On to the third song. It is entitled ‘The Truth Untold‘ and is BTS’ much-anticipated second collaboration with Steve Aoki. It is not at all what I expected! While I was anticipating another high energy EDM song, what we got as an emotionally charged ballad. This song encourages attack of feelings from all sides. It starts with the vocals that the four members, Jimin, Jin, Taehyung, and Jungkook laid over a bare-boned track. The instrumental consists of just a piano for the overwhelming majority of the song; with a light beat coming in at the climax near the end. The way that the boys were able to convey the emotions of the lyrics that seem to be about being stuck in a love limbo; unable to leave because of the love but unable to stay because of conflict within oneself and between the lovers.
Then there is a somewhat shocking shift into the next series of songs which have a more upbeat vibe. The next song, written as a metaphor based on former planet Pluto by member SUGA, is entitled ‘134340‘. This song reminds me of the height of black pop music in the 70s. Think Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Jackson 5. Despite the groove of the track and the prominent flute enticing you to dance, the lyrics are quite bleak and devastating. Much like Pluto was a planet and then was no longer classified as such, the song talks about the way in which two people become each other’s universe. Things are great until they aren’t and you are no longer the one your other revolves around, or you are still orbiting around someone who has lost interest.
BTS continues this masterful magic of enticing beats and difficult lyrics in ‘Paradise‘ (my personal favorite, I think). The opening of the song has pure R&B vibes, with a light snare paired with a piano; with Jungkook’s whispery runs layered on top. When Jungkook very sweetly sings “marathon, marathon”, you may be tricked into thinking the song is about being in it for the long haul. In reality, it talks about going through life without direction or dreams; pushing forward full steam ahead without knowing why or what you actually want to do/be. Fortunately, they are telling us it is okay to take your time, to not know what the next step is or what the future holds; there is a little lightness to match the groove invoking beat.
The deception continues in ‘Love Maze‘, though the lyrics are a lot more hopeful. It talks about lovers being the “maze” and difficulties of life, but trusting in and loving your other. The beat is another upbeat R&B reminiscent of one, with the vocalists singing in a higher register with very sweet tones. The chorus is filled with beautiful ad libs in the back, catchy and easy lyrics and light, airy vocals; one that drives home the more hopeful vibe of the track. When paired with raps that are impactful in the words and not in the delivery, and you have a stark contrast to ‘Fake Love’ that reminds you of the rollercoaster that love can be.