Dec 21, 2015

BTS' "The Most Beautiful Moment In Life Pt.2"

About half a year ago BTS released the very first part of this two-part album project that would be their main focus during 2015. A series of two mini albums and singles with the focus on "youth" and the ups and downs of being young in today's society. It's a topic this group have touched on before in many of their songs, but this time they decided to take it to the next level with both of these two mini albums as well as movie-like music videos for the lead singles "I Need U" and "Run". Personally I have been loving this idea both in theory and practice, and although I really liked "The Most Beautiful Moment In Life Pt. 1" I must say this second part is even better.

The album opens up with an intro called "Never Mind", and it's a rap piece performed mainly by Suga (as with the one on the previous album) but also by Rap Monster and J-Hope. Again we have an intro that I would have loved to see being made into a full song because it's just that good, and it's starting to become a trend for this group to have intros that I wish would have been longer. This two-minute track is about the journey from the basement to the stage, as Suga raps about his years as a teenager and how he fought and struggled with achieving his dreams. It's aggressive, emotional and powerful, and the message is clear; do what you want with your life and keep on pushing even when it gets hard.

The next song is the title track "Run", which I've already written shortly about in my MV review, and if you read that you'll know I'm in love with this song. Of course it's going to be compared to "I Need U" because the two are so closely connected and are part of the same tale, but they two songs are quite different despite the similarities. When I first heard "I Need U" I was surprised because it sounded nothing like any song this group had done before, as it mixed hip-hop beats with trap elements, creating a fusion of different genres in a very impressive way.

"Run" is similar in that sense, but it's a much more upbeat song and a lot more cheerful and free-spirited than the former one which was quite dark and melancholic. "Run" also sounds a lot more like a regular pop track but with both electronica and rock influences as well as a more vocally oriented line distribution, and the beat is also both harder and faster.

In fact, the instrumental in itself is just brilliant, and I love, love, love the chord progression in the chorus as it has that kind of emotional drive that makes you feel moved and affected even without fully understanding the lyrics. Speaking of, the lyrics themselves are equally touching as the members sing and rap about never giving up, whether it'd be love or any other aspect of life, and keep on running even if you fall down sometimes. Almost all the boys were involved in making the song as well so you can feel that is comes from the heart, and it definitely fits the aspect of the struggling but hopeful youth. Overall I think the track is one of their best ones to date, and as a title it fits perfectly.

The following song is called "Butterfly", and it might be the most beautiful song this group has ever done. Its innocence, purity and vulnerability is breathtaking and heartbreaking, as the members sing about being scared about losing the one they love, like a butterfly flying away from them. They're so in love they can't believe how lucky they are, and all the want is for time to stop so that nothing can change. The pain and fear penetrates both the vocals and rapping, who by the way are fantastic, and the group's four vocalists really shine in this song.Jungkook sounds flawless as usual, but V is especially impressive here with his raspy vocals.

Musically this track is nothing but gorgeous as well, as it opens with only guitar but builds up and grows with more layers of violins, synths and percussion beats. The chorus and the post-chorus are definitely the high points, as the chord progression is stunning and emotional and along with the soothing falsetto vocals added by the vocalists it feels like you're floating on feathers listening to it. I'm so happy a song like this exists, and although I knew this group was great with doing slower tracks before I could never image they would put out something as spectacular as this.

"Whalien 52" is the following track, and already at the title you might stop for a second and wonder what this song could be about. When reading the lyrics though, it all becomes quite clear. It's based on the real-life 52-hertz-whale, that sends out a frequency of 52 hertz, but it's believed there's only one left of its species today so it's received the nickname "world's loneliest whale". It's incredibly sad, of course, and thus this BTS song becomes quite sorrowful as well. They sing and rap about feeling like this whale, lonely and failing to reach out to others when they want nothing more than that. On the contrary though, this song doesn't sound very sad at all.

It has that kind of light, old-school hip-hop feel to it, and it's very chill and laid-back. The sound of the backing track is pretty familiar at this point because BTS has B-sides that sounds similar to this one, and the same thing goes with the relaxed vocals and rapping. Although the song is catchy and the concept for it is fresh and unique it feels like I've heard this exact same song before because it's such a familiar sound, and thus it unfortunately becomes less interesting to listen to, making it my least favorite song on the album.

A new and different sound however is heard in "Ma City", which is the next track. It's definitely more on the retro side with a funky sound that hasn't been used much by this group before. Groovy electric guitars, bass and a quick drum pattern makes this song a real pleasant listen, and it makes me happy to hear that Suga was the main guy behind this track because I've really liked all of his productions so far. The vibe of the song is pretty easy-going and it's fun to jam along to, and here we also have a song that is more rap-focused as the three rappers take all the verses whereas the vocalists have to split the chorus among themselves.

Lyrically the track is somewhat of a throwback, or more a retake, of their "Satoori Rap" back in 2013, as the members are confessing their love for their cities in their respective dialects but in less of a "battle" format. We have the Busan boys, Jimin and Jungkook, the Daegu narratives V and Suga, Gwangju-born J-Hope and Jin and Rap Monster who hail from the Seoul area. All of them are gushing about how their city is the best and how you should come to theirs for the best experience, and at the end of the song all you want is to visit all of them.

Thereafter comes the skit, which this time is called "One Night In A Strange City", and I'm not going into that because it isn't a song, but it's cute nonetheless and it's such great fanservice which I have to love them for. The actual song that comes next is called "Silver Spoon", but it has other alternative titles like "Crow-tit" and "Parrot Bill". The actual Korean word, baebsae, means crow tit which is actually a bird, but the word is used in Korea as slang for someone who acts like someone they're not; a try-hard. This song was one that I reacted strongly to when I first heard it, and not in a good way, but now I absolutely love it.

Like, I'm obsessed with this track. If you were waiting for your strong, hard-hitting hip-hop jam of the album this is it, and it reminds me of some of their earlier title tracks like "No More Dream", "N.O" and also their many cyphers. It's possible this song was meant to be a cypher as well, but all the vocalists are indeed included in this rap-heavy track. The beat of "Silver Spoon" goes really hard and both the rapping and singing are strong and show absolutely no mercy, which fits the thought-provoking message of the track.

They are rapping and singing in a satirical way about today's society and the power struggle between the younger and older generations. I know not nearly enough about the subject to jump to any conclusions but they are likening themselves and their generation with crow tits, saying that that's what they're being called. Crow tits are supposedly known for wanting to imitate the bigger, more powerful stork by trying to spread their legs, and in this song the storks are represented by the seniors and people in power looking down at the ones below them. I think you have to know a whole lot more about the Korean society to fully understand this song, but it's clear that the members are not holding back their criticism and are not afraid to call out others. I suppose that's what I like about it so much, that apart from the crazy beat there is a message in there, and it's delivered with both confidence, sarcasm and complete lack of fear.

The next song also has many titles, like "Fallen Leaves" and "Dead Leaves", but it's "Autumn Leaves" that is the official English title so that's what I'm going to use. The other two might feel more correct though after reading the lyrics, because the song is essentially about comparing the sensation of a fading love to when the leaves fall during the autumn. The realization and acknowledgement of what's going on with their relationship is apparent, but also the denial that comes with it and wishing that things would be differently.

This song is also on the slower side, but it has a big, ethereal sound and a powerful dynamic structure that makes it everything but dreary. This one also has electronic samples and beats such as the percussion, especially the hi hat in the chorus, but also swelling synths and effects like water drops falling and echoed vocal layers. My absolute favorite part is the chorus because this is where it just explodes, and vocally I'm incredibly impressed by all the members' performances. Jimin and Jungkook both sound fantastic, and their harmonies are truly one of a kind.

After "Autumn Leaves" we've finally arrived at the last stop on this journey, and it is the outro of the album called "House Of Cards". This song is quite dark, I have to say, both musically and lyrically. It's about a relationship that's fragile and hurt, and bound to fall apart like a house of cards any second. It almost feels like as you're listening you're waiting for a time bomb to go off, because the song is incredibly dramatic and powerful but also vulnerable. Many fans have likened this song to The Weeknd's "Earned It", and I can definitely hear the similarities too.

The slow beat, use of various string instruments and a big, epic sound that almost feel like it could be a movie soundtrack (unsurprisingly that's exactly what "Earned It" is). "House Of Cards" might be even more dramatic though, with an even bigger orchestral sound and additions of more vocal layering and a more prominent use of the violins and bass. Like the rappers are in charge of the intro the vocalists take care of the outro, and in this one they all sound flawless. All of them are showing fantastic improvement, and the harmonies in particular between Jungkook and Jimin are stunning. I definitely wish this song could have been a full track instead of just an outro, but man is it the perfect way to end the album.

I'm realizing now that this post is quite the long one, but I honestly have so much to say about each and every song and that goes to show just how impressive this entire album is. BTS only jumps from clarity to clarity with every new album they release, but I'm willing to say this is their best one yet. The music is, for the absolute most part, original and unique with a variety of genres, but there's still a cohesiveness to it which has to be praised. There's something here for everyone, and that goes for the lyrics too. These boys are just incredibly skilled with their writing, and there's not a single song on here whose lyrics fail to impress me.

I guess the feeling this album leaves me with is pride, because I am so proud of these seven young men and their passion for the music they're creating. This entire project with these two mini albums have showed me just how talented and genuine they are, and also how much they've improved in all areas since their debut. It's therefore not so shocking that they've gained a huge fanbase already with most of the fans being young teenagers, because with this two-part release they have perfectly captured and embodied the concept of youth. Everything comes from the heart and you can hear it in every note and every line they deliver, and I don't think anyone who has listened to this album will come out of it feeling disappointed.

Highlights: "Run", "Butterfly", "Silver Spoon", "House Of Cards"
Least Favorite: "Whalien 52"

Total Score: 4,45/5

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