Charting BTS’s Map of the Soul: Persona

Charting BTS’s Map of the Soul: Persona

The new album from BTS is poised to simultaneously topple charts and fans' hearts.

The new album from BTS is poised to simultaneously topple charts and fans' hearts.

Text: Julian Wright

7 boys, 7 songs and a few high-profile features. That’s Map of the Soul: Persona in a nutshell, the newest album released from K-pop supergroup BTS. But with a closer listen, one notices a lot to unpack from this collection of songs.

Dropped on April 12th 2019, Map of the Soul: Persona is an exploration into self-discovery. Milling through various moments of emotion, the album focuses on love and loyalty, which BTS dedicates to their fanbase, ARMY. Though its lyrical content is unbounded, Map of the Soul: Persona sonically maintains a sweet, lighter style of pop, consistent with the boyband’s sound in previous bodies of work. With the exception of “Dionysus”, a darker rap-based track centering around drunken rowdiness, the album remains tender and heartfelt, featuring heavy bass and airy synths.

The quintessential track for Map of the Soul: Persona is “Boy With Luv”. Featuring pop darling Halsey, “Boy With Luv” is pure bubblegum fun, plucking through twangy guitars and a symphony of floating strings. Its thesis is simple: these boys love their fans as much as their fans love them. The band proves their requital with lines like, “You got me high so fast/I want to be with you for everything.” We see similar dives into the notion of love in “Make It Right”, containing the album’s other notable feature, Ed Sheeran. “Make It Right”, a song about finding strength in love through struggle, is another foray into chart-friendly pop. Though not detailed on the track list, Sheeran offered backing vocals and helped pen the song, which features a dance vibe and brassy choruses.

Released at 6 p.m. KST (or 2 a.m. PST and 5 a.m. EST), Map of the Soul: Persona is proof of BTS’s international stardom. Despite the American late-night drop, the album still dominated social media trending pages and is expected to crush international charts worldwide. Musically, it’s nothing new for longtime fans – Jimin’s high falsetto and RM’s speedy raps are still focal points for the group’s sound. But Map of the Soul: Persona charts new territory for BTS: a mainstream release with music fit for ubiquitous consumption.

You can watch the video to BTS’s “Boy With Luv”, featuring Halsey, below.

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