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j-hope’s ‘Blue Side’ Serves as a Window to His Artistic Evolution

The BTS rapper-songwriter surprised his fans with the full-length version of the track on the third anniversary of his debut mixtape, ‘Hope World’

Divyansha Dongre Mar 02, 2021

With he 2021 version of "Blue Side," j-hope introduces listeners into his new persona as a refined artist wanting to share stories through experimental forms. Photo: Courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment

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March 2nd kicked off on a thrilling note with BTS member j-hope releasing the extended version of his 2018 dream pop track, “Blue Side.” The song originally served as the outro to his 2018 hit mixtape Hope World.

Accompanied by a heartfelt letter where the Gwangju-bred rapper reminisced about his journey thus far and his plans for the future, the extended version comes with never-heard-before lyrics and detailed instrumentals. In his letter, the 27-year-old penned down his approach towards music, candidly expressing that he “innocently composed music” while working on his 2018 debut mixtape Hope World. He further explained his approach metaphorically, saying it was a product of “the young “me” who was like a blank canvas drawing in myself however I wanted.” 

Written by j-hope along with producers Adora and Hiss Noise, the extended version of “Blue Side” was released via Soundcloud and elucidates on the larger theme of yearning to go back to one’s formative years–marked by its aloofness from reality. j-hope sings, “Spring, summer, fall, and winter, always in that same feeling, Blue / I’d want to go back to those days when I didn’t know anything.” Over the last three years, “Blue Side” has created a space within the hearts of its listeners. It’s challenging to point out what elements of “Blue Side” propels listeners into a realm of comfort, healing and confidence. Perhaps it’s the unwinding soft dream pop arrangement, or j-hope’s raspy vocals etched in the hearts of listeners. Now, with the extended lyrics and an outro marked by a soothing xylophone riff, the rapper introduces listeners into his new persona as a refined artist wanting to share stories through experimental forms.

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In his letter j-hope further reflects on how he perceived music while creating Hope World and his arrival on the decision of releasing the full version; “I needed a blue safe haven that would help claim from my overwhelming sense of passion. Over time I was able to find the answers to why I couldn’t finish this song.” He continues, “I feel like it was a theme that was too much for me to handle musically, but also I think I had a thought that someday I would for sure be able to feel and know it. Although it’s just one song this time, I wanted to show you that I’m becoming a little bit more mature musically.” 

The unexpected release of the extended version caught listeners off-guard. However, in a true BTS way, j-hope might have hinted at his plans of working on the track in Rolling Stone India’s interview with the band from late last year. 

The 2021 version of “Blue Side” comes with personalized cover artwork created by Eddie Kang, known for his contemporary approach of blending doodles, expression and art. Upon dissecting the artwork, one will find references from Hope World and collectables from j-hope’s cherished doll collection.

Though j-hope labels his approach towards Hope World as a rushing gravitation to share his music, hinting he didn’t give much of a thought while creating the tracks, the mixtape offers a peek into the mind of a young rapper with a hunger to share compelling stories and a musician with a stronghold over composition and production. With themes of hard work, fame, success and friendship narrated as a seasoned musician, Hope World and its subsequent success was a key stepping stone in j-hope’s solo artistry, giving the world a taste of the versatile musician and born performer in him. 

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