Social media platforms and its users were buzzing when BTS released the trailer of Intro: Persona in preparation for the release of their upcoming album Map of the Soul: Persona on 12th April 2019. Fans have flocked together in support for the first song of the anticipated album, racking up 25 million views and counting on YouTube in just less than 2 weeks.
Along with the album release, the music video for the second track “Boy With Luv” featuring Halsey was released on that day. The music video made YouTube history as the platform’s biggest ever first-day debut from a music video. As of 18th April 2019, the music video has been recognized by the Guinness World Records organization for setting three world records. In a statement released by Guinness World Records today, “Boy With Luv” is said to have achieved the titles of “most viewed YouTube video in 24 hours,” “most viewed YouTube music video in 24 hours,” and “most viewed YouTube music video in 24 hours by a K-pop group.” The video garnered 74.6 million views on the video streaming platform within the first day of its release.
During the band’s global press conference in Korea held for their album, they explain the new era of BTS that Map of the Soul: Persona</I. represented. Kim Namjoon (also known as RM) said, “We have been talking about how loving ourselves is the beginning of true love. Now, we want to talk about the strength that brought us here, its source and its shadow too, and the tomorrow we need to face through our strength. We wanted to speak about love, which is the power that lifted us up until this point.”
During their press conference, the band members addressed their inspiration behind the tracks:
1. Intro: Persona
“Intro: Persona”, the trailer showcased RM singing about dealing with life in the spotlight as well as his own personal journey to find out who he is, amidst what the world tries to tells him. In explaining his personal track, he mentioned how he asks himself the question of “who am I?” and talk about the process of how we journey towards our true selves from the person we have known our whole life into the person we are meant to be or shape ourselves into.
This track also brought old-school BTS vibes, and it was no wonder that this was an outcome of sampled beats from their 2014 album Skool Luv Affair.
2. (Boy With Luv) featuring Halsey
When I first saw the title of this track, I’ll be very honest – I thought it was a remake of their 2014 single “Boy In Luv.” It was only after listening over the songs once more did I realize they were too different to be the same song! However, I was not wrong that the two tracks of “Boy With Luv” and “Boy In Luv” shared a connection.
The boyband explained that “Boy In Luv” talked about young love, but now ‘Boy With Luv’ is on how true strength and love come from finding joy in the small things in life. The South Korean boyband started from a small company and had to all share a dorm room for all 7 members in the beginning, and they have since been on a long ride filled with ups and downs to get to where they are today. The motivation behind this track was their reflection of where and how they all began on their journey together, and the support and strength they receive throughout the process.
“Mikrokosmos” translates into “microcosm” from Greek. In explaining the backstory of the track, band member J-Hope described it as the lyrics being about their interest and love for the world and people around them. “You see buildings with their lights on late at night and that’s someone working hard at something,” he continued. “Each one of those lights is what gives us these beautiful night time city views. The song is about giving courage and comfort to those people.”
4. Make It Right
This track was the highly anticipated collaboration with Ed Sheeran, in which he wrote the song for the band. Band members RM, Suga, and J-Hope chipped in with lyrics for their raps, along with a chorus credit for Jungkook. Dissecting the lyrics of this song, it seems to be a serenade to the people who the boys will always hold a special place in their hearts for, and how they are motivated to taking time to bettering themselves and to always find their way back to their love.
J-Hope explained the backstory of “Home”, and this track was written with their fans in mind. “The moment we meet our ARMYs [BTS fans] who know us and love us is like coming home and feeling all its warmth and comfort,” J-Hope said during their press conference. The members equate where they feel home to their fans and where their hearts truly are. They see home as where they come running to when times get difficult and when loneliness seeps through. The boyband were always vocal about their gratitude for the strength they get from the people who love them and their art, and this motivates them to go to greater heights each time to be able to give back greater for all the love they have received.
6. Jamais Vu
“Jamais Vu” translates from French to mean “never seen”, and it is a psychological term for a phenomenon opposite of déjà vu. According to Merriam Webster, “Jamais Vu” is a disorder of memory characterized by the illusion that the familiar is being encountered for the first time. Simply put, experiencing something for the first time even though you have gone through it before. The backstory behind this song centers on the message to not give up despite there being unintentional mistakes and setbacks in life. Let us keep getting up and keep on going, even when the going gets tough!
The album’s final track “Dionysus” is a reference to Greek mythology. Dionysus — the son of the god Zeus and mortal Semele — is a demigod “of fruitfulness and vegetation, especially known as a god of wine and ecstasy.” The tone of the song is reminiscent of old-school BTS-style hip hop, as though we had a quick glimpse back to their debut days. This track song talks about both the joy and the pain of creating something. The boyband were always eager to know about their ARMY’s reactions to their music, and expressed how happy they are to be able to communicate with people around the world through doing what they love.
Map of the Soul: Persona seems to be a very thought-provoking album challenging us to be able to “find the true path within ourselves”, to be unafraid to discover who we are time and time again as we grow through the many stages in our lives.
BTS has not only made a name for themselves in their home country of South Korea, but they have slowly taken the world by storm by inspiring fans across the globe to truly question the meaning of self-love, self-care, and truly speaking themselves.
Their newest album talks about the strength they gain from the love the fans have shown them. In the process, the members of the boy band have embarked on their own journey to know more about themselves and the world through the power of love.