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Defying pandemic, BTS set to drop much-anticipated album 'BE'

11:21 November 20, 2020

By Lee Minji

SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) -- K-pop megastar BTS, which has emerged as one of the biggest pop groups in the world, on Friday was scheduled to release its new album "BE," an intimate record of messages the septet wants to share with the world during the pandemic.

The eight-track album, the band's fifth Korean-language studio album, is set to drop at 2 p.m. It kicks off with the lead track "Life Goes On" and ends with the chart-breaking single "Dynamite," which propelled BTS to become the first K-pop act to top the Billboard Hot 100.

Through vlogs and messages to ARMY, the band's dedicated global fan base, BTS had hinted that it took part in the album's production from scratch. The band's seven members took on behind-the-scenes roles, like Jimin working as music project manager and J-Hope as choreographer.

The teasers that were released in the past two weeks were proof of that. A track list of the eight songs was handwritten by the members, and the two snippets of teasers for "Life Goes On" were directed by youngest member Jungkook.

In fact, the title of the album "BE" is a reflection this effort, with the title showing "the feelings and thoughts of BTS at this moment," according to Big Hit Entertainment.

This photo, provided by Big Entertainment, shows K-pop megastar BTS. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

"Life Goes On" is a follow-up to the band's message addressing the pandemic. If "Dynamite" was an upbeat disco-pop that centered on sharing joy and staying happy even during the bleakest of times, "Life Goes On" is a more weighty and calm alternative hip-hop track that tells us that life does go on in what seems like a world that has come to a full stop.

The album is also packed with songs that the seven-piece band wrote and produced.

Member V wrote the music and the lyrics for "Blue & Grey," a sentimental pop ballad that delves into inner anxiety and fear via the colors blue and gray as metaphoric vehicles. Suga played a central role in "Telepathy," a funky retro pop-disco that is a tribute to their fans around the world who have supported them throughout their seven-year musical career. RM, Jin and Jungkook teamed up for the seventh track "Stay," which also talks about being together despite being physically apart.

This composite image provided by Big Hit Entertainment shows members of K-pop group BTS in promotional materials for the band's new album "BE." (Yonhap)

Like RM mentioned in a Sept. 14 interview on MBC Radio's "Bae Chul-soo's Music Camp," the seven members explore "topics that are deemed most necessary (for discussion) nowadays."

In "Fly to My Room," a unit song featuring Suga, J-Hope, Jimin and V, the four imagine a world where the definition of traveling may take a different turn amid the pandemic. It poses a playful question on the definition of traveling, asking listeners to look around mundane spaces like home.

"Dis-ease" is another song that directly speaks about the pandemic. The old-school hip-hop track, in which J-Hope took part, captures the uneasiness that comes from an unexpected vacuum triggered by the pandemic.

"Skit" is another notable track that is an example of the candidness BTS is known for. The fourth track captures the conversations the seven members had after hearing they became the first South Korean musical to achieve the Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 milestone.

The band will showcase "Life Goes On" at the 2020 American Music Awards on Sunday in Los Angeles.

This photo, provided by Big Hit Entertainment on Nov. 11, 2020, shows the track list for the upcoming BTS album "BE." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

mlee@yna.co.kr
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