Review: ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ exhibits members’ unique voices

Korean boy band’s hiatus ends with 20-track album

Courtesy of BigHit Entertainment.

Courtesy of BigHit Entertainment.

After a month-long hiatus, K-pop group BTS released a 20-track album, “Map of the Soul: 7,” on Friday, Feb 21. Containing four songs from their previous album, “Map of the Soul: Persona,” which was released on April 12, 2019, the seven-member group continues its worldwide success. 

This album includes seven songs with only one member’s vocals on each, seen before in their album “Wings.” Songs like “Filter” and “My Time” are examples of how contrasting the individual tracks can be, the former taking more of a latin influence to the music and the latter leaning into a mixture of pop and R&B.

Starting the album off with the song “Intro: Persona,” it takes the name from the previous album and features the leader of the group, RM. Rapping takes over the whole song, smooth verses coming one after another. This song exemplifies the theme for this era, a questioning of oneself, with lyrics that say, “Who am I? The question I had my whole life, the question which I probably won’t find an answer to my whole life.”

The next four tracks are songs from the group’s album released last year, including “Boy With Luv (Feat. Halsey)” and “Dionysus.” The repetitiveness, while overused, added an interesting touch of nostalgia for fans. A downside is how long it makes the album, adding an unnecessary four songs to the already long collection.

“Black Swan,” a single released on Jan. 17, 2020, gives audiences a throwback to previous title track “FAKE LOVE.” This song mixes all the members’ unique voices chillingly proficient, making use of their extensive range. Covering a fear of losing passion for one’s love, they sing about how lost they would be without their passion. The song starts off with mentioning a passion for music that one is drifting away from it, but the second verse covers finding it again, “Slowly I open my eyes, I’m in my workroom, it’s my studio” and then “I’ll never get dragged away again.”

Each one of BTS’ albums feature a song containing only the rappers of the group, “UGH!” following this theme. The track contains auto-tuned vocals for choruses, giving the track an extra layer listeners adored. It’s a quick-paced song, different from the rest of the album. Aggressive rapping and adlibs come from J-Hope, Suga and RM, giving the song intensity and making it one of the favorites on the album. BTS has always included a rap song that serves as a calling out to people who’ve doubted the group and this album is no different. Through lyrics like “Rage? Of course you need it” and “This is not rage, this is excretion,” RM talks about the undeserved hate the group gets.

Besides the few stand out tracks, there are a couple tracks that don’t meet up to the expectations of the others. Songs like “ON” and “Friends” are a few examples. Despite having pleasant vocals, there’s nothing in them that are distinctive.

With the album full to the brim with songs, BTS pleased its audiences. Despite several tracks that didn’t live up to the hype, this album deserves 3.5 out of 5 stars. The quality of vocals was always at its best, and for the majority of outstanding songs, they were unique and true to the group’s continuous message of love and knowing who one is.