1. ‘Born Singer’
1. ‘Run BTS’ [NEW]
1. ‘Jump’ (Demo Ver.)
The South Korean boy group – BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan) released their highly anticipated anthology album, ‘Proof’ on June 10 at 1 pm KST globally and it felt like the K-pop world came to a standstill. There goes no second thought to the fact that BTS is one of the biggest music acts in the world and the boy group has released their first anthology album which includes three CDs in total and consists of a whopping 48 tracks.
Out of these 48 tracks, only 5 are ones that fans have not heard in the past. The lead single, ‘Yet To Come’ was released with a music video at the same time as the album was released online, whereas the other unreleased songs are ‘Run BTS’ that comes from the boy group’s long-running variety show of the same name.
‘Run BTS’ is an upbeat hip-hop genre song that was written by the rap line of the boy group, namely RM (Kim Namjoon), Suga (Min Yoongi), and J-Hope (Jung Hoseok) as well as the maknae (youngest born) Jungkook (Jeon Jungkook).
‘For Youth’ is a fan-centric song that includes fan chants and lyrics that have the potential to send fans sobbing whereas the unreleased singles from CD 3 – ‘Ambiguous Relationship’ and ‘Quotation Marks’ will not be available for fans to stream online as they are released only in CD form with the rest of the physical album.
The boy group released the album ‘Proof’ by calling it a chronicle of their nine years in the music industry and CD 1 from BTS ‘Proof’ is proof of just that. The CD includes a total of 19 tracks and seems like a fool-proof crash course to BTS. This includes tracks right from their debut up to their most recent release, ‘Butter’. BTS first released the single, ‘Born Singer’ one month following their debut.
Although the song was never officially released to fans, the single had been heard during their concerts. ‘No More Dream’ is the song that introduced BTS to the world as the boys made their dash for success after exiting a yellow-school bus.
Following that, the septet released singles like ’N.O’, ‘Boy in Luv’, and ‘Danger’ during their rookie years with a semi-goth and punk vibe but it is ‘I Need U’ that changed the plot of BTS’ music and gave the boys an interesting story.
Singles ‘Run’, ‘Fire’ alongside their other songs ‘Save Me’ and ‘I’m Fine’ (which are not included in this album) continued the story of these young boys trying to find their place in the world and young fans of BTS really resonated with the music.
CD 1 also includes ‘Spring Day’ and in ARMY-language, the undefeatable queen of all BTS songs. The song was dedicated to the young victims of a South Korean tragedy and shared BTS’ vulnerability which resonated with fans well. Following this, it seemed like BTS had already made their place on the global scene and songs like ‘DNA’, ‘Fake Love’, and ‘Idol’ were instant global hits.
‘Boy With Luv’ was dedicated to all fans of the group and became one of their first best-charted songs in the global space. ‘On’ was another of their global hits that were released before the pandemic hit but soon after the song was released, everything went haywire for the boy group and the rest of the world.
These emotions were seen in BTS’ next released album, ‘BE’ in its lead single, ‘Life Goes On’ which reassured the feeling of discomfort the entire world was feeling due to being confined to their homes and watching BTS members go through the same problems as us, common folks reassured many fans during their hardships.
During this time BTS also released their three all-English singles starting with 2020’s ‘Dynamite’ and 2021’s ‘Butter’ as well as ‘Permission to Dance’ (which is not included in this album). These three singles solidified the boy group’s place in the international music scene so much so that ‘Dynamite’ and ‘Butter’ gave the boy group their first and second Grammy Nomination.
The last track on CD 1 is their new lead single, ‘Yet To Come’ which perfectly concludes the boy group’s nine-year-long journey as a boy band and reassures fans that they were not going anywhere and that the best moment with BTS was “yet to come” – hand-in-hand with fans.
Through this single, BTS members acknowledge the successful nine years they have had and also tell fans that they have officially closed a long chapter in their journey and cannot wait to start a new chapter as a part of BTS.
The music video for ‘Yet To Come’ is full of nostalgic references from BTS’ older hits like ‘Just One Day’, ‘No More Dream’, ‘Spring Day’, ‘Run’, ‘DNA’, and more that are all part of this CD which goes on to show how thoughtful BTS are when it comes to following a narrative with their music.
When ‘No More Dreams’ was released in 2013, the boys exited a yellow school bus and made a dash to international success. ‘Yet To Come’ closes with the boys sitting back inside the bus, in the same places as they did on the train in ‘Spring Day’ and they journey on to a new chapter of their musical journey.
The second CD of BTS’ anthology album acknowledges the talents of BTS members as soloists and producers which is why this CD includes the members’ solo releases. The first song ‘Run BTS’ is already a local ARMY favorite as it oozes sass and feels like a diss track to the trolls that hate on BTS.
From RM’s ‘Intro: Persona’, Jin’s (Kim Seokjin’s) ‘Moon’, Suga’s ‘Trivia: Seesaw’, to J-Hope’s ‘Outro: Ego’. The CD also includes Jimin’s (Park Jimin’s) ‘Filter’ as well as V’s (Kim Taehyung’s) ‘Singularity’. There’s also Jungkook’s ‘Euphoria’ which was most recently played during their visit to the White House to meet President Joe Biden.
CD 2 also includes subunit singles like Jimin and V’s duo song, ‘Friends’ as well as vocal lines (including members Jin, Jimin, V, and Jungkook) ’00:00′ (Zero o’clock) and ‘Dimple’ as well as rap lines (including members Suga, J-Hope and RM) ‘Her’ and ‘BTS cypher pt.3: KILLER’ and more subunit tracks like ‘Jamais Vu’ from Jin, J-Hope, and Jungkook as well as ‘Stay’ from Jin, RM, and Jungkook.
CD 3 is the most interesting on the album as it includes a total of three unreleased and unheard tracks as well as special Demo versions of hit tracks from BTS members. Out of the 14 tracks on the album, the single ‘For Youth’ was the only one that was released for online streaming.
The song is dedicated to BTS fans and includes a series of concert music where fans had been cheering the members on while they performed on stage. This song has the internet emotional.
Other unheard tracks ‘Ambiguous Relationship’ and ‘Quotation Marks’ are the only two tracks on the album that fans will only be able to hear after they purchase the album.
‘Proof’ CD 3 has 10 Demo versions of older BTS songs that are sung by members solo as a sample or as a group before the final cut made it to the album. These songs show BTS’ raw singing and highlight their skill as artists.
The single ‘Tony Montana’ is a fan favorite featuring Jimin and Suga which fans have heard at concerts in the past. ‘Still With You’ is Jungkook’s digital single that he released on the streaming platform SoundCloud. The song went viral due to its somber background score and the youngest BTS member has released a solo acapella version of the same for fans around the world to enjoy.
Message and Lyrics
The album ‘Proof’ is BTS’ honest attempt at reassuring the newer fans of the boy group that they were not going anywhere. Amid the constant scrutiny they are under, BTS are trying to draw negative attention away from themselves to show the world that they are much more than just seven good-looking Korean boys.
Just like fans, BTS members themselves are not sure what the future holds for the boy group which is why the aim of Proof is to provide a one-stop guide to their nine years in the industry.
The song ‘Yet To Come’ stars with Jungkook asking, “Was it honestly the best?” as he says he is waiting for what comes next. This song is very BTS-esque and unlike their other older songs about ‘self-love’ and empowerment, ‘Yet To Come’ is just about members talking to their fans.
BTS has had phenomenal success over the last nine years but just as an artist is never satisfied with their best artwork, BTS members promise that their best is yet to come.
The single ‘Run BTS’ is an ode to their journey and is the boys’ new attempt at Rock. ‘Run BTS’ is one of their typical songs but is their first attempt at flexing the success they have achieved over the years. In the lyrics, members talk about how they rose from the bottom and have become so powerful in each other’s company that it is them against the world now.
‘For Youth’ is the only other new publicly released single from BTS ‘Proof’ and comes as a thank you to fans for supporting the boys through thick and thin. BTS is thanking fans for being there with them for the last nine years even on their worst days when they felt that their worlds were shattering.
BTS members start imaging what their lives would be like if they never met ARMY and make it seem like they would not be existing had it not been for ARMY making a promise to the fandom that they will stick around for the rest of their lives.
Music and Arrangement
In their recent pre-comeback interview Suga of BTS told fans that he had spent a lot of time in the arrangement of the songs on the album and expressed that he wanted fans to hear it in the order he had in mind for it.
This album is not released break records as they have done that over the past nine years. If anyone asks for “proof” of the records BTS has broken over the years, any fan can pull up ‘Proof’ and it should suffice. Be it the cheerful melody playing in the background of ‘Yet To Come’ or the upbeat drums in ‘Run BTS’ as well as the somber piano that rings in the back of ‘For Youth’, BTS’ ‘Proof’ is like a treat to fans for supporting the members through their hardest years.
The music video for ‘Yet To Come’ is full of references from the old hits too, be it the jeep that was a part of BTS’ 2015 video ‘Run’ or the Carousel ride that was seen behind Jungkook in ‘Spring Day’. The references to the large statue with wings as well as how Jin covers V’s eyes this time the same way V had done to Jin from ‘Blood Sweat and Tears’ are unmissable.
The boy group has also made a connection to their past as they chose to sit in the same order from music videos like ‘Save Me’, ‘Just One Day’, and many others. The train carriage with the number 20219 with RM standing by is a fan favorite and can be seen in ‘Yet To Come’ as the entire music video hits fans with nostalgia.
As a shock to many fans, the music video ended with a yellow school bus appearing in the middle of the desert as the boys make a dash to it. The bus is the same one BTS members first got down from in their debut music video for ‘No More Dream’ and seeing the members get in the same bus seems like a perfect nostalgic end to their entire nine-year-long journey.
The demo versions have not been released online and as a fan of BTS, I understand why they have done so. The demo versions of older BTS songs have never been heard before and releasing them online makes them vulnerable to trolls. BTS members are sharing their vulnerability only with their fans which are reassuring. ARMY has built a relationship of trust with the boy group and ‘Proof’ will be a testament to that in the years to come.
Verdict - 9.5/10