Map Of The Soul: Persona – BTS, Review:-

I had a hard time judging this album because, to do that, I need to be able to hear everything clearly, which I couldn’t, cause of the god-awful mixing. WTF is this atrocity. WHO did this & how did it get approved. They need to get fired. Have you no sense of levels, layers, & clarity? My ears actually hurt, this entire album is just noise. No matter how good a track is, it all amounts to nothing if the mixing sucks.

As for the overall sound of the album, this is not it. First of all, this is the most vocal heavy album of theirs, & it works against them. BTS has always been carried by their strong rap line, their sound depends largely upon them. Their vocal line is just not strong enough to carry an entire album. Second of all, the songs themselves, omg. BTS, what have you done! Here’s the thing, none of the songs are bad at all. The problem is that they are just not distinctive. This album is very generic western pop (with lyrics & album cover to match), made for the radio. Here, BTS has completely lost what characterized them (though Dionysus comes close to….what BTS used to be). These are not the kind of songs I expect, or want, from a group of their calibre & position. This also does not bode well for their future releases as this is the start of their new series, & each new series of theirs has heralded a new sound for them. I used to crib about their last series being a departure from their sound, but in hindsight, at least they still sounded like BTS, albeit more westernized. This one though? Not BTS at all. The company should have just given this album to NCT Dream or TXT instead.

A special shoutout to the MV version of Boy With Luv for being especially horrendous. WTF was that & just what did they do to Suga’s rap. Why is this whole thing so haphazard. I liked V’s solo song, Scenery, 100x more than this entire album.

13
10

    I normally disagree with you on most things Kale, but here I’m of a similar view (though I don’t hate it as much as you seem to). I think they needed more time with the production, or possibly even time to come up with better songs. Some of these songs should not have been on a BTS album.

    6
    0

    I agree this is probably their weakest album but I think they’ve reached a point in their career where they’ve earned the right to be experimental with their sound- I can see why people think this sound is a step back because it screams boyband pop music. Boy With Love is definitely bubblegum pop but it’s bubblegum pop done right IMO.

    7
    2

      This is on point christina! Thanks for bringing this perspective.

      1
      1

        Also maybe some of them have found love and their music is reflecting how much lighter and happier they are feeling

        1
        1

      I definitely agree they’ve reached a point where they can comfortably experiment. But whereas in the past, they’ve put their own spin to Western genres (think of “Save Me”‘s enchanting take on tropical house, “Fire” using trap to explosive effects), their recent music lacks that same blend of trendy and distinctive.

      It’s not even boyband pop music–pop music, whether in K-pop or the West, generally has very strong vocal lines and melodies. It’s with bubblegum pop that a lot of K-pop groups shine (think of Astro’s debut series, “Hide and Seek”, “Breathless”, and Seventeen’s title tracks, as well as SNSD’s “Gee”, amongst many other examples). BTS has also done a version of bubblegum pop excellently (“24/7=heaven” off Dark&Wild). In this album, though, there are a lot of future bass elements, but the overall production doesn’t pull it together, so it ends up sounding like a weak version of something The Chainsmokers or Ed Sheeran might release. And to top it off, the vocals are processed in a way that sound very tinny and unflattering.

      4
      1

        You made some solid points. I agree the vocals for this cd aren’t on par with their past releases- they seem to singing using that breathy technique Selena Gomez seems to prefer. Suga’s rap in Boy In Luv also seems to dip into mumble rap which is not my fave but don’t hate it either. Maybe BTS will surprise again with a whole new sound in the next album of this series

        1
        1

          That’s what I’m hoping, too. It’s worrying me that on top of leaning too closely into recent future bass trends, the production for this album is nowhere on par with previous ones (even though the LY albums had more future bass, “Euphoria” for instance was much better produced). Even though I love their sounds from HYYH and before best, I also like the surprises when they step out of their comfort zone, like when their solo tracks on Wings explored a range of genres.

          1
          0

    … lol I like NCT dream more than this album.

    3
    0

    I used to crib about their last series being a departure from their sound, but in hindsight, at least they still sounded like BTS, albeit more westernized.

    This. It’s my nightmare come true. It has been a trend in K-pop overall, this shift towards a generic American radio sound. K-pop has always been influenced by American music, but in the past, it used to have its own distinct take. What disappoints me is that BTS and their in-house producers have the resources and the skills to NOT cave in to trends, and yet they did.

    On first listen, I had the impression that the rap had quite a welcome, stronger presence compared to the LY albums. I don’t think this album is necessarily more vocal heavy, but the vocal melodies and verses are much weaker in composition, and the mixing/ over-processing is a nail in the coffin. You note rightly that the BTS vocalists aren’t the strongest of K-pop vocalists. But the true problem is that the album doesn’t work with the range or vocal qualities that they possess–I’ve seen better production make competent, though not strong, vocalists shine.

    6
    0