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Five years ago, BTS were a group of young adults in their teens and early twenties trying to make sense of the world around them. They channelled these confusing coming-of-age emotions and experiences — like first love, disappointment, and heartbreak — into their hard-hitting music, and their 2014 album Skool Luv Affair and its lead single “Boy In Luv” are a reflection of that. Now, five years older and wiser, the Korean septet are one of the biggest musical acts in the world, with two consecutive No. 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart, a sold-out global stadium tour, and the internet’s most powerful fandom in their corner. But their latest single, “Boy With Luv,” proves that while BTS may have matured, they haven’t lost their artistic edge.
It’s playful, fresh, and still 100 percent BTS. Oh, and to the delight of theatre kids everywhere, there are some dreamy Singin’ in the Rainreferences.
With their new album, Map of the Soul: Persona, out today (April 12), BTS are looking to their past in order to move forward, and the bubbly “Boy With Luv” — which parallels their aggressive teen anthem “Boy In Luv” — is a reflection of their growth. The upbeat song, a collaboration with American pop star Halsey, celebrates the act of falling in love and finding joy in the smallest of things. (The song’s Korean title roughly translates to “A Poem for the Small Things.”)
“You’re the star that turns ordinaries into extraordinaries,” Suga raps. “One after another, everything is special. The things you’re interested in, the way you walk or talk, and every little trivial habits of yours.”
The lyrics cleverly nod to the group’s other past works as well. “I’m flying high in the sky,” V sings in the pre-chorus. “With the two wings you gave me back then.” The wings refer to their 2016 album of the same name, which explored the idea of reaching your potential — or spreading your wings — with unbridled passion. At one point in the colourful music video, the members even find themselves surrounded by neon signs (a visual tip of the hat to Broadway), the names of which span their entire career — from 2 Cool 4 Skool to You Never Walk Alone and Answer.
For her part, Halsey’s signature airy vocals float over the sticky hook — a mix of English and Korean, led by an instantly catchy refrain of “Oh my my my oh my my my” — and she even gets to show off her dancing chops in the visual, shimmying alongside BTS and keeping up with their full-body choreography like an idol herself.
Map of the Soul: Persona marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the artists following their massively successful Love Yourselftrilogy, which concluded with Love Yourself: Answer this past November. With over 3 million pre-orders globally, it’s safe to say that BTS are looking at their next No. 1 album here in the U.S. before embarking on their stadium tour across the globe.
And they definitely have their eyes set on total U.S. domination this time around: The group will perform “Boy With Luv” live for the very first on Saturday Night Live on April 13.