“Love Yourself – Her:” BTS’s K-pop hit

September 18 was a day that I was dreading. It meant my summer break was coming to an end and I would have to resume my busy schedule juggling assignments and college applications. However, when BTS dropped their latest comeback album “Love Yourself – Her” early that morning, it made my crack-of-dawn drive to Bellevue in traffic 100 times better.
For those who have never heard of BTS, they are a K-pop group from Seoul, South Korea specializing in pop, hip-hop and rap music. They were recently voted “Top Social Artist” at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards, a huge accomplishment for the group only four years after their debut. BTS stands for Bangtan Sonyeodan in Korean, which literally translates to English as Bulletproof Boy Scouts or Bangtan Boys. However, earlier this summer, the group rebranded themselves with a new logo and the official acronym now stands for Beyond the Scene in English. This has caused an uproar among their fan base, raising both positive and negative opinions, but that is an entirely different matter.
Leading up to “Love Yourself – Her’s” release, BTS revealed three trailers, all equally spectacular, which increased the hype surrounding the album. When the whole album was dropped along with the music video for their song “DNA,” the fan response was insane. The “DNA” music video was rated No. 1 on YouTube only a few hours after its release and got over 20 million views on the first day, the most views any K-pop music video has ever gotten in the first 24 hours. BTS also dominates the iTunes top charts for K-pop with numerous songs in the top 100 and eight out of nine of the tracks from “Love Yourself – Her” ranking in the top ten.
There’s no doubt that BTS and their new album “Love Yourself – Her” are insanely popular. But the real question to be asked is: Is their music actually good? My answer would be definitely. BTS puts a ton of work into their music, and it absolutely shows. From the song lyrics to the music video choreography, everything is planned out in immense detail. Their most popular song on the new album “DNA” is upbeat and traditionally “K-pop” with a mix of more western EDM elements. The perfect word I would use to describe it is a true “bop.” I’ve been listening to the album on repeat for over two weeks and it still amazes me that I’m not tired of the same songs yet. “Love Yourself – Her” is surprisingly unique and interesting, something quite unlike anything I’ve listened to before in the pop genre.
The first time I watched their “DNA” music video I was focused just on listening to the song and preoccupied with absorbing the visuals. Now that I’ve watched it numerous times and payed close attention to the little details, I catch things I didn’t notice before, which really adds to its complexity. BTS is genuinely a talented group with amazing vocals and taste in music. And their fan involvement and active social media presence just further proves that BTS is a hardworking group that deserves to be where they are today.
There are nine tracks on “Love Yourself – Her.” The intro track “Serendipity” a solo with vocals by Park Jimin shows the group’s sweet side and is more laid-back compared to the rest of the album. Tracks two through five – “DNA,” “Best of Me,” “dimple” and “Pied Piper,” respectively – are energetic and would definitely fall into the category of pop. Track six is a recording of their Billboard Music Award acceptance speech, something that die-hard fans will appreciate. And the final three tracks – “Mic Drop,” “Go Go” and the outro “Her” – are rap songs which act as an interesting juxtaposition and break from the traditionally K-pop songs that come at the beginning of the album.
Personally, I think “Love Yourself – Her” is the best album BTS has released thus far, which is quite impressive considering their previous works. “Love Yourself – Her” is a great way to keep the summer party going and will definitely help me get through the shorter days and colder weather as we transition to winter.