BTS “BE (Deluxe Edition)”
The most exciting time of the year in K-Pop is during comeback season. This “season” doesn’t have a specific time, as many artists have their comeback at whatever month is most convenient for them. However, you’ll find—if you listen to many different K-Pop artists—that there’s usually a time of the year where they all release a new album. Usually this is during spring and during fall. One of the most anticipated comebacks for the end of 2020—at least, for me—was BTS’ “BE (Deluxe Edition)” album.
“BE (Deluxe Edition)” was released just a few days ago, November 20th. This album was highly anticipated throughout BTS’ fandom, ARMY, and throughout the rest of the world after their popularity from “Dynamite.” From the various mentions of their upcoming album over the summer, ARMY gathered that this album would be different. That this album would be more special than any other album this group has released. And they were right.
I’ve been an ARMY for about five years now. I found my way to BTS after their release of “I Need U” in May of 2015 and before their release of “Run” in November of 2015. (I can’t believe it’s been that long already…) And I can honestly tell you that every comeback still feels like the first one. The whole day leading up to the release of the music video, I find myself nervously refreshing their Twitter… their YouTube channel… anything that might suddenly pop up and alert me of the newest release.
The only thing I have to say about this comeback, before I get into the actual review, is that I was not prepared for it.
What Makes BTS’ “BE (Deluxe Edition)” Album Different from their Past Albums
Compared to BTS’ past albums, the group was far more involved with the process this time around. Each member took on different responsibilities and roles in making the album.
Jimin took on the role of project manager, where he basically was the messenger between staffs and the members. V was the visual director, taking care of the members’ individual styles for this comeback. Jungkook was the director for their newly released music video “Life Goes On.” Suga and J-Hope were both production coordinators. And RM was in charge of the album design. There was no exact mention of what role Jin took on, but I’m sure he did it perfectly.
It’s also worth mentioning that, if you take a look at the people credited with making each song, you’ll notice more members were involved with the actual creation of these songs. Which, if we’re being honest, is pretty darn cool to see. I never felt more proud to be an ARMY then when I saw each member branching out and trying something new. They all seemed so proud to have a hand in this process, and it truly shows.
First Impression for Each Song on BTS’ “BE (Deluxe Edition)”
When listening to an album for the first time, it brings a combination of new emotions and thoughts. It brings feelings and it brings memories and it brings life. Especially an album that is made with as much care as this one.
In about one sentence (or, more so, a few words that may or may not form a sentence), I will give you my first impression for each song. These impressions are from before I looked at translations for the lyrics, so these are my honest first impressions.
1. “Life Goes On”
Screenshot from “Life Goes On” Official MV
Emotional. A melancholic acceptance of what life is at this moment. But hopeful for things to just keep on going. A warm blanket being wrapped around you.
2. “내 방을 여행하는 법 (Fly to My Room)”
The feeling I got from this song: the feeling of dancing around your room by yourself when it’s raining outside. The happy, floaty feeling that comes with this. I’m not sure if this makes sense, but it’s the feeling I got.
3. “Blue & Grey”
Emotional, a heavy weight that sits on you. “I just wanna be happier.”
Precious, a personal moment that BTS shared with us. I couldn’t have been prouder.
5. “잠시 (Telepathy)”
A bit funky. A feel-good song that makes you want to get up and jump around.
6. “병 (Dis-ease)”
J-Hooooooooooooooooooooooope! (If you get the reference, amazing. If you don’t, no worries, just look up “Suga screaming J-Hope”) A bit sassy feeling. It reminds me of their older sound but more mature.
A youthful feeling, being surrounded by the ones you love.
Honestly… it’s been so long since I first heard “Dynamite,” so I’m not sure what my first impression was other than: WHAT?! (In the best way possible, I promise.)
The Entire Album
This album was comforting. It’s an album to listen to when things get tough or when we need a little reminder that there are others with us.
A More In-Depth Look at Each Song from BTS’ “BE (Deluxe Edition)”
Honestly, from the moment I first listened to this album, I had chills. The sound was vastly different from what I expected it to be, but it was still just as powerful. BTS took on a challenge with involving themselves throughout more of the album’s process and they truly excelled for it.
This album encompasses the message they have been sharing with ARMY the entire time during this difficult year. “Yes, it’s been hard. But we can get through it. We love you.” Further, this album was for BTS as well. They’ve mentioned multiple times that this album is closer to them—in terms of emotions and thoughts during this difficult time. So, truly, this album is probably just as much as a comfort for them as it is for ARMY.
1. “Life Goes On”
“Life Goes On” is the title tack for BTS’ “BE (Deluxe Edition)” album. This song, accompanied with a video directed by member Jungkook, directly addresses the struggle that the world is going through because of COVID-19 at this moment. It’s a calming tune that has a steady beat and a softer guitar sound to back the group’s emotional voices.
The opening lyrics translate to: “One day the world stopped without any warning. Spring didn’t know to wait, showed up not even a minute late.” (Lyrics from Big Hit Labels “Life Goes On” Official MV)
These lyrics, though true, sit heavy on everyone. The world had shut down so quickly as the virus started to spread that we hardly could understand it. And referencing spring brought the reality of the situation we faced. Time was moving, but we were not.
This song gets a little bit more comforting when the pre-chorus starts. The lyrics being: “There’s no end in sight. Is there a way out? My feet refuse to move, oh. Close your eyes for a moment, hold my hand. To the future, let’s run away.” (Lyrics from Big Hit Labels “Life Goes On Official MV)
This comfort only continues on into the chorus, as the members sing about the world being there even after this all ends. “Like an echo in the forest, the day will come back around as if nothing happened. Yeah, life goes on. Like an arrow in the blue sky, another day flying by. On my pillow, on my table. Yeah, life goes on like this again.” (Lyrics from Big Hit Labels “Life Goes On Official MV)
2. “내 방을 여행하는 법 (Fly to My Room)”
“Fly to My Room” is a unit track on the “BE (Deluxe Edition)” album featuring members Jimin, V, Suga, and J-Hope. This track continues the theme of melancholic acceptance of the way life is now, backed with a more upbeat and consistent backing track. The track itself is really nice to listen to. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a song that makes you want to just dance around your room. However, the lyrics and meaning behind the song are a bit more sad than that.
The song start off with Jimin and V’s soft vocals singing part of the chorus to draw us in. When the first verse comes in, we truly see the sadness that the lyrics portray. “Every day, it’s so frustrating, it’s driving me crazy. Feel like it’s still day one, somebody turn back the clock, the entire year got stolen, I’m still in bed.” (Lyrics from genius.com)
These lyrics really hit deep for a lot of people. We all, at some point, have felt this frustration and sadness that came from being stuck in our houses for so long. And, sometimes, we ended up doing nothing but laying in bed because of this. The way the world was upset us so much that we couldn’t do anything.
By writing a song about flying to our rooms—a place we have all been encased for the past year—it brings about the journey we went through to feel okay within our own small spaces. And, by the end of the song, we’re more okay with being in our rooms. From Suga and J-Hope’s verse: “I just have to change my thoughts. This is a journey that only I can enjoy. Delivery food, fill it up with optimism, I’m full.” (Lyrics from genius.com)
3. “Blue & Grey”
“Blue & Grey” is an emotionally packed, acoustic guitar-filled song on the album that was written by member V. This song was highly anticipated throughout the fandom when they got word of the song being written by V. We don’t always get a song V wrote. But, when we do, it’s always impactful and meaningful. “Blue & Grey” is no different.
This song hits hard right off the bat with the lyrics “Where is my angel? The end of the day, someone come and save me, please.” (Lyrics from genius.com) The lyrics go on to depict the heavy weight that depression/sadness can hold on you. The visual representation of depression/sadness as the colors blue and gray is very familiar for a lot of people. Many were able to relate to this song by that association alone, before even knowing what the lyrics were about.
The lyrics that hit me the most while listening to this song was the first line of the chorus: “I just wanna be happier.” This line holds so much impact that I couldn’t possibly explain it well enough. But I’ll try. This line is sad by nature, but it’s also something that emits acceptance for our own sadness. It’s almost a reservedness, a resigned line that knows that we aren’t exactly happy. But we want to be. We just don’t know how.
“Skit” on BTS’ “BE (Deluxe Edition)” album is an audio recording of the members talking about achieving number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with their song “Dynamite.” BTS has done many skits in the past, but it’s been awhile since we’ve seen one on an album.
These skits are always powerful in an album because they allow us, the fandom and the world, to see what they were truly thinking and feeling at that time. Each skit is a moment of true importance that the members felt the need to share with us. This only makes the skit that much more precious and intimate.
The last skit I remember from their past albums was on their “Love Yourself: Her” album. This skit was a recording from when they first won the Top Social Artist Award at the 2017 Billboard Awards. The recording was RM’s speech from their acceptance speech at the award ceremony.
Both of these moments have been great leaps that the group has made throughout the music world. I hope that, in the future, we get many more skits.
5. “잠시 (Telepathy)”
“Telepathy” is a funky tune that brings the mood up a bit more in the album. However, if you look into the lyrics, you’ll see that there’s more frustration and a longing for what used to be. The members mentioned a few different times that this song was written out of their frustration of not being able to meet their fans. Recently, Suga even mentioned that this tune was something he had lying around—something that he considered throwing out, but was able to bring back because the members enjoyed it a lot. (From BTS’ V-Live titled: “BTS ‘Live Goes On’”)
The lyrics paint an image of what meeting again would look like. With images of being at the blue sea or an island, it brings almost a beautiful feeling to this song. The backing music, being such a bouncy sound, brings the song to a more upbeat feeling. So, even as the members sing about missing people, we can dance along.
Overall, I feel that “Telepathy” is one of the more different sounds that BTS has written. (It’s still amazing, though.) Even if it’s closer to the disco sound of “Dynamite,” this song is in a league of it’s own. I think we—you and the rest of ARMY—can agree that we’re happy Suga didn’t throw this song out.
6. “병 (Dis-ease)”
“Dis-ease” is an old-school hip-hop song member J-Hope wrote. This song was also highly anticipated by ARMY because they were excited to see what producer J-Hope would bring next. This is because of the other powerhouse songs that J-Hope participated in—like “Dionysus,” “Ugh,” and many others. And let me tell you, J-Hope did not disappoint.
Though the lyrics talk about the “disease” that we all have, the beat that comes with the song is powerful and energizing. It makes you feel like you can do whatever you want, that you can get over this disease that is holding you down. It’s a song that you can find yourself listening to with your friends when you’re just having a fun time.
Even more than “Telepathy,” “Disease” is a far different sound on the entire album. This is the only song that truly adapts to the hip-hop sound. But it does it so well. The lyrics also talk about a little different theme than the rest of the album. Though it’s still a bit sad, the lyrics imply that J-Hope’s—and the members’—disease is their work. But, on the other hand, is also themselves because they are their work.
By the end of the song, it turns more uplifting, more accepting of this “disease” with the lyrics: “I’ll walk more like myself, woah. When night falls, I close my eyes. I wanna trust in the day you knew, now wake up one more time. It’s morning again, I have to take it today. Let’s go, one more night.” (Lyrics from genius.com)
“Stay” is another unit song on BTS “BE (Deluxe Edition)” album with members Jungkook, Jin, and RM. Jungkook previously mentioned that this song was going to be on his personal mixtape, but ended up fitting better with this album. (From BTS’ V-Live titled: “BTS ‘Live Goes On’”) So, after adding more Korean lyrics—as it was originally mostly in English—and then revamping it for BTS’ style, this song was added to the album.
This is a funky EDM song that is also about BTS missing their fans. The lyrics open up with: “Was it a dream? I think I saw you. When I open my eyes again the room’s empty.” (Lyrics from genius.com) The song truly explains how much the members wish to see ARMY again. And, despite its upbeat and beat controlling tune, the lyrics still bring heavy emotions with them.
The second verse brings more longing lyrics: “Can’t I see you? I put my hands together, tomorrow that does not change. Like a madman, I keep sayin’ wherever you are I know you always stay.” (Lyrics from genius.com) But this song is also comforting. Because it’s like they’re saying: “It’s sad that we can’t be there with you, but I know you’ll stay. I’ll stay, too. We’ll be together again one day.”
And, after going through this pandemic, that’s the reassurance that ARMY has needed.
“Dynamite” is one of BTS’ most successful songs on the Billboard Charts. This song, upon its release, received over 100 million views on YouTube in the first twenty-four hours and even reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week of September 5, 2020.
This song was released on August 20th, far before the release date of BTS’ “BE (Deluxe Edition)” album was even announced. As the members mentioned, this song is a disco-pop song that is specifically written to help bring joy to our lives. The members have mentioned how much they’ve wanted to bring positivity to the lives of their fans during this difficult time. And they’ve certainly outdone themselves with “Dynamite.”
Compared to the rest of the songs on the album, this song is fully in English. It’s the first song from BTS to do this. During a few interviews, when asked why they chose English, the group explains that the song sounded better this way. Produced by David Steward and Jessica Agombar, the boys received the song already in English and decided that English conveyed the feeling a lot better than any Korean they thought of.
Honestly, “Dynamite” is the best song to end this album. After going through all of the tough emotions that the group expressed, we needed the uplifting and joyful feeling that this song brings. And, even though it’s been two months since its release, the song still brings a smile to my face. So… mission accomplished BTS.
Go Check Out BTS’ “BE (Deluxe Edition)” Now!
After listening to this album, you won’t be disappointed, I promise. It brings emotions, and it brings a rawness that we haven’t quite seen from BTS before. The sound is uplifting and somber and the lyrics carry a heavy weight. But it’s beautiful.