190625 BTS
BTS Image Credit: Reuters

Was there any doubt BTS would make a chart-topping, record-breaking comeback? Well, for starters, BTS’s high-profile return took over the country, literally, once again.

The K-Pop sensation continued their trajectory of success when they dropped their fourth studio album ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ and a pulsating and mesmerising ‘Kinetic Manifesto Film: Come Prima’ video for a powerful hip hop number ‘ON’.

Backed by diverse cast of 30 dancers and 12 marching band members, the music video for the title track saw the members reflect their mindset as artists and is seen as a diary of the group’s seven-year career so far.

If BTS’s confident display and complex choreography weren’t enough reasons to stream the music video, the fierce manifesto music video still soared to number one on YouTube in the UAE and in countries within the region — including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Algeria, and Bahrain — the same day of its release.

BTS’s eagerly-anticipated, intricately-woven album reflects on the seven years since they debuted as a septet in 2013. With this new musical offering, the members revealed more of themselves, declaring they have admitted their destiny and accepted the shadow and light of their identity in the reflective road map.

The 20-track album contains 15 brand new songs — subunits and solos — and five pre-released tracks featured in last year’s ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’.

In addition to the digital version of ‘ON’ featuring Sia and ‘Louder Than Bombs’ co-written by fellow Aussie singer-songwriter Troye Sivan, ‘Map of The Soul; 7’ consists of unit tracks such as ‘UGH!’, ‘00:00 (Zero O’Clock)’, ‘Friends’ and ‘Respect’.

Their solo tracks also highlight the members’ unique traits individually and contains their own personal stories, whether it’s Jimin showing his different sides in ‘Filter’, V revealing his past ordeal in ‘Inner Child’, Jin expressing his love for their ARMY fan base in ‘Moon’ and Jungkook reflecting his journey growing up in the group in ‘My Time’.

The album also draws samples and references from the record-breaking act’s early songs, heard in ‘We Are Bulletproof: the Eternal’, ‘Interlude: Shadow’, ‘Outro: Ego’, as well as in ‘ON’, which parallels lead track ‘N.O’ off first EP, “O! RUL8,2?’.

BTS occupied the top 20 spots on the UAE iTunes Songs chart while ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ debuted at number one on the albums chart.

They certainly took over Twitter with a series of top trending hashtags and rocked the global music market, sweeping the iTunes Top Albums charts in 91 countries and the Top Songs charts with ‘ON’ in 83 different countries — including the UAE.

The soul-searching album was already a projected hit. It eclipsed its predecessor prior to its release for surpassing the biggest global pre-order volume for any South Korean album with a total of 4.02 million copies as of last Monday, the record distributor Dreamus Company revealed.

Moving to their homeland, the album reportedly reached a record of two million physical sales on the first day of sales on the Hanteo chart, while ‘ON’ debuted on the top of real-time music charts — such as Melon, Genie, Bugs, Soribada, and Flo — and achieved the most unique (123,489) listeners in the first hour on Melon.

Prior to fully releasing the performance-centred music video, BTS shared a 30-second snippet of ‘ON’ on video-sharing platform TikTok. In the run-up to the release, the band released an art film for single ‘Black Swan’ and unveiled comeback trailers of Suga’s ‘Interlude: Shadow’ and J-Hope’s ‘Outro: Ego’.