K-Pop is music from South Korea, which has grown hugely popular in recent times, showing a sort of rivalry for the western world with music from traditionally English speaking backgrounds. As the Asian century rolls on, many K-Pop bands have become hugely popular abroad. BTS is likely the most well known of all K-Pop bands right now. Let’s take some time to hear this album, and see if it has any longevity about it.
We begin with Intro : Persona which begins with some random singing, electrified sounds and some rather Korean rapping, but over a very good set of melodies and beats. This is really weird, mind you, but it is okay. Some guitar sounds are here as well. Overall, it is an interesting combination of music and rapping.
Next is Boy With Luv (Feat. Halsey) which has an interesting electronic introduction and has a combination of rapping/singing here. It is mostly in Korean, but really quite good. Although, yes, this is modern music, it is a good listen regardless, and is proof that music can cross boundaries and cultures. Very catchy and groovy. A very good piece of music.
Make It Right is much more subdued than the previous songs on this album. It is a good listen and is a nicely constructed pop song with piano. A good piece of music with some rapping in the middle of the piece. It is an unusual listen, but a very solid listening experience. If you are looking for something different, this is it. Very beautiful and catchy. A strong piece of music.
Jamais Vu comes next and sounds a lot like a contemporary mainstream piece of RnB in Korean. A very unique and moving piece to hear. Some of the choruses are sung in English, but the song sounds like an amazing ballad. Proof that you don’t need to pay 100% attention to the world of the U.S.A. to understand good music. This is really good. “Remedy” is chanted throughout the chorus here. Neat.
Next is Dionysus which starts off with a strange set of melodies, before going straight into another Rap sort of piece. It is well delivered and very interesting. This is surprisingly emotionally moving music, and the tracks here are well constructed and made. Good and enjoyable music. The second half has some surprises in it, so listen carefully.
Following is Interlude : Shadow which starts by sounding like a post-apocalyptic area before some backwards electronic melodies enter. Some rather aggressively mentioned English about life’s desires are mentioned here, before the track kick starts and some Korean rapping enters. This is really odd and interesting music. The rapping on this is rather unusual, but that is to be expected. Good song. It gets dark and freaky towards the end, and there is a rather discordant section of music towards the end. Wacky.
Black Swan begins with some processed guitar sounding parts before some cool beats and textures enter. It is a better track from this album, and it sounds very like modern music for the 2020s. This is quite good music, even though it is obviously made for a teenage audience. Still, it is very, very good. It sounds more like radio playing material than anything else though.
Filter comes next with a strange processed melody. It goes into a semi-Latin music groove that sounds very catchy and interesting. Most delivered in Korean, with touches of English, this is a good song, even if not a highlight here on this album.
Up next is My Time which is a more ballad-style piece that is typical Korean RnB. It is a better piece from this recording and sounds quite good. This is better than a lot of the contemporary U.S.A. music out there right now, and although some songs here are better than others, this is a quality listen so far. Nice to hear. A good Korean ballad. Some rather unusual harmonies are at the end here.
Following is Louder Than Bombs which starts with a very low end bassline, some drum clicks and some honestly beautiful singing here. A duet then ensues, and we hit K-Pop central here. It is requested to be played loud, but regardless of whatever volume you play it at, it is an exercise in low end theory. The combination of singing here is really good. Good to hear something a bit different here.
ON comes next and has a weird intro, before some slower, more interesting beats enter. This is not as good as what has come before but still is a good quality song. Sadly, despite these songs being good, they are not revolutionary outside of their own musical genre. Still, it’s worth hearing, even if it is contemporary music and a good glimpse into Korean culture itself.
UGH! begins with a gunshot sound and goes into a weird track that is heavily Rap based. It is an interesting listen for its seemingly dark territory. A really strange piece to hear, and definitely not the best song from this album. Weird and not really that wonderful. The lyricism here is pretty good, though, although it is in Korean.
After that is 00:00 (Zero O’Clock) which begins with some rather psychedelic sounds and a very good melody. It is a better piece to hear than the previous track and sounds like a better effort. An acoustic melody plays throughout, which is a nice twist. A good song that sounds well done, sounding more upbeat than some other songs on this album.
Following is Inner Child which begins with more acoustic guitar, and sounds like a very good start to a beautiful song. It sounds really top and is a great example of a beautiful Korean pop song, or K-Pop if you must. A better listen than you’d expect, and a good song. The combination of lead and backing vocals here are quite magical. The build-up towards the end is fantastic.
Friends is not the American sitcom. It has a counted intro, before launching into another very good song that sounds very wonderful, even though it is mainstream K-Pop. It is very catchy, and a good listening experience. Some quality instrumentation and singing are here. It is clearly 21st century Pop music and is nice to hear.
Moon begins with some unusual harmonies, before going straight into a simple Pop song that sounds like a good love song. It is a nicely constructed piece of Pop music and is quite captivating. A nice and good melodic listen, although very much entirely in Korean. Good song. The outro is nice, too.
Next is Respect begins with some scratching on different vocal samples, and we get told to put our hands in the air. The piece then launches into a contemporary Rap piece delivered in Korean. It has a low-end groove that is unmistakably noticeable and quite good. An interesting tune. Towards the end, some Korean talking finishes off the song.
After that is We Are Bulletproof : The Eternal which begins with a piano sound that is generated by keyboard, before some beautiful singing enters. It is a good song that sounds magnificent in any case, and is a very moving piece, even if you do not understand a word of Korean Hangul. A good song towards the end of this album, and sounds like a solid listen.
Outro : Ego has a spoken English word piece sampled, before going straight into an uptempo number that sounds really good. It sounds a lot like Spanish American music with horns included, and a similar melodic structure to that kind of music. A good listening experience towards the end of this album.
ON (Feat. Sia) comes last, and is a remix of the earlier song on this album. Not really necessary, but a strong finish to the album here regardless.
Okay, to be fair, this is contemporary Korean RnB. This means it is not as good as other kinds of music out there, Korean or otherwise. One can appreciate that this is a good, not great, album. Still, it definitely has its moments of listening here. It does sound horribly processed though, and need not be so.
Not quite there yet.