BTS – ‘BE’: A Delicate Look Into Pandemic Life

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Bighit Labels

From, “Life Goes On” music video.

Krystal Orehek, Reporter

BTS has returned with their 3rd release this year, BE. BE is the group’s first self-produced album with the members working on everything from the physical design to producing the songs, touching every aspect. Like a diary kept over quarantine, BTS “opens themselves up to express their mixed feelings about this situation- fear and anxiety mingled with determination to overcome all this.”

Life Goes On is featured as the title track, sentimentally opening up the album. Described as “alt hip-hop,” the song creates a poignant atmosphere as the group reflects the melancholic events of 2020. Despite these recollections, they offer a sense of comfort that things will get better through the chorus, “Like an echo in the forest/The day will come back around/As if nothing is happening/Yeah life goes on.”

Bighit Labels

Following the title is Fly To My Room, a piano filled retro-pop unit track with Jimin, V, J-hope, and SUGA. In a press conference, they describe the song as “funny but melancholic,” as they express the suffocation one might feel being stuck in the house all day. In response to this heavy feeling, they decide to see their rooms as their little world, “This room is all I have/Then, well, I’ll change this place to my world.”

The most mournful track on BE, Blue, and Grey, candidly addresses the group’s encounter with mental health during the pandemic, deeply struggling with anxiety and depression. The bedroom acoustics gracefully accompany the dark ballad, desperately pleading out, “Someone come and save me, please” and “Please don’t leave me alone/It hurts so much.”

In the middle of the album, there is a skit tradition in BTS albums that has not been seen since the Love Yourself: Her ep in 2018. In the skit the members are gathered around a microphone in the studio, authentically discussing their feelings after earning their first Billboard Hot 100 #1 with their song Dynamite. The skit serves as a transitional track from the dreary first half of the album to the uplifting second half.

Telepathy begins a new chapter in the album, bringing in an upbeat vibe with funky rhythms. The song is dedicated to their fans, better known as ARMY, and they discuss their feelings of being happiest when with them. While they have been physically apart from ARMY for almost a year now, they offer reassurance by saying, “Although we’re apart now,/our hearts are the same/Even when you’re not next to me/Even when I’m not next to you,/we all know we’re together.” 

Jung Kook credited as the music video director. (Bighit Labels)

The sixth track Dis-ease is an homage to old school 90s hip-hop; the nostalgic retro beats providing ARMY with a message of strength: “There’s no eternal night/I’m stronger/A spark of fire/I will never fade away.”

Similar to Telepathy in meaning but differing in sound, Stay again emphasizes the feeling of being together although physically apart. As the song begins it seems to be a mellow pop song; however, the chorus leads up to an unexpected EDM-style beat drop. The drop occurs as Jungkook, RM, and Jin sing the simple but sweet lyric, “I know you always stay.”

Bringing a close to the album is arguably the group’s biggest hit (as I wrote about here), Dynamite. This retro-pop song was meant to be simple and give people an escape from the heavyweight of life, making it a perfect close to the album. With the opening tracks reflecting a state of anxiety and confusion leading into the more optimistic closing, BTS delivers their message perfectly- that life goes on.

Lyric translations