I listened to Map of the Soul: 7 the whole way through one time, and I wanted to share my initial reaction. I’ll briefly share my thoughts on each new track (that is, the songs that debuted with this album rather than MOTS: Persona) in this blog post.
Once I have the chance to really take in the album, I’ll be sharing my full reaction to the music and lyrics in an exclusive post (including audio!) on Patreon and in a locked post here for PayPal subscribers!
Anyway, on with the reaction!
First of all, I love that we get an extra minute or so of “Interlude: Shadow.” It felt like it was over too soon, even though I did and do love the video. I really love the intense emotional contemplativeness of Yoongi’s rap on this song.
If I have one criticism it’s that after the changeup, I wanted the song to keep going for at least another 30 seconds. Hmm, is saying “I want more” even a criticism, though?
I L-O-V-E this song! BTS stay the masters of having B-sides that could be A-sides because their discography is too f*cking solid. The mood of this single makes it a perfect follow-up to Interlude: Shadow. Yoongi opens the track perfectly.
It’s dark but also catchy, which can be very hard to pull off. If “do your thang” hasn’t been stuck in your head at least once, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.
First of all, as I write this, “Filter” is dead*ss trending. I think it’s safe to say that Jimin’s falsetto hit us all where we live and nobody has recovered yet. There’s a hint of dance hall to it that makes you want to groove, or just lay there in your feels.
It’s about time Mr. I-Show-Off-My-Shoulder-By-Accident-But-Not-Really-Because-I’m-Trying-To-Kill-You came at us with the swagger and confidence he deserves.
Although I’m trying to focus on the album and the music, I have to say that “My Time” is one of the tracks I’m most looking forward to seeing performed live. I can feel Jungkook’s vocals here and when paired with his dancing, I know he’s about to kill it. I just hope it comes without him flying around the arena so he can spare my nerves!
I love the flow of this and I’m actually surprised (don’t laugh at me) that we didn’t see a literal return to “Rapper Jungkook.” Though in a way, the momentum of the song, especially at the beginning, did hint at a hip-hop-inspired flow. At least to me; you’re welcome to disagree.
Louder Than Bombs
I am scared to see this performed live. I’m already going to say it. This is giving me “Pied Piper” levels of going to be attacked into a coma if this gets choreography.
That said, though I like the song, the name tricked me. For some reason, I thought this would be one of the songs they went hard on. Even so, I really like this song, it was a smooth bop that ended up being one of my favorites on this album.
On (BTS-Only Version)
(That’s not an accident, go stream the MV!)
Even though I loved the drumming immediately, it did take me a few listens to wrap my mind around “ON” because the flow of the song isn’t what I’m used to. It’s definitely anthemic and I already predicted that this is going to be on the workout-boxing-gym playlist of quite a few people.
It made me want to fight everyone who ever tried to step on me. It’s a necessary boost of self-confidence for the downtrodden. It puts steel in your spine and a pep in your step. While “NO” felt like the underdog fighting back, “ON” feels like the underdog overcame and is now standing with its boot on the industry’s neck.
Even though I’m saving my lyrical reaction for Patreon/the locked blog post, I just want to take a moment to stand up and applaud BTS’s rapline for this. This was a read that was necessary. Not just in terms of two-faced bastards hating on BTS behind their backs and a$$-kissing to their face.
I’m thinking about the idols who are no longer with us because of the cruel pressure they endured by way of evil comments from cowardly netizens who felt brave enough to attack them online over and over and then pretended any type of remorse when these people died.
This is a badass single and my favorite off of the album on first listen.
00:00 (Zero O’Clock
The whiplash I felt going from UGH! to this. The vocal line is so pleasantly mellow here that it feels unexpected after listening to the rap line drag everyone. Again, this is based on an initial impression; I haven’t read the lyrics yet so my understanding of the single can (and probably will) change.
BTS falsettos make me happy, and I also appreciated the laidback flow of this single.
This ended up being one of my favorite songs off of MOTS:7. It’s not a slow song, and yet it really hit hard somehow. The repeated mention of change makes me think of another song, “Everything Must Change.” There’s something about Taehyung’s voice here that makes me choke up a little. Which never happens to me. Usually, it’s slow body rolls.
But between this and “Winter Bear,” Tae has kept me in my feels lately.
Another instant favorite! OH MY GOD! I cannot tell you how soft I was throughout this song, listening to Jimin and Taehyung sing about their friendship and calling each other soulmates. So many men in the West are afraid to even breathe in each other’s direction no matter how long they’ve been friends lest “someone get the wrong idea.”
Meanwhile, Jimin and Taehyung are living their best lives, shouting out how much they love and appreciate each other for the world to see. And we love to see it!
It was very nice of Jin to have mercy on my tear ducts this time around. “Moon” has a whimsical mid-tempo quality. It’s very sweet to the ears. It feels like the kind of song you listen to on a rainy day while trying (and failing) to be productive.
I really love Jin’s voice and already consider him the Ballad King. Whether it’s a slow weep-inducing song or a slightly more upbeat pop track like this, Jin really has the ability to move you. 🙂
I actually spoiled myself when it came to the lyrics for this.
Even so, I’m saving my full reaction for the exclusive posts. The SHAAAAAAADE. I hope everyone giving BTS fake respect or the “X paved the way and not BTS” crowd get a chance to breathe this in. And choke on it a little.
I can believe that Namjoon and Yoongi had a lot of fun working on this, as it comes through on the track. And that’s all I’m going to say as I want to avoid screeching opinions I’m saving for the other post. LOL!
We are Bulletproof: the Eternal
“We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal” is another track that surprised me by sounding a bit different from what I was expecting. But now that I’ve heard it, the song as it is makes perfect sense. It’s closing the book on a trilogy, bringing things full circle.
It really feels like BTS are bidding farewell to their youth and past struggles while expressing gratitude to ARMYs for our unconditional love and support.
We are forever bulletproof…and in this Bangtan sh*t for life.
Hobi’s “Outro: Ego” represents a perfect end to this album. It allows us to recover from the heaviness of “We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal” while ending things on an upbeat note.
This is such a fun way to end the album and the tone it sets makes one think of victory and excitement for future adventures. The bright optimism you feel with the music of this track could only be driven home by Hobi. How much has he grown as a rap artist? So many rappers are trapped in a one-dimensional lane when it comes to how they express emotions and make you feel.
But from “Outro: Tear” to “Outro: Ego,” Hobi expresses an incredible range that absolutely must be appreciated.
Initial reaction = DONE!
I’ll go back over this album a few times and once I have a solid sense of my feelings, I’ll be back with a much more in-depth analysis (including my reaction to the single featuring Sia!).
For now, I’ll say that I like the album overall and I’m proud of BTS for continuing to move forward with their sound even as they look back to take stock of how far they’ve come.
I’m so proud of them and the work they put into MOTS: 7, an album that feels like the end of the first arc of their young careers and a springboard into a new, fearless future as older and wiser artists.