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BTS Return With Uplifting New Record ‘BE’

The EP is led by the single ‘Life Goes On’ and sees the septet take on a bigger role in overall production including concept development and visual design

Riddhi Chakraborty Nov 20, 2020

Six members of BTS at the press conference for 'BE' today. Rapper SUGA was absent, currently recovering from recent surgery. Photo: Courtesy of Big Hit Entertainment

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Pop superstars BTS made a comeback today with their highly-anticipated brand new EP BE and its lead single “Life Goes On.” The group decided to take on a more hands-on approach than usual on this record, diving into its overall production by distributing various roles between themselves. Each member took on duties that included concept development, visual design, curation of sets, photographs and video direction–all in addition to their contribution in music production and lyricism. The record follows February’s Map of the Soul: 7 LP.

“Life Goes On” is an alternative hip-hop track that blends acoustic guitar and soft synth pop to create a relaxed and nostalgic vibe. The lyrics map the group’s thoughts around the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning with a sense of disbelief at the state of the world: “One day the world stopped/ Without warning/ Spring doesn’t know how to wait/ He came here senseless/ A street with erased footprints.” Gradually the outlook gets more hopeful as the members realize that the balm of time and togetherness will help the world move on. “Like an echo in the forest/ The day will come/ As if nothing had happened/ Yeah life goes on.” BTS’ leader RM explained in a press conference earlier this morning that the track was inspired by humanity’s resilience to keep enduring. “Life continues to go on,” he stated. “It is a simple message, but also a very profound truth we wanted to express in our own way.” 

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The music video is directed by the group’s main vocalist Jung Kook and follows the seven members while quarantined in their dorm during the pandemic. They spend most of their time together, playing video games, watching old video clips of themselves on a vacation and reminiscing about the time before the world came to a standstill. While there is some sadness about the current situation, they take comfort in each other and look towards the future, waiting for the day they can meet their ARMY again–signified by a clip of them onstage and surrounded by an ‘audience’ of their official light sticks (much like the set up for their online concert in October ‘Map of the Soul ON:E.’) The video alternates between hazy and crisp clips, creating a seamless back and forth between memories and reality, with the final scene of the group onstage switches to black and white. 

On BE, BTS express their emotions about the tumultuous year that was 2020, reflecting on all the hardships the world has experienced together. “This album is like a page in our diary of the times we are currently living in,” vocalist Jin told Rolling Stone India earlier this month. “The album title ‘BE’ represents ‘being’ and captures the honest thoughts and emotions we are feeling at the moment.” There is a total of eight songs on the record and each track tackles a different aspect of what the group were feeling through the year. In addition to “Life Goes On,” BE comprises the acoustic pop ballad titled “Blue & Grey,” the synth-pop funk number “Telepathy,” old school hip-hop-influenced “Dis-ease” and sub-unit offerings like SUGA, j-hope, Jimin and V’s Neo-soul “Fly To My Room” and RM, Jin and Jung Kook’s EDM ballad “Stay.” The record also includes their Billboard Hot 100 Number One hit “Dynamite.” Additionally, BE marks the first “Skit” on a BTS album in over four years and features a vivid record of the conversations the septet had when they first topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart with “Dynamite.” 

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“This is what we wanted to say through this album. No matter what happens, despite what happens… life goes on,” RM further explained about BE at today’s press conference. “That is the topic, that is the motif. BTS, we always want to talk about or discuss what can we say now, what should we say now. This is where everything starts and this is where [‘Life Goes On’] started as well.”

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