Photo: Big Hit Entertainment / Press



BE by BTS is fully and unequivocally a love letter from the band to ARMY. There’s truly no other way to look at it, and while it’s safe to assume that any artist loves and appreciates their fans, there’s something extra special about BTS and their ARMY.

The new album, which was released Nov. 20 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, is a way for BTS to connect with their fans in a year when they weren’t able to tour or see any of them in person. The music video for “Life Goes On,” which was released in conjunction with the album and is the lead song on BE, deepens that connection by showing the seven singers — RM, V, Suga, Jin, Jimin, J-Hope, and Jungkook — pajama clad and soft, singing about life going on despite everything happening right now.

If you’ve been worried that things won’t be okay, consider this a message from BTS that they’re right there with you. In a year when everyone in the music industry has had to change up how they release music and make videos, it only makes sense that BTS would go the same route and create a video largely shot in a home, in a car, and in an empty stadium, showing just how isolating the year has been.

The rest of the album follows suit with standard, run-of-the-mill BTS tunes. The album, though, feels slightly more subdued than what you’d expect from BTS, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This year has clearly taken a toll on everyone, and all artists are handling it differently. Some are going full force on upbeat music to bring cheer, some are channeling their depressing feelings into sad songs, and some, like BTS, are comforting their listeners.

That’s not to say BTS aren’t bringing the feels, though. “Blue & Grey,” in particular, is a stab in the heart. Though the song is largely in Korean, in English you’ll hear a repeated, “I just want to be happier,” and ouch. It’s a feeling probably everyone can relate to and makes you want to wallow just a bit while you’re listening.

BTS can’t stay down for long, though — “Telepathy,” “Dis-ease,” and “Dynamite” are the fun tracks you expect from this Korean outfit. While “Dynamite” is easily the standout, “Telepathy” is still fun and will surely be an opportunity for the group to dance whenever they can get back on a stage. “Dis-ease” is the opportunity for the rap line — RM, J-Hope, and Suga — to truly shine, and that they do. The brassy track that takes an ambiguous stand on “disease” in the world may quite possibly be the most fun live of all the BE tracks.

The album wraps with the previously released “Dynamite,” which was perhaps a turning point for BTS in catapulting them even higher into the stratosphere. They were already arguably the biggest music act in the world but by releasing a song in English, they were able to cross over even more into the mainstream. While their first all-English song was admitted a challenge, the group told USA Today, they called it a “fun hard.” It’s far and wide one of the best and most fun songs released in all of 2020 and the video put it over the top.

In the end, BTS intended BE to be a message to their fans that they love them and wanted to bring them something joyful and comforting, and they succeeded in doing exactly that. Listen to the full album below.