K-Pop and K-Dramas: ‘BE’ is Out!

Promotional photo of BTS on the set of “Dynamite”. From left to right: Min Yoongi (Suga), Kim Taehyung (V), Jeon Jungkook (Jungkook), Kim Namjoon (RM), Kim Seokjin (Jin), Park Jimin (Jimin), and Jung Hoseok (J-Hope). Copyright goes to Big Hit Entertainment and BTS.

Hey! Hallie here!

We ended this week with a few posts on K-Pop and K-Dramas, so it was only fitting that they lead up to BTS’s release of their new album, ‘BE’. As someone who absolutely stayed up all night streaming “Dynamite”, then streaming their entire album, then watching their V-Live, I celebrated the release just as obsessively as any ARMY could. The album didn’t disappoint. It captured the ups, downs, and complete restlessness of being in quarantine so perfectly. It spoke to me and my mental health in ways no album ever has. I initially planned to rank the songs on the album, but I can’t really bring myself to. All of the songs are so personal to the boys and to myself that I can’t put a definitive ranking on these songs. So instead, I’m going to be talking about why each one is amazing. There’s a bit extra to talk about here because all of the members of BTS were as involved in creating the album as possible. They were the writers, directors, producers, and took over even more responsibilities. So let’s look into the work they put into each song.

“Life Goes On”

This song was mainly written by the BTS rap line; Kim Namjoon, Min Yoongi, and Jung Hoseok. The accompanying music video for this song was dropped at the same time as the album and was directed by vocalist Jeon Jungkook. This song encompasses the general quarantine experience. It speaks about how everything seemed to stop when quarantine started except for time. While it talks about the feeling of loneliness and claustrophobia, it also reminds the listener that it will be over. It uses the phrase “life goes on” to remind everyone that we are moving forward even if we feel we aren’t and that we’ll come out of this on the other side. There’s also a few very sweet messages to ARMY that assure us that our relationship with the boys hasn’t changed despite how the world has changed. The music video emphasizes the song’s meaning. It mostly consists of all of the members of BTS lounging around inside, trying to keep a routine while everything’s gloomy. There are a few shots of Taehyung in a car and Namjoon on a bridge, isolated but attempting to get in touch with the outside world. These are definitely experiences many people have had in quarantine, but it uses them to give us hope that everything will be over. It’s a much needed message as we end the year.

“Fly To My Room”

This song was also written by Kim Namjoon, Min Yoongi, and Jung Hoseok. Park Jimin and Kim Taehyung are also noted as partial creators. It’s about the feeling of being stuck in your room during quarantine. It goes through the feelings of being trapped in one place before it takes a brighter turn. The boys sing about how they would rather take a more optimistic view of their rooms and invite their dreams inside. The song then reintroduces the room as a safe place where one can find happiness. It’s the second song on the album to convey a very relatable feeling of sadness connected to quarantine, before reminding the listener that there is hope.

“Blue & Grey”

This song was written by Kim Taehyung, Min Yoongi, Kim Namjoon, and Jung Hoseok. It was initially written by Kim Taehyung as a solo song for himself, but he ultimately decided to perform it with the rest of the group, causing it to have to be reworked. Taehyung wrote this song less about quarantine and more about the general feeling of unhappiness. The song goes through the confusion of not knowing why you’re unhappy and the guilt that comes with that. In the song there are mentions of this feeling appearing as early as childhood and refusing to go away. The chorus starts with “I just want to be happier” and asks if it’s too greedy to want more happiness. So many have gone through this form of depression, myself included. While BTS generally tries to spread happiness, they’ve always emphasized the importance of talking about ones mental health. This song is a beautiful reminder that no one is alone and nearly everyone has felt something like this at some point.

“Skit”

This isn’t a song! This is a three minute clip of all of the members of BTS talking about getting No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time in their careers. They even mention how strange it is that they’re practicing choreography for their very first song, “No More Dream”, when something so major has just happened. All on Jungkook’s birthday. The joy and excitement in their voices is what makes this skit so enjoyable to listen to.

“Telepathy”

This song was written by Min Yoongi, Kim Namjoon, and Jeon Jungkook. This one is probably the most upbeat of the songs on this album. It’s about feeling connected to those you’re close to, even when you’re separated. It’s about, you guessed it, quarantine. This song definitely uses quarantine imagery to emphasize the separation between loved ones. Specifically the separation BTS has felt with ARMY because of the cancellation of their concerts. While a topic like this could be sad, they manage to focus on the happiness someone feels when they talk to, or even think about, the people they love. It’s a nice feel good track amongst some of the other emotional ones.

“Dis-ease”

This song was written by Jung Hoseok, Kim Namjoon, Min Yoongi, and Park Jimin. It’s also my personal favorite song on the album. This song is about feeling restless during quarantine. It talks specifically about attempting to use the time to be restful but the desire to accomplish something productive keeps coming back. It’s one of the more upbeat tracks, with a pretty soulful bridge. Jimin is responsible for the bridge, which he wrote in about four minutes. He talked about feeling somewhat guilty for writing it in such a small amount of time because, Jungkook initially had a bridge prepared, but upon hearing Jimin’s, the rest of the group felt his bridge worked better. I feel bad for Jungkook, but I honestly can’t picture this song without this bridge.

“Stay”

This song was written by Jeon Jungkook, Kim Namjoon, and Kim Seokjin. Similar to “Blue & Grey”, it was initially written by Jeon Jungkook as a solo song, but was reworked to be part of the album. It was also written in English so it had to be rewritten in Korean. I’ll get to that in a second. This song is a bit close in meaning to the track “Telepathy”. It talks about the general wistfulness of being apart from someone who you know will always be waiting for you until you reunite. It also references ARMY’s separation from BTS during quarantine. This song is a bit lighter than “Telepathy” and it’s pop sound makes it very different.

“Dynamite”

This is the only song on the album that is written and performed completely in English. It’s also the only song that wasn’t written by any of the BTS members. It’s ALSO the song that put BTS on the Billboard Hot 100. This song has a pretty basic feel-good message of “enjoy yourself”. It was released as a bright song to help people get through some of the darkness that’s been going on recently. And it helped a lot. It brought a large amount of people into ARMY and became an anthem for happiness. BTS seemed to notice the danger with this song instantly after it’s success. It appeared to prove that Korean artists could better reach Western audiences by abandoning their native language. BTS didn’t want that. I can’t really blame them, either. Racism is the main reason why songs in other languages don’t do as well as songs in English among English-speaking audiences. All of the members of BTS were adamant that the rest of the album be in Korean, and they delivered. They made it very clear that they aren’t going to give up singing in Korean. I hope they find just as much, and even more, success with their Korean tracks.

That’s it for “Life Goes On”! I’m going to keep streaming it as much as possible. Hopefully one of their Korean songs will get them that second number one spot on Billboard. If you haven’t checked out this album yet, I’d highly recommend it. It’s emotional, relatable, and incredibly beautiful. I can’t express enough how much it affected me. I feel more at peace listening to this than I have felt in the past few months, and I know I’m not the only one. And to those ARMY’s who are right there along with me, listening to this album as much as possible and totally not crying, I’m happy to be right here with you.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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