Serotonin for the Soul: A Review of “Map of the Soul: 7”

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BTS Members

Marjorie Blum

Ever since the fall of my junior year, I have been in absolute awe of the heartwarming, soul-touching, global sensation that is BTS. Through the various messages they send relating to loving oneself, speaking out against the ills of society and the importance of music’s ability to break boundaries, they quickly became my favorite artists of all time. I am continuously swept off of my feet with every release. On February 21, 2020, BTS released their newest full length album, Map of the Soul: 7. This album contains twenty tracks, the first five tracks coming off of a mini-album released last year, Map of the Soul: Persona. The fifteen new tracks flawlessly display the genre-crossing, foot-tapping, emotion-provoking nature that the band continuously brings out with every release

Instead of going in-depth with my feelings and reactions to every song on the album, I will only be reviewing the first five tracks that stuck out to me the most in my initial listening of the album.

ON Opening with a metallic synthesizer combined with vocal percussion overlaying the symphonic beats of the UCLA marching band, “ON” – the album’s title track – provides an optimistic and robust anthem. The lyrics of this song put a spin on various tracks found in their discography. In fact, “ON” is a reversal of one of their older songs, “N.O.” Perhaps the most iconic line in the chorus, “bring it, bring the pain,” discusses the idea of bringing on the pain because nothing comes easy, and you are not you without your suffering and triumphs. Combined with the group’s fierce, direct, and motivating vocals and tone, the lyrics of this song help to inspire the listener, and when the “rain be pourin’/sky keep fallin’  everyday,” you are still persevering over life’s challenges no matter what. This song leaves the listeners feeling empowered and galvanized, complemented with the unique melody and instrumental combination, creating an exemplary nostalgic anthem of progressing on with one’s life no matter what situation one may find themselves in.

Moon Sung by vocalist Kim Seokjin, “Moon” tells the story of the closeness and love between Seokjin and the fans. This is represented by a metaphor between the moon and Earth. Beginning with vocals reminiscing an unrequited call echoing in the noiseless outer space, the tranquil instrumentals are met with light and airy vocals detailing the story of the stand-alone Earth (the fans) and its co-dependent moon (Seokjin). He elaborates on this metaphor through transcendent lyrics like, “Your existence alone is shining/ You are my earth, and all I see is you / I will become your light, all for you.” In the chorus, Seokjin’s voice becomes direct and powerful as he sings about his never-ending love for his fans and how much he appreciates their support: “You gave me love and you became my reason / Do you know how beautiful your existence is.” Overall, “Moon” is a celestial experience, and a song that never fails to make me smile and warm my heart.

Louder than bombs This song was co-written by Troye Sivan. It begins with an alluring vibe, manifested as the four main vocalists trade off lines in the first verse. The sultry vocals are met with fervently delivered instrumentals, as the song takes the listener on a journey of mystery and self-discovery. The rap-line takes the next verse paired with mystifying instrumentals, reflecting on their career and its advantages and disadvantages, and how they combat them. “Louder than bombs, I sing” is a line continuously repeated, showcasing how hard they have worked to get where they are, and how they are continuously pushing every day to be the best they can be for themselves and for their fans.

Filter-Sung by vocalist Park Jimin, “Filter” disputes the idea of self-image, and changing yourself to fit a mold created by someone else. Brought out by fierce vocals, Jimin croons to the listener about creating a filter for him to fit — and an image for him to fulfill. Towards the end of the song Jimin sings, “The more you look, the cuter I am, like crazy/ Overcoming different tastes and standards/You’ll be wanting only me.” This is because whoever he is singing to has crafted a perfect image of him in their heads. Jimin’s radiant and dreamlike yet assertive and compelling vocals take over the song and hypnotize the listener.

 00:00 (Zero O’Clock)From the first listen, “Zero O’Clock”  immediately became my favorite song from the album. Beginning with soft instrumentals and passionate vocals, the first line of the song, “You know those days when you’re sad for no reason” immediately conspire to comfort the listener. This song details a beautiful affirmation relating to overcoming obstacles in life, and the idea that tomorrow is a new day and it all refreshes at midnight. At the same time, this song pushes forth the message of the idea that it is okay not to be okay, but to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel. The line “and you gonna be happy” repeats throughout the song as if that line is personified as a warm blanket wrapping around the listener to comfort them. Overall, “Zero O’Clock” is everything I could have ever wanted in a song. From the alleviating melody, to the consoling vocals, and the lyrics that bring solace to the listener, “Zero O’Clock” is my favorite song off of the album, and dare I say, has become one of my all-time favorite songs.