is a song that reminds listeners, no matter what happens in life, we will find a way to get through it. With catchy beats and an overall mellow vibe, BTS begins their album with a song that brings us hope for something better.
“Fly to My Room”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: better after a breakup.
Key lyric: “Sometimes we get to know / Broken is beautiful”
Ending relationships is easier for some more than others. “Fly to My Room,” with its triumphant synth-pop flourishes, will help you remember that you deserve to be happy, and the pain of heartbreak will soon be non-existent.
“Blue & Grey”
Listen to it when you’re feeling: vulnerable.
Key lyric: “Oh this ground feels so heavier / I am singing by myself”
“Blue & Grey” is a fresh spin on a ballad, and the combination of their voices with the acoustic guitar will bring tears to your eyes. Jimin and V bare it all when they let their walls down and cry, “Don’t say it’s OK / ’Cause it’s not OK.” It’s a positive message that expressing your feelings honestly and openly is always worthwhile.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like you need to be around laughter.
Key lyric: “But it’s really amazing… Everyone is really amazing.”
This is not a song at all but a recording that was made the day BTS found out they hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time. “Skit” lifts the curtain to let fans see who BTS are beyond the music, and their laughter is absolutely infectious. It shows they’re more than one of the most popular boy bands in the world; they’re friends.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: nostalgic.
Key lyric: “Even though we're far away now / Our hearts are still the same”
The warm funk of “Telepathy” will return you to the good times you’ve had. At the end, BTS sings “Every time, even in a different everyday life / You’re the most special person to me.” Your next best memory is just around the corner.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: like you need a jolt of confidence.
Key lyric: “One for the laugh, two for the show / Just like I’m so fine”
After listening to the catchy, hip-hop-led “Dis-ease,” you’ll feel all-powerful, a force to be reckoned with. Try streaming before a job interview or a first date, and you’ll walk into the room without a care in the world, because you’re the shit — you’re incredible.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: loved and energetic.
Key lyric: “Wherever you are / I know you always stay”
RM, Jin and Jungkook’s unit track is a blissed-out dance bop that will have you jamming like nobody’s watching. Meanwhile, the lyrics are a soft reminder that there’s always someone there for you. It’s joyful, and it will always have you smiling ear to ear.
Listen to it when you’re feeling: happy and upbeat.
Key lyric: “'Cause I-I-I'm in the stars tonight / So watch me bring the fire and set the night alight”
BTS end their album with the smash hit that started it all. Transposing nostalgic vibrations and an earworm of a refrain, “Dynamite” has proven to be a favorite among Army and beyond. After listening to the entire collection, this song is a welcome return and a reminder that “life is sweet as honey.”