sun 09/08/2020

Album: BTS – Map of the Soul: 7 | reviews, news & interviews

Album: BTS – Map of the Soul: 7

Album: BTS – Map of the Soul: 7

K-Poppers don’t lift the soul so much as drain it

Map of the Soul:7 - songs for shopping

To anyone out of their teens or without a grasp of the Korean language, BTS are probably an unknown quantity. Yet, they are probably the most successful boyband, if not the most successful band, in the world. In fact, just as Abba had a massive effect on the Swedish economy in the 1970s, BTS are a game-changing economic asset and boost to South Korea. Whether they will be better remembered by music lovers or economists in years to come, however, will be interesting to see.

BTS are a seven-strong group of androgynous, Korean lads that look like clothes horses. However, a ten-year career has seen them make a king’s ransom from their music and merchandise sales, shifting mind-blowing units of their auto-tune fuelled, R&B brand of K-Pop, and this has made them 2020’s Men of the Moment in the Far East.

Map of the Soul: 7, BTS’s fourth Korean-language studio album (there’s also been three Japanese-language releases) doesn’t change the formula much. Indeed, the song-writing does seem to be incredibly formulaic, in a manner that is quite shockingly cynical in its obvious aims to extract as much money as possible from consumers, rather than to create anything of artistic merit. Indeed, if there’s one thing that characterises Map of the Soul:7, it’s its complete lack of soul. Ballads like “00:00 (Zero O’Clock)” lift from any number of similar songs to produce a bland platform that is totally lacking in any substance of its own. “Interlude: Shadow”, is a vacuous R&B/hip hop mash-up that merely declares “I wanna be rich / I wanna be the king”, while “Make It Right” is bland, over-produced and unthreatening music that knows its audience and just goes for the wallet.

Some music can be completely transcendent, taking the listener out of their immediate surroundings. Map of the Soul: 7 seems to stop time, making the listener feel that they’ve been stuck with it for hours and hours, rather than just the 75-minute running time.

Whether BTS will be better remembered by music lovers or economists will be interesting to see


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