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BTS Drop Haunting New Single ‘Black Swan’

The track is accompanied by a powerful art film with breathtaking choreography performed by Slovenia’s MN Dance Company

Riddhi Chakraborty Jan 17, 2020

"Black Swan" is accompanied by a powerful art film with breathtaking choreography performed by Slovenia's MN Dance Company.

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South Korean pop super stars BTS have dropped “Black Swan,” the first single from their upcoming studio album Map Of The Soul: 7. The track is accompanied by a powerful art film with breathtaking choreography performed by Slovenia’s MN Dance Company.

From the moment it begins, you know “Black Swan” is different from anything BTS has done before. The track has two versions: the first which is used in the music video features string instrumentals with BTS’ a capella vocals while the studio version (available on all streaming platforms) features piano and a rolling trap beat. The first version makes more of an impact because we haven’t heard BTS this way before–there is a raw intensity in their vocals laid bare and every time the music swells, as does the heart.

Lyrically, “Black Swan” is a gut-wrenching examination of how the passage of time affects an artist–lyrics express fear at not being able to create music that resonates with the world and losing the ability to express oneself. This artistic death is gargantuan in scale and one that every artist, no matter what their field, fears. “Oh that would be my first death/I’ve been always afraid of/If this can no longer resonate/No longer make my heart vibrate/Then like this may be how I die my first death.” The track is also an ode to self-discovery via art, the self’s identity that art can create and establish: “Let my own feet carry me/I’ll do in myself/In the deepest depths/I saw myself/Slowly, I open my eyes/I’m in my workroom, it’s my studio.” “Black Swan” also seems to be an extremely personal outline of BTS’ relationship with music, the trials they have faced in their career and is proof that Map Of The Soul: 7 is going to go deeper than any of their other albums have before.

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The music video begins with the quote, “a dancer dies twice–once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful,” before fading to a shot in an abandoned mall where seven dancers walk into the frame. They are all clad in black except one male dancer who is shirtless and takes the lead, turning into the ‘black swan’ as he flexes his back in imitation of wings. As the video progresses, the choreography gets more intense, combative as the lead dancer attempts to escape from the clutches of the others. He is eventually able to free himself from the grasp of the other dancers and the ‘gilded’ cage they put him in (symbolized by bars of light), growing stronger as he comes into his own and is able to fight them. He eventually rises above them all and begins to lead them instead.

The highly cinematic film further adds to BTS’ commitment to art with this comeback–earlier this week the septet took on the role of curators by launching the ‘Connect BTS’ project, teaming up with 22 artists from several countries around the world and helping them fund and host art exhibits in five cities: London, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul and New York.

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Map Of The Soul: 7 is BTS’ fourth full-length studio album and is set for a February 21st release. Last week the group dropped the video for “Interlude: Shadow,” the comeback trailer for the album featuring rapper and producer Suga. BTS announced the upcoming studio album’s title on January 7th and opened pre-orders on January 9th. Within the first week (January 9th-15th) the group’s label BigHit Entertainment announced that Map of the Soul: 7 had surpassed 3.42 million in stock pre-orders, breaking the previous record set by BTS’ 2019 award-winning EP Map of the Soul: Persona.

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