Love Yourself: Tear Shows the Dark Side of Love
Yes, finally, the deep and dark concept we’ve all been waiting for BTS to return to is here. There was some concern that this group, built on a musical foundation of pointing out the flaws and realities of life, would shift to a more generic boy band sound that was definitely laced in previous title track off Love Yourself: Her, “DNA.” I’ll admit that I was one of these people that feared a shift in musicality, but the boys are back to prove they don’t plan to change with their rapidly developing fame.
Sick of this “Fake Love”
First in line of the Love Yourself series, “DNA,” was basically all sunshine and rainbows in regards to the subject of love. In the media, we’re constantly bombarded with this message about how falling in love is the endgame of life, so to hear a group that I respect greatly for speaking up on difficult subjects like depression and the pressures of society shifting to this cliche concept, was frankly disappointing.
I was afraid that they would mold into this going forward, especially with all of the attention the group gained during the “DNA” era. This fear couldn’t be tamped down until the next comeback of the Love Yourself series, and I’m very happy to say that this return has dissipated all my previous fears.
The BTS we all know and love is back. “Fake Love” shows the exact antithesis of “DNA,” bringing up a much tougher subject of a seemingly fated love falling apart, as it often does in reality. The boys have once again come back to discuss touchy subjects that many avoid in their music, just as they always have.
Musically, “Fake Love” has much less of a generic dance track feel to it, with a stronger base in hip-hop roots, and it is far more melancholy than any of their releases have been to date. The lyrics are incredibly powerful in demonstrating an unhealthy emotional tie, which demonstrates the desire to mold yourself into the perfect, yet fake, person your significant other desires you to be, which illustrates the danger in getting so lost in another person you lose yourself. The chorus lyrics “love you so bad / mold a pretty lie for you / love it’s so mad / try to erase myself and make me your doll” is a perfect metaphor for this dysfunctional characteristic in many relationships.
The visuals in the music video are incredibly strong, as it appears to be a similar location to “DNA” after the apocalypse hit. The dystopian feel of the environment adds to the emotional impact of the song, as does the sharp and intense choreography that has been shown thus far. Really, everything about “Fake Love” molds together perfectly and is just an absolutely gorgeous depiction of emotional dysfunction in relationships.
I’ll just be upfront about it—Love Yourself: Tear is a fabulously produced album. The overall sound is much less bright than many tracks on Love Yourself: Her, and the contrast is just fantastic. Starting from Taehyung’s intro, the slow jam sort of feeling carries through tracks “134340,” “Paradise,” “Love Maze,” and “Magic Shop.” It’s not something we’ve heard from BTS before, but it’s a welcomed change.
There is quite a diversity in sound as well throughout the album. “The Truth Untold,” a track that Steve Aoki worked on, follows “Fake Love” and is exactly the opposite of what you’d expect from a Steve Aoki track after the “MIC Drop” remix. It’s soft, heartbreaking, and gorgeous in highlighting the vocal talents of Jin, Jungkook, Jimin, and Taehyung. “Airplane pt. 2” has a more Latin/Caribbean vibe, a perfectly addicting track to fit the coming summer months. “Anpanman” has a ‘90s hip-hop vibe to it that makes it particularly catchy, while “So What” would be your typical dance track that has mass appeal, along the lines of “Best of Me.”
The outro gets its own paragraph because I am just so blown away by it. Although we don’t have a cypher on this album, “Outro: Tear” replaces it with an incredibly strong and emotional performance from the rap line that may or may not have had me screaming in awe while stuck in traffic this morning. RM, J-Hope, and Suga round out the album with such a powerful track to highlight the rap prowess this group has, so you don’t forget it. “Outro: Tear” is by far my favorite album track, and does a great job of wrapping up an emotionally intense concept.
If Love Yourself: Her was slightly disappointing to you in sound and concept, I promise that you’re going to love Love Yourself: Tear. If you loved Love Yourself: Her, you’re still going to love the newest album. There is not much that can disappoint here. BTS simply continues to prove why they are one of the biggest names in K-Pop, even in all of the music industry, today.