BTS Map of the Soul 7

The biggest group in the world releases great music exactly when I need them.

It’s apparently been months since BTS released their last album (in the vacuum of clerkship, I really couldn’t tell). And it’s been seven years since the band BTS formed as a group of talented seven members. Hence the name of the album.

The album’s been getting generous reviews so far, from Rolling Stones‘ “Map of the Soul: 7 is their most smashing album yet, showing off their mastery of different pop styles from rap bangers to slow-dance ballads to post-Swedish electro-disco to prog-style philosophizing… It’s a prime example of BTS at top strength: a pop moment that feels both intimately personal and exuberantly universal” to Billboard‘s “Fulfilling in its look back on BTS’ seven years together and overall optimistic in facing both past and future shadows, Map of the Soul: 7 is a bright sonic soundscape; a celebration of everything that BTS has become.

Anyway. I’m not here to review the album. I just dropped by to share how the album’s two singles made me feel.

I hope everyone finds music or art that they can relate to, or that relates to them.

The first song and video to come out was Black Swan. I specifically loved the art film version of the song. The song’s chilling string instrumentals, the powerful and expressive choreography, and the lyrics all attacked me in one big swoop of melancholy and hope. I even turned to Facebook to dump my feelings to the locals.

The video starts out with this quote from Martha Graham: “A dancer dies twice — once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful.”

A few seconds in, and I already knew that it was the kind of song that artists from around the world can relate to. I feel like I die every time I put down the pen without picking it back up. I know the desperate feeling of trying to create something great but finding nothing come out instead.

I’m trying to imagine myself in BTS’ shoes. The moment they lose the drive to make music, who are they? What’s left? But the song turns a bit more hopeful and driven in the second half.

This is what my dramatic ass wrote last January when this video first came out:

Then a couple of days ago, they released their lead single ON alongside the rest of their album. The empowering, in-your-face, marching band vibe of the song came right at a time when I needed a pick-me-up from the stress of clerkship.

I was looking forward to years and years of an unforgiving medical profession: not able to see my family every week, barely getting any sleep, having to struggle to eat healthy and exercise. Losing money like a sieve for all the little conveniences that make life bearable.

So when I heard the strong drumbeats and background choir vocals, as well as when I understood the lyrics, I really felt like I wasn’t alone in fighting for the decisions I’ve made in life.

Look at my feet, look down
The shadow resembles me
Is it the shadow that’s shaking
Or is it my feet that are trembling
Of course I‘m not unafraid
Of course it’s not all okay
But I know
Awkwardly I flow
I fly together with that black wind

Hey na na na
Gotta go insane to stay sane
Hey na na na
Throw myself whole into both worlds
Hey na na na
Can’t hold me down cuz you know I’m a fighter
Carried myself into this beautiful prison
Find me and I’m gonna live with ya

To me, these verses reflect how BTS are still struggling even at the top of their career. As they shine brighter, their shadows grow longer. But because they chose this path –this beautiful prison– they’ll fight for it with everything they’ve got.

That’s the kind of attitude I need in my life!

Here’s the addicting visuals and frankly intimidating choreography that comes with those words:

That’s it for tonight! I need to actually do some work. I slept the whole day (it’s a holiday celebrating the People Power in the Philippines) and now I need to work through my MBA requirements.

Watch out for my post on Art Fair PH! ❤️

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