K-pop Writer Reviews BTS’s New Album : NPR

Journalist and writer Tamar Herman discusses the new songs featured on Evidencethe new album by K-pop group BTS.



CHERYL W THOMPSON, HOST:

And finally today, the K-pop group BTS is releasing a new album. It’s called “Proof”. And like most things the band does, it’s already trending on Twitter and fans are buzzing. The album is an anthology made up of songs spanning the band’s nearly decade-long career, but there are some new songs as well. Tamar Herman writes about K-pop for the South China Morning Post and has a book about the group called “BTS: Blood, Sweat & Tears.” We caught up with her to find out a bit more about the new songs on the album.

TAMAR HERMAN: So “Yet To Come” is the first single from the “Proof” album, so it’s quite interesting. It’s a bit different from anything we’ve seen from BTS before because it’s – yeah, it’s like a nostalgic track. It’s quite promising. You know, we already have nine years of career. They are set to enter their 10th later this month on June 13. So they’re already, you know, a decade strong. And they say, you know, it always comes. We have more. So it’s almost like a clue.

(SOUNDTRACK FROM THE SONG, “YET TO COME (THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENT)”)

BTS: (Singing) The time is yet to come, yeah.

HERMAN: The music video genre incorporates elements that people would recognize, like their old music videos. It’s kind of like that fun walk down memory lane. And I think, you know, we spend so much time looking ahead. Everyone does it, you know, no matter what. But we are still where we come from. And the moments that define us are those that are in our past as well as in our future. So I think this song is kind of saying, we’re still BTS as we move forward, but we’re still moving forward, and you should look forward to it. So I really like that.

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF THE SONG, “FOR YOUNG PEOPLE”)

BTS: (Singing) Whenever I miss you – (singing in a language other than English).

HERMAN: “For Youth” – it really sounds like a song dedicated to BTS fans, the army. It not only features, for example, samples of earlier songs from their Young Forever era, but it also features, for example, the vocals of the military itself. And it expresses how much BTS appreciates, you know, that the military basically gives them, like, their time, like, their youth, their life, their everything, their love.

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF THE SONG, “FOR YOUNG PEOPLE”)

BTS: (Singing in a language other than English).

HERMAN: A lot of fans talk about how, for example, they go through tough times that are kind of considered, you know, the areas of youth. BTS have therefore definitely emphasized that they are a voice for young people for much of their career. So “For Youth”, you know, if you remove the TH, it’s for you. So it’s a pretty cute song, I think, a nice and meaningful song for their fans.

(SOUNDTRACK FROM THE SONG, “RUN BTS”)

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Vocalizing).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: Okay. OKAY. Let’s go.

BTS: (Singing in a language other than English).

HERMAN: So “Run BTS” is, like, the title track on the second record, and it’s – first of all, it’s like a funny name because it’s the name of their variety show. So you can watch all these episodes of BTS just having fun and, like, playing games and, like, doing fun things. So the title itself is pretty cute in that regard, but also, the song itself is pretty funny too. It’s kind of like “Yet To Come” is a bit more – I wouldn’t say dark, but more soulful in musicality, “Run BTS” is kind of fun. And you just listen to it, and you just say to yourself, yes, that’s it.

(SOUNDTRACK FROM THE SONG, “RUN BTS”)

BTS: Move it, left and right. (Song in a non-English language).

HERMAN: On first listen, you’re kind of struck by the intensity of everything they’ve had to go through and how much they’ve had to pursue that. Like, it’s not an easy path that they’ve been on, and they’re still running with that ambition and diligence, and they’re still pushing forward. So I think that’s the theme of the song and also the theme of the album.

(SOUNDTRACK FROM THE SONG, “RUN BTS”)

BTS: (Rapping in non-English language).

HERMAN: It hasn’t been an easy ride for them, although, you know, now it feels like, oh, BTS is everywhere. If you just love, listen to what they’re saying and also what they’re not saying, you kind of have this – you know, everyone goes through hardships, and BTS definitely talked about that. You know, they really pursued that career and gave their all, even through all the hardships, and that’s pretty impressive.

(SOUNDTRACK FROM THE SONG, “RUN BTS”)

BTS: Tell me what you want, tell me what you want, whoa. (Song in a non-English language).

THOMPSON: That was Tamar Herman, who covers the K-pop industry for the South China Morning Post, talking about “Proof,” BTS’s new album.

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