Music

BTS’s ‘Love Yourself 轉 Tear’: A Track-by-Track Analysis

Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’ is the third Korean studio album by South Korean boy band BTS. The album was released on May 18, 2018, by Big Hit Entertainment. This album is the second installment of the Love Yourself 起承転結 series. This album follows a darker concept than the first installment ‘Her’, as mentioned by the leader of BTS, Kim Namjoon. In this album, the members expose the complexity of love by touching upon the dark aspects of it.

This album included so many talented producers and songwriter’s working on multiple tracks including the likes of MNEK, Steve Aoki, DJ Swivel and so much more.

BTS shares eleven songs with us that explore different types of love in so many different ways. The songs in this album are part of a bigger picture, with some of them being related to the BTS universe which started with “HYYH: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life” era and continued through the Wings era and now into the Love Yourself era. There are multiple theories made by ARMY on how everything links and how it is all related to the other eras in terms of the visuals seen in the comeback trailers and the title track music videos and the lyrics.

This article will analyze the lyrics and the musicality of the song as well as hear from a few ARMY’s on what their thoughts and reactions were to a few songs on the album.

TRACK ONE: INTRO: SINGULARITY

Singularity is the comeback trailer for BTS’ third studio album as well as being the introduction to the second installment of the Love Yourself Series titled, ‘Tear’. The introduction of this album is sung by another member of the vocal line, Kim Taehyung. Singularity has a slow R&B feel to it. The electric guitar and drum bass in conjunction with Taehyung’s deep husky voice also gives the song an alternative R&B feeling. Taehyung has an incredible vocal range which is seen in his solo song, ‘Stigma’. However, in Singularity, we don’t hear much of that incredible vocal range. On the other hand, that vocal range that Taehyung possesses did not need to be shown in this song as it would’ve taken this song in another direction and wouldn’t have been able to convey the emotions that Taehyung does so effortlessly. The song was written by Kim Namjoon aka RM, leader of the group and apart of the Rap Line. It is very dark and complex just like the word ‘Singularity’ which has multiple meanings. There are multiple theories about this song and how it connects to the cinematic universe in BTS. In short, looking at a few lyrics of the song, they are related to the concealment of emotions/love as well as facing our loneliness and confronting our own emotions and being true to who we are as individuals. “Try to cover it // I don’t have a voice // Today I hear that sound again”. This could indicate trying to cover up your emotions which show your true self. He is unable to express his feelings or say the truth. There is a struggle in trying to communicate and explaining yourself which leads to being misunderstood. There is the fading in and out of his vocals in the song which in my opinion adds a haunting feeling to the song. In this track, Taehyung is able to encompass all emotions and passion by singing effortlessly and it was the perfect introduction before going straight into the title track, Fake Love.

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TRACK TWO: FAKE LOVE

Fake Love is the title track of this album and it is certainly something we have never heard from BTS. The setup and thought process that went into choosing the songs for the album and the way in which they structured the track list is incredibly important and makes a big difference when you listen to the album in order. Singularity being the introduction which set up the scene for us and laid the foundation. Fake Love coming in straight after made perfect sense. No time was wasted on BTS’s part as they went straight for the kill in this song. The song doesn’t follow the generic format of a song as well, starts with Taehyung singing the hook which flows into the chorus and then RM raps the first verse. Most artists wouldn’t layout a sing in this way because it essentially makes it harder for listeners to remember. Majority of songs written are in the format, ABABCB (A = verse, B = chorus, C = bridge or solo) and AABA (A = verse and B = bridge) as they are easy for listeners to remember. Fake Love defies what is seen as the ‘norm’ in songwriting. Without looking at the lyrics of this song, we still know that the story and message that BTS is telling us is so powerful. Fake Love is a testament to how versatile BTS is. One thing that is becoming clear through the music that BTS shares are that there is no one genre that can be fixated on BTS. They make music that they love and if that fits the hip-hop, pop, rock, Latin pop or jazz genre then so be it. Fake love encompasses a side to BTS we haven’t seen before and choosing this song as the title track was more than a job well done. In a recent interview with Liam McEwan & J-14 Magazine, RM says that the meaning of ‘Fake Love’ is, “If you don’t truly love yourself then it’s never going to last. It can between a person and a person but it could be between me and myself”

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TRACK THREE: 전하지 못한 진심 THE TRUTH UNTOLD W/ STEVE AOKI

La Città Di Smeraldo, the story behind the song. In short it’s about an ‘ugly’ man who wants a woman he can’t have due to his insecurities, and instead creates something beautiful just for Her, the smeraldo, a flower for Her to steal.

“What I can do is
To make a pretty flower
That resembles you
Blossom in this garden, in this world
Then breathe as the person you know
But I still want you
I still want you”

BTS depicts the story beautifully in the lyrics of this song, the emotion in the words ‘but I still want you’ delivered by Steve Aoki’s melody pulls at your heart and makes you feel the man’s sorrow absolutely. The vocal line has really shown their talent once again, each voice mixes together beautifully. It’s no wonder why The Truth Untold has become a fast favorite of many ARMYs (and non-fans). – Juann, 17, UK (@JuannRxx)

So many ARMY’s have named The Truth Untold, the vocal lines best song ever. When everyone saw that Steve Aoki was featured on this song, we expected it to be an upbeat song like Steve Aoki normally does as seen in MIC DROP. However, all expectations were thrown out the door. What’s so great about this song is that it focuses mainly on the vocals of the members of the vocal line. There is a piano being played but it’s so simplistic with only a few chords played. There’s no crazy melody within this song that takes the focus away from the vocals of Seokjin, Taehyung, Jungkook, and Jimin. The truth is untold with the vocal lines intense vocals full of emotion and passion.

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TRACK FOUR: 134340

134340 was a really unexpected song. The vibe of it was a new approach I think to BTS as well as the music industry. I felt like there were so many different genres incorporated in the song that it actually worked. Not only that but the meaning behind the song is also very touching. This is because they refer to Pluto which was deemed to no longer be a planet and just be known by the asteroid number, “134340”. They connected that to loving someone and longing for them but they’re not there. Throughout the song, the references in their lines all describe Pluto’s current state and somehow they connect it back to their goal of talking about loving someone from a distance. I feel like these kinds of songs are what stand out to me the most. They’ve done this in the past too, just like for Whalien 52. But all in all, I think it’s amazing how they can incorporate real-life things that are beyond them into their songs to convey such a deep meaning”. – Jenny, 18, USA (@fatjibooty)

TRACK FIVE: PARADISE

When I first listened to the album when it was first released. I declared this song and I’m sure other ARMY’s and listeners can agree. It is a certified bop. Despite it being a certified bop, the message that BTS is trying to get across is very important. As an International ARMY, my understanding of the lyrics is very minimal as I am not fluent in Korean. Sometimes for people who don’t understand the language, we get so caught up in how it sounds without actually understanding what the song is trying to get across to the listeners and the important message being conveyed. BTS is telling us that we don’t have to put pressure on ourselves and chase after a “dream” you maybe don’t really want because you think you need to. “Stop running for nothing, my friend”, If we realize it’s okay for us to stop running in the world’s rat race then we can just enjoy our lives as they are now and be happy at the moment.

“It’s okay to stop. It’s okay not to have a dream as long as you have moments of happiness.” If you feel afraid that you haven’t figured out your future yet, don’t be. Just do what makes you happy. That is the message that BTS is trying to get across, through this song that I’ve declared as a certified bop.

TRACK SIX: LOVE MAZE

Love Maze, a song deemed by Leader of BTS, RM as his favorite song on the album and there’s no surprise to that. Love Maze is about the BTS members not wanting to miss/lose hold of ARMY. The ones who give them love consistently and constantly with them through it all in this maze of life. Love is a difficult thing and can be complicated at times but at the end of the day, BTS tells ARMY’s through this song that, if they are all together, then they can overcome every obstacle that life puts between them. This song can be viewed as a portrayal of the relationship between the BTS members and ARMY’s. This song is about the boys reassuring ARMY’s, saying that it’s just between them and ARMY. Forget the haters and the outsiders. Everything that happens within this maze of life is between ARMY and BTS. “Let them be them, Let us be us, Love is a maze damn, But you is amazing yeah”. Life is a maze for all of us individually but also collectively as we’re all on this journey together.

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TRACK SEVEN: MAGIC SHOP

Magic Shop is a song written for ARMY’s produced by Main vocalist and Golden Maknae of the group, Jeon Jungkook. We see Jungkook’s personal music taste incorporated in this song. We hear touches of Pop and EDM within the song. Not only is it a song written for ARMY’s but for the members as well. The members talk about their struggles, how they feel sad as well and how they depend on the support of ARMY. Through this song, the members explain how they did not believe in themselves. They didn’t believe that they could achieve all the things that they’re achieving now. When they are in despair and want to give up, they saw ARMY, standing at the end of the cliff and there they made us their last reason, the reason to go on with everything. Despite all the hardships and tribulations, they went through, ARMY planted happiness in their world of despair. The lyrics, “You gave me the best of me, So you’ll give you the best of you // You found me, you saw something in me”  speak volumes to this. Not only do they change ARMY’s lives but ARMY’s change their lives. Without reading the lyric translations, if you don’t understand Korean, one is still able to get the feeling that this song is full of emotion and gives off an uplifting and motivating aura.

ARMY REACTION 

“Magic Shop, there is a certain familiarity to it and I can’t really put my finger on it, maybe hints of current music but with a really obvious BTS twist/touch. And given it’s a song written for the fans it makes the listening experience even more BLISSFUL especially with the complex yet heavenly vocals” – Yaser, 17, USA

TRACK EIGHT: AIRPLANE PT.2

This is the second part of Airplane which was featured on J-Hope’s mixtape, ‘Hope World’ released in March this year. No one expected Airplane pt. 2 to have such a different musical style to Airplane pt. 1 on Hope World and no one expected the musicality of this song to go into the Latin music genre. BTS took a different direction with incorporating the Latin pop into this song. ‘Airplane pt. 2’, although it still has an upbeat feel to the song, it incorporates a different side to what the public views as stereotypical Latin pop. The song is about the success that BTS has been able to achieve internationally, reflecting on an artist’s desire to succeed, and then flashes-forward a few years to relay how BTS is living nowadays, acting as traveling musicians, like mariachis, living out of hotel rooms.

TRACK NINE: ANPANMAN

Through this super upbeat song that gets everyone on their feet dancing and having a good time, a deeper message is conveyed. Anpanman is a popular Japanese children’s anime. Anpanman means “Bread Man”, and, the hero of the show is a cute superman character whose head is a bun. He can save starving children by letting them take a bite out of his head, which is also filled with red bean paste. However, although he’s making other people feel better, in doing so he becomes weak. So he returns to his base, which is a pastry shop owned by an old baker, who would bake a new head for Anpanman to replace his partly consumed head. “I’m a new generation Anpanman, I’m a new superhero Anpanman”

BTS use ‘Anpanman’ to explain that although they’re not superheroes, they can still be Anpanman to you, meaning despite them getting hurt protecting you, they will continue to do so and be your own hero. It’s about giving so much of yourself even though you have nothing else left. The effort in making the people you love smile is worth it even if you as an individual are empty inside.

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TRACK TEN: SO WHAT

So What is a song that immediately gives off good vibes and it’s all about enjoying your time as a youth and not stressing out. The heavy influence of EDM in this song fits right in with the lyrics, “ We are, We are, Young, Wild and Free”  The song expresses the feeling of rebellious behavior, tells the world it’s okay to break free and break a few rules every once in a while, it’s okay to be careless sometimes. This is a recurring theme seen in a few BTS songs such as ‘Adult Child’, ‘Epilogue: Young Forever’ and a few other songs. This song is about enjoying your time as you are. It’s important to enjoy your time as a youth. We all get carried away with thinking and stressing over our future and tend to forget what’s in front of us now. This song embodies youth perfectly and the heavy influence of EDM in this song speaks volume to what BTS is trying to get across. We are youth, we should enjoy our time as a youth. Sometimes it’s fine to just relax and be like, ‘So What’ to the world. There’s no harm done in that.

TRACK ELEVEN: OUTRO: TEAR

This is the perfect conclusion to the Love Yourself Tear album; with its eery start and hard-hitting emotional rap, it reminds you of the key message behind this album and the sadness and distress that it wants to portray. The album is all about realizing your love was fake and the heartache it brings to lose something, or someone so dear and I definitely feel that’s portrayed in this track.

As a song performed by the rap line of BTS, this song definitely stands out as it is not only a completely new style for them but also shows and an excellent display of their individual styles, while also demonstrating their proficiency and harmony as a team. We see the members step out of their comfort zones and hit us with probably their most emotional raps to date, and we even see members like Suga challenge vocals, at territory previously unseen.

All in all, Outro: Tear is very rightfully the outro to this album, as it leaves you overwhelmed, sensitive and emotionally vulnerable. – Han, 22, UK (@sugacraving)

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‘Love Yourself 轉 Tear’ is BTS’s third studio album and millions of ARMY’s and fans around the world are declaring this album as BTS’s best album from debut till now. This album incorporates everything that BTS is and more. When BTS first debuted in 2013, they were dubbed as being a hip-hop group and through the different eras and comebacks, we have seen BTS grow immensely in their music style. The variety of genres in this album show how versatile BTS are as musicians. This album has jazz, Latin pop, Rap, EDM etc. There’s something for every listener in this album. Not only did they provide millions of ARMY’s and fans around the world with songs that sound amazing but they provided us with songs that have an important message as well.

Click on the links below to find out more content about ‘Love Yourself 轉 Tear’

Spotify

Apple Music

FAKE LOVE Official MV

Intro: Singularity, Comeback Trailer

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