BY MAEVE GRAY
2020’s biggest boy band has set new records once again with this comeback.
On Nov. 20, the Korean pop (K-pop) group, BTS, released their ninth studio album, Be. Similar to their previous album, Map of the Soul: 7, BTS tops the Billboard 200 chart once again, opening at number one for the fifth time. Consisting of eight tracks, Be emphasizes the group’s pop status, serving as a melting pot for many genres such as hip hop, EDM, and disco.
Despite the cheerfulness and hype for the group's comeback, BTS "comes back" with another profound message for their fans. Their title track, Life Goes On, reflects upon the lives of those living in isolation under the current pandemic. With relatable lyrics and a memorable music video, the band takes it to another level to connect spiritually with their fans.
At the start of the song, BTS describes how days go by fast, with lyrics such as “Like an echo in the forest, the day will come around as if nothing happened” and “Yeah, life goes on.” Within these lines, BTS expresses how life under the pandemic seems to be passing by, and we are just in a state of inertia—with no progress. As many citizens are losing their jobs due to COVID-19, BTS wanted to produce a piece that would provide comfort to people in stress. As a result, their lyrics describe many of their predicaments they have been facing under the pandemic. Serving as a symbol of his experiences within isolation, RM talks about how he is forced to reminisce about his "dust-covered" past due to the current world's dormant state. Near the end, he states he is "dancing off-beat," indicating the pandemic made him out-of-touch, something a lot of us can relate to.
Furthermore, the official music video is complementary to the comforting mood of the song itself. The video includes many scenes viewers can relate to, like V driving with a mask on and everyone playing video games while staying home. There are also clips of the members reminiscing the fun memories they made before the pandemic to show how people are missing their friends and loved ones. Despite the warm palette of the video at first glance, the situation with each member essentially being locked behind windows and doors creates a rather monotonous atmosphere. With such a contrast from their colorful or dark music videos, it conveys their overarching message that days under quarantine might be dull, but "life goes on" anyway.
At the end of the video, the members are sitting in a large stadium with no audience, singing the rest of the song. While the emptiness of the stadium could represent how the group feels lonely without their fans, the smile upon their faces showcases a different story. Instead of wallowing away time inside, they tell fans to look forward to the future beyond the pandemic. With the members singing in harmony as one, the group hints at their plans for an end of the year performance.
Essentially, BTS’s heartfelt message is due to the fact that they had a large role in the production of the video. Specifically, the youngest member, Jungkook, was the acting director. For many scenes, he was recording videos of the other members participating in their daily activities, such as eating, reading and playing their instruments. With many of the scenes, the directed video showcases the band living their lives like normal people. It is a video that audience members can relate to since everyone is affected by these current circumstances.
Compared to the past, this is not the first time BTS has incorporated strong messages into their songs. In their previous title track, Dynamite, BTS used disco-like and fun music to help lift the atmosphere for their fans. As extremely popular artists, the group strives to touch upon themes like mental health and stress. At this time, they emphasize the importance of comfort and perseverance through these troubling times.
As fans await what BTS will do next, all of our lives will go on.