Award-winning Korean boy group BTS recently released their highly-anticipated fifth studio album “BE” on Nov. 20. Much like their other albums, each of the seven members of BTS helped write and produce many of their songs. Their new album has eight songs, including the hit single “Dynamite,” which is still currently ranked on the Billboard Hot 100 months after release. “BE” contains a variety of musical styles, ranging from slow to upbeat. BTS’ albums typically deal with themes of mental health and love, and this one is no different. This album was heavily inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the members sing about feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation, but also about overcoming these obstacles.
The opening track on the album, “Life Goes On,” is an alternative hip-hop song with lyrics about the COVID-19 pandemic. The song starts off with Jungkook singing, “One day, the world stopped / Without any warning.” This song is a perfect song to describe 2020, as the pandemic suddenly changed everyone’s lives. It transitions to “Fly To My Room,” a retro pop song with a staccato-like melody about traveling through memories, which makes them feel happier and “brand new.” “Fly To My Room” also has a slow and melodic tune, bringing about a nostalgic feeling as BTS sings about memories.
Unlike “Life Goes On” and “Fly To My Room,” “Blue & Grey” is less upbeat. It is an acoustic song with a soft and mellow melody. It addresses themes of depression, with lyrics like “That hazy shadow that swallows me up / The blue question mark still exists / Is it anxiety or depression?” describing how depression swallows them whole. Adding onto this feeling of depression, Jimin and V sing, “I just wanna be happier / Am I being too greedy?” about the feeling of wanting to escape their feelings of depression and feel happy.
Their fourth track, “Skit” is a change of pace from BTS’ songs, as it is a non-musical track where BTS members talk among themselves about how their single “Dynamite” achieved #1 on Billboard Hot 100, thus becoming the first Korean artists to ever rank that high. BTS’ “Skit” differs from the rest of the album, capturing their casual conversations and gratitude over their achievement, especially since it was achieved on Jungkook’s birthday. BTS also made another skit in 2017 on the album “Love Yourself: Her,” where they talked about winning their first Billboard award.
Going back to the musical tracks, “Telepathy” is a catchy retro song about love and acts as a nice contrast from the slower songs from earlier. Jin said BTS dedicated this song to their fans since they were unable to see their fans during the pandemic. Lyrics such as, “Even if you’re not by my side, yeah / Even if I’m not by your side, yeah / You know we’re together,” details their connections to their fans around the world.
“Dis-ease” is a hip-hop track about the uncertain feelings of the pandemic, but it’s also about hopes for the future. It is about the widely felt feelings of confusion and anxiety during the pandemic, but feeling stronger and being able to take one day at a time. J-Hope, RM and Suga start off the song with their sharp rapping, differing from their other songs on this album that start slowly.
The final new song on this album is “Stay,” an energetic EDM song and has a similar message to “Telepathy” — missing their fans during the pandemic. Jungkook sings, “No matter where we are right now / Together, wherever yeah.” The album ends with one of BTS’s hit releases this summer: “Dynamite,” which is BTS’ first-ever English song. This song was met with worldwide success, selling more than 250,000 copies within its first week and debuting at #1 on Billboard Hot 100. The upbeat vibes of “Dynamite” are a perfect ending to this album’s rollercoaster of emotions.
Overall, BTS has outdone themselves, writing and producing an album that captures many of the emotions felt during the pandemic. Once again, they have proven themselves capable of being amazing songwriters and producers, as they have addressed complicated themes with catchy and enticing songs sure to draw anyone in.