|BTS members pose during a media conference for their latest album "BE (Deluxe Edition)" at Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, Friday. / Yonhap|
By Dong Sun-hwa
"Spring always comes after winter." This is the core message K-pop behemoth BTS wants to deliver to everyone struggling with the coronavirus pandemic through its latest album "BE (Deluxe Edition)," released on Friday.
This summer, the seven-piece act made an attempt to inspirit the public with its disco pop single "Dynamite," a song that had a similar message and yet the protracted pandemic still shows no signs of abating.
"'Dynamite' was uplifting, but 'BE' holds more emotional weight. Nevertheless, they basically come from the same root and aim to bring solace to people going through tough times," front man RM said during a press conference at Dongdaemun Design Plaza (DDP) in Seoul, Friday. Rapper Suga, who has been taking a break following recent shoulder surgery, could not join the event.
"When working on music, we always think about what we should say or do right now and reflect this on our songs. This time, we wanted to highlight that our life continues to flow regardless of what is happening outside."
This can be clearly seen from the title of "BE"'s lead single ― "Life Goes On." The alternative hip-hop track centers on how BTS members feel about the current situation and how they cope with it.
"COVID-19 has put a hold on our activities and this baffled us at first," Jin said. "We frankly revealed our frustration through the album, but it does not only offer dark songs. It has upbeat tracks, too."
"BE" also contains B-sides including the neo-soul R&B "Fly To My Room," the acoustic "Blue & Grey," the easy-listening "Dis-ease," the retro-flavored "Telepathy," "the future house "Stay" and "Dynamite," which topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It also includes "Skit," a recording of the septet's voices on the day they learned that "Dynamite" had reigned atop the Billboard in September.
BTS members' active participation in the album-making process is another factor that makes "BE" more meaningful. This time, the members' contributions were beyond making music. Jungkook, for instance, did his bit in filming the music video, while V took charge of the album's visual aspects; Jimin was a music project manager.
"I focused on displaying realism and sincerity," Jungkook said. "We missed our fans a lot and I tried to show this in the video."
V said, "It was my first time to make a PDF file for reference. I was nervous but was able to do this thanks to help from our members and followers."
Jimin said he collected the members' ideas on each track and shared them with officials from the band's label Big Hit Entertainment, working back and forth.
BTS also shared its work process on YouTube.
"We usually do not disclose our work procedure, but we did so this time to stay connected with our fans and make them feel like they were working together with us," RM said.
The members also expressed their ambition to win at the Grammys, one of the world's most prestigious music awards. Nominations for this year are scheduled to be announced Nov. 25 (KST).
"I hope BTS's name is on the nominee list," Jin said.
RM added, "We are nervously waiting for Nov. 25. On that day, we will not be able to sleep until the announcement is made."