BTS: ‘PROOF’ Comeback

Promotional image of (from left) Kim Taehyung, Min Yoongi, Kim Seokjin, Jeon Jungkook, Kim Namjoon, Park Jimin, and Jung Hoseok. Copyright goes to the members of BTS and HYBE.

Hi! It’s Annie!

It feels like everything happened when we were away! I don’t think this blog has ever missed this much news before! But, as my sister covered the hiatus, I will mostly be talking about ‘PROOF’, the various new songs on it, and some of the demos as well. This won’t be a full album review because, well, a lot of the songs already speak for themselves. This album is called ‘PROOF’ for a reason! But I’ll talk about the songs that are newer or we possibly weren’t expecting from this brilliant anthology of their work. Now with their hiatus, this album is beginning to feel more and more like an incredible gift from them to us as a reminder that we’ll see them again. Their best is yet to come.

Born Singer:

I wanted to talk about this one because it’s never been on a BTS album before and it was a very needed addition that none of us were expecting. It’s especially touching that this is the first track on their album. This song is very dear to them and something that they’ve all gotten emotional over before, so it’s a wonder we haven’t seen it for so long. It’s a beautiful piece filled with raw lyrics and I don’t think BTS or ARMY can look back at this song without feeling a blast of emotions from their first concert days.

Yet to Come:

This is their main solo off of the album and it is very clear why they chose that one now. While a lot of groups choose their main solo based on what will sell the best, this one was chosen because it was the message they most wanted to get across. This is the end of chapter one for them. But even with the recent announcement, this is by no means the end. For any of them individually or for them as a group. And I think that was the message that was most important for ARMY to know here. This isn’t the end nor have we even seen the best from them yet. This was a promise of blowing our minds both partly during and after they get some much needed healing and re-centering. This song is packed with comfort. And the MV is packed with just as much nostalgia. There are various references to almost all of their music videos. Finding all of the Easter eggs is still a process for some (including myself), but there’s obvious nods with the bus from ‘No More Dream’, props from ‘Spring Day’, and the train car from ‘Run’, to name a few. It’s a blast of nostalgia to remind all of us where they’ve come from and how much they still have to do.

Run BTS:

Of all of the new songs, I think this one might be my favorite. Just by a small fraction. I think there’s something that shows off all of their honed skills here. The entirety of the rap line gets to show off how their styles have improved since they last did songs like this. This song was created to invoke their debut style and has lyrics that are meant to invoke how they viewed themselves as a group then. Like their determination to move forward, or rather run forward, and their “live fast, die young” theme that showed up in many of their songs and MVs then. A mantra that they don’t really ascribe to that much anymore, but something that they pay homage to here. I think it’s a serious power move to do a song in your old style with your new skills. This single song is incredibly powerful in every element and I was absolutely blown away when I first heard it. Am I expecting them to do more songs in this style in the future? Only if they want to. They’ve changed and we all should understand that! But this song is nothing less than absolute perfection.

Jump (Demo):

This version of ‘Jump’ is really interesting, specifically because it is rap only. This demo track has a far more toned down chorus and even more rap, going back and forth between verses by Namjoon and Yoongi respectively. A lot of the rap featured here does end up in the final product, but it’s interesting to hear this as a rap track. It does give a feeling of one of the Cyphers because of it and it’s a really enjoyable track to listen to!

Young Love:

For those of you who, like many of us, were hoping for an eventual Namjoon and Jungkook collaboration; it’s here! I am in love with this song; I listened to it two more times after I heard it the first time. This is quite possibly the most pure love song ever written. It’s this mix of very pure and innocent love and the nervousness to approach the person and pursue it. Jungkook’s vocals only get more beautiful with every passing year and Namjoon’s smoother style of rap really works with Jungkook’s vocals. I was so delighted to hear this collaboration between the two of them and it has possibly become one of my favorite songs on the album.

Boy in Luv (Demo):

This is very close to the song we know and love, but there are a few differences. The main one that stood out to me was the more grungy musical backing sound. It feels almost like ‘Danger’ in how the musical backing and vocals feel even more raw and edgy. It’s definitely an interesting sound that I very much liked!

Quotation Mark:

This song is a collaboration between Namjoon, Jungkook, and Hobi! This is another love song that focuses more specifically on whether or not the object of the song likes the singer back. Though this song is more upbeat, I think it’s another example of the perfect marrying between Namjoon’s calming and simultaneously hardcore rap style and Jungkook’s clean vocals. But this time the bright and unmistakable Hoseok rhythm is also there to bring an entirely new flavor to the song. The three work well together and give the song it’s own unique character with their three distinct styles.

I NEED U (Demo):

The ‘I NEED U’ demo consists only of the rap line and Jungkook with vocals. This is definitely an early draft of what we know now, to the point that some of the parts for Taehyung, Jin, and Jimin are done by other people for them to fill in later. Though the backing melody is pretty well in tact, the lyrics and the lyrical melody are almost completely different. Raps are in very different spots and the chorus sounds completely different, though still good! There was controversy specifically about this demo in particular because there were people laughing at Namjoon’s vocals. My view on this is pretty in the middle of what appears to be the two sides. It’s clear to me in this demo that it was done only to guide, so Namjoon is attempting to give a feel of how he wants the vocals to go. And that means him attempting to show singers other than Jungkook, such as Jimin, how high he wants the vocals to go. Namjoon’s singing voice is amazing and I love it! But I don’t think Namjoon meant for his vocals here to sound good. He was trying to get his ideas across and that meant singing out of his natural vocal range. I personally find it to be kind of adorable! If you’re laughing at Namjoon because you think that’s what his singing voice is actually like and you’re making fun of that, that’s pretty messed up. But if you’re laughing because Namjoon is singing for Jimin and it’s cute; I personally think he probably also thought it was funny. Either way, I love this demo to pieces.

‘Boyz With Fun’ (Demo):

This is another demo version of a song that made a lot of people laugh. Not only does Namjoon take Hobi’s “eenie miney mo” verse and go completely off from there in a heartwarmingly Namjoon style he uses when he’s messing around, but the song also opens with Taehyung going “woah woah woah” in the funniest voice. We all already knew just by the sound of the song that they had so much fun recording it, but the demo is only further proof of it. BTS even talked about this demo specifically on a Vlive, laughed about it for a while, and jokingly asked Namjoon what he was doing in making that demo. To which he sheepishly laughed and declared that he liked it. I like it too Namjoon! It’s the most hilarious perfection and the album wouldn’t be the same without it. It still gives me instant serotonin when I see videos of ARMY reacting to it for the first time and laughing at Taehyung’s adorable noises.

Tony Montana (With Jimin):

I think I speak for all of ARMY when I say I was dying to get this on an album since I discovered it’s existence. I was never expecting that we would actually get it and now I can’t stop listening to it again. I know that Jimin was a bit self conscious of his rapping on this song, but I personally think he sounds like a complete badass! The fact that he added his own style and flair with the beat and lyrics makes it even more impressive for someone who doesn’t regularly rap. Yoongi definitely had a vision when he chose Jimin as part of this. And, obviously, Yoongi is brilliant. ‘Tony Montana’ has always been a badass bop and I loved having it here.

Young Forever (RM Demo):

In Namjoon’s most recent interview, the interviewer described this demo track as feeling like it came off of his mixtape, ‘Mono’. I can’t help but wholeheartedly agree. Though I do think he goes more raw and angry in his rap style here than with most of ‘Mono’. And that is for a reason. The lyrics are less about the love of performance and the connection between the group and the fans here. These lyrics are angry at the world for treating young people the way it does. For placing young people in an odd state of being between self destruction and self love. The lyrics seek to console the listener by telling them that they will have their young ideals forever and the world won’t be able to break you down. There’s a despair and desperation in the song that’s very touching and so very Namjoon in how poetic it is. This is one of the demo tracks that hit me the hardest because of that.

Spring Day (V Demo):

This demo is only a portion of “Spring Day’ and goes from Namjoon’s rap that is in the original to Taheyung’s chorus idea. It is absolutely beautiful. I have always found Taehyung to have some of the most calming vocals that I’ve ever heard, but this feels like another level even to that. This shows off Taehyung’s full range, from his soft and calming lower register to his soaring higher register. There are so many Taehyung songs that I’ve said I could fall asleep to in a good way because his voice is that relaxing. This would be one to add to that list. I would have been happy with Taehyung’s version of ‘Spring Day’ too!

DNA (j-hope Demo):

This sounds like it came right out of ‘Hope World’. Not only that but I was able to draw so much more of a connection between Hobi and ‘DNA’ after this. That song feels so much more like Hobi to me now! The song has the quirky beat and the high flying melodies that are so prominent in a lot of Hobi’s work. I don’t think there’s a rapper in the music industry who can recreate what any of the rap line does, but Hobi’s sound is almost alien in the way it’s so unlike any other rap style you’ve probably ever heard. And now I know why ‘DNA’ always felt like it suited Hobi almost too well.

Epiphany (Jin Demo):

There is no version of ‘Epiphany’ that I would ever be able to even remotely dislike. The original version in this demo has more testing lyrics than anything finalized though. The lyrics here are a pretty typical, though very adorable, love song. Very cute, but it doesn’t have the hard hitting love yourself message that we eventually got. I love those lyrics so much! But the real stand outs here are the melody and, most importantly, Jin’s gorgeous voice. His voice is so focused on in this demo that you can hear every note so clearly. It’s nothing short of beautiful. His range is so well showcased and I almost cried multiple times because his voice invokes so much emotion. It doesn’t matter what he’s singing about, Jin will always make you feel the lyrics of the song with just his voice.

Seesaw (Demo):

There were a lot of people who were disappointed that Jimin didn’t get a demo version of a song. Well, that’s because his never before shared work was shown in ‘Tony Montana’. Which is also the only Yoongi centric piece you’re going to get on this album with his vocals in it. This is a work of art created by Yoongi. He doesn’t sing or rap in it. You don’t hear him at all. What you hear is his work. This is a gorgeous soundtrack piece that showcases how much of an artist Yoongi is with sound and melody. I think he has the talent to create an entire movie soundtrack! He’s just so good at his use of melody and how to use it to evoke certain feelings. This piece has depth while feeling light as air. I loved every moment listening to it.

Still With You (Acapella):

As if we needed another reminder that Jungkook sounds like a literal angel. ‘Still With You’ has to be one of my favorite solo works that any of the boys have released, and it’s all due to the soft, calming, jazzy feel with Jungkook’s impeccable vocals. It’s both gorgeous and calming! This singles out his voice without the backing track to show just how amazing his range is. His voice is so crisp and clear. There are not many people with the control that he has, probably from singing everywhere at any time for so long. His voice is too good to be true. It makes me want to cry.

For Youth:

So this is the song that finally made me break down in tears on this album. It wasn’t ‘Yet To Come’, because I did and still do find that song to mostly be hopeful. But beginning this one with the audio of ARMY surprising BTS at their concert by singing ‘Young Forever’ completely broke me. I still have trouble watching the performances they’ve been doing for this song. It’s so clearly made for us and so touching and emotional that I won’t be able to properly describe it in words. They call us their home in the song and their best friends. And they talk about how we’ve helped them just as much as they helped all of us. I know for a fact they’ve helped me through so much. Even thinking about this song and writing about it is making me want to cry! So let’s move on while I grab for the tissues! Just…thank you so much BTS. For everything. And we’ll all be right here when our boys get back!

Performances:

They decided to do an actual comeback with this, which makes sense now. They’ve seemed to be trying their best to be happy and goofy, but also breaking down a bit at times. I think we’re all on the same page here! But there’s also a freedom I’m feeling from them too, especially with how much they’ve been messing around with their ending fairies. I really think this break will be good for them and it’s so nice to see them having fun! I know there were people who were hoping for choreography, but I’m glad that they didn’t go that route. Namjoon said that their hearts wouldn’t have been in it and this version of performing feels more raw and real to me. It feels like they’re having a conversation with us every time they sing ‘Yet to Come’ and ‘For Youth’. I appreciate this style so much, especially for right now, and I sincerely hope that they’re enjoying finally hearing the cheers from their Korean fans.

Oof! I’m still so emotional over this album! It really is a beautiful slice of perfection and a wonderful summary of chapter one of BTS. I’m glad that they’re more confident now that we’ll be here when they come back. Right where they left us. And I think it goes without saying that if you are attacking any one of them for this hiatus, you aren’t a real ARMY. There have been people weirdly pinning the blame on Namjoon saying that they were only on hiatus because he was struggling. Firstly, that’s an awful reaction to someone struggling. Secondly, it is absolutely nobody’s fault. Jimin even said that they never thought Namjoon’s ideas didn’t reflect the group when he expressed this concern. They all talked about struggling! Let’s give them the room and space they need to heal without pouring unwarranted accusations onto their plate. And we just got a teaser for some of Jungkook’s solo work! Look out for “Left and Right” by Jungkook and Charlie Puth! Let’s start supporting all of their solo work and collabs!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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