Even if you don’t listen to K-pop, you’ve probably heard of BTS before. Over the past few years, the K-pop genre as a whole has gained popularity in the U.S. but BTS, otherwise known as Bangtan Boys, especially stands out for their overwhelming success worldwide. Their newest album Map of the Soul: 7, which came out February 21, showcases just how much growth they’ve experienced since their conception in 2010.
Out for just a month, the success of Map of the Soul: 7 is staggering. It is already the best selling album of the year worldwide. In this day and age when people don’t really buy physical copies of music much, it sold 4.02 million global preorders. Additionally, they sold almost 2.2 million copies the first two hours of release just in South Korea.
It also managed to rise to No. 1 on iTunes’ top albums chart and the music video for “ON” Kinetic Manifesto Film: Come Prima netted over 77 million views on YouTube in just three days. The overwhelming success of the album isn’t surprising when considering what a dedicated and enthusiastic fan base they have.
According to the group leader RM in an interview with the Recording Academy, Map of the Soul: 7 is a continuation of their album Map of the Soul: Persona from 2014. While the past album focused more on the idea of outward persona, their newest album focuses on “shadow and ego,” as RM puts it.
When asked about the multitude of genres touched upon in their new album and what they plan to explore in the future, member Suga says that “it’s less and less meaningful to divide music into genres now” with other members jumping in to say “the genre is BTS” which is kind of a power move.
Variety puts it “although each of the group’s members… each get solo turns to shine here, their collective work is what stands out.” Besides being an album that showcases their own talents, both individually and as a unit, they also collaborated with artists such as Halsey on “Boy With Luv” and Sia on one version of their song “ON.”
I may not understand ninety percent of what they’re saying, but it still has a good vibe. As someone who used to listen to their music a few years ago and then fell off, the amount of growth both in terms of popularity and artistic ability is pretty impressive. From what they’ve said in interviews, I assume that in the future they will continue to develop their style and collaborate with other popular musicians.