April 12, 2019, was an exciting day for the BTS’s A.R.M.Y fanbase. The K-pop group dropped their sixth EP titled, “Map Of The Soul: Persona.” BTS hinted at the release of “Persona” on their official Instagram page in March with concept photos. Other than that, there was no information about when the EP was going to be released until five days before the official release date, when the group released a teaser of their single “Boy With Luv” featuring American artist Halsey.
BTS has taken western audiences by storm. After winning a Billboard award in 2017, the boys are making their mark on American soil. “Boy With Luv” shocked many fans as they did not expect the Korean group to collaborate with an American artist. The music video was full of color and breathtaking visual shots. Halsey sang in the chorus in Korean and danced along to the boys’ complex choreography. The video has over 100 million views and already broke Youtube’s record for views within 24 hours. The upbeat love pop song is gaining high popularity as the leading single of this project.
BTS’s leader RM takes on a solo rap for the first track of the EP titled, “Intro: Persona.” RM raps about his personal growth as a musician and human being. In the chorus, RM raps, “Who the hell am I? / I just wanna go / I just wanna fly / I just wanna give you all the voices ‘till I die.” This
line is a reference from RM’s 2015 mixtape. The rapper expresses his insecurity of using his voice, feeling that it would be masked by other voices. However, RM hopes to be able to share his voice to those who will listen. Unlike “Boy With Luv,” the intro song is vulnerable and speaks about the boys’ struggles within themselves.
Halsey was not the only western artist to collaborate with the boys. Ed Sheeran announced on his Instagram that he co-wrote his first K-pop song “Make It Right,” the fourth song on the EP. BTS sings about their desires to better relationships and the world. Though the song speaks about love, the boys are good at keeping their love lives private.
“HOME” is an R&B track that mixes rap and vocals. This fifth track is dedicated to the fans that have showed the band love and support since their debut in 2013. BTS have faced Asian stereotypes since gaining western attention and many fans were worried that the boys were overworking themselves to become successful. This song, written by Suga and RM, expresses gratitude for those who stood by them through their hard times.
“Map Of The Soul: Persona” introduces a new era of BTS.
“The theme of the album is centered around Carl Jung’s’ theory of personality archetypes being the fundamental of character,” writes Genius.com.
K-pop stars face extreme pressure to keep up with trends and be role models to their fans. BTS is vocal about the challenges of being idolized in their music. Though the media portrays K-pop artists as pure and perfect, BTS shows fans that they are just like every other person that goes through struggles, physically and mentally.
Since gaining western popularity the boys have been pressured to sing in English, however, they never strayed away from their roots. Instead, western artists are offering to collaborate with the Korean group. BTS has challenged Asian stereotypes by making music about topics that are not brought to light in Asian culture. Not only can BTS write chart-topping hits, but the meaning behind every lyric is also personal to them. Many fans believe BTS have paved the way for K-pop artists to gain an audience in western music. After winning their first Billboard Award, there is nothing stopping them.
Cindy Lam is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached at email@example.com.