After a remarkable year that's included two albums in the Billboard 200 and two headlining arena dates for KCON 2016, BTS is ensuring their streak doesn't slow down with a wholly accessible dance single that's perfect for today's pop soundscape and should help break the K-pop boy band to even greater heights.
"Blood Sweat & Tears" is the lead single off BTS' second full-length album, Wings, and, as the LP title suggests, the internationally beloved band could take off and become even bigger than before. The single boasts a melancholic, emotional sound with BTS' Jimin, Jungkook, and V opting for feathery vocal coos, swirling in beautifully with the impassioned, at-times-grunting deliveries from rappers Suga, Rap Monster and J-Hope. The smoky, electronic-dance breakdown after each chorus sounds like the emotionally tinged, genre-bending chart toppers of Major Lazer and Justin Bieber. In fact, it wouldn't totally surprise us to hear Major Lazer remixing "Blood Sweat & Tears" and throwing Bieber into the mix. That's how accessible this song is in 2016.
If BTS' past releases were focused on youth and how adolescent represented the "most beautiful moment in life" (the titles of their last EPs), their latest music video has the guys embracing the more complex and darker elements of the world. The septet look more mature than ever as they explore a museum, drink colorful elixirs, wear blindfolds and blow smoke. But they include some playful, childlike elements too—those gleeful grins, the lollipops and the way they jump to and from the camera.
“'Blood Sweat & Tears' is a wholly accessible dance single, perfect for today's pop soundscape and should help break the band to even greater heights”
The most poignant moment comes when Jin finds a white, concrete angel with a black wing—a typical metaphor to represent how nothing is perfect—and is compelled to kiss it. Cut to V posed with wings ripped out of his back—once again, seemingly to indicate the acceptance of imperfection that an angel could lose his wings. If anything, BTS may be moving into a more experimental and personal realm of their careers as they begin to open their fans' eyes to how nothing is 100 percent perfect (including, *gulp*, themselves) a large statement in the K-pop world where everything is pushed to be totally pristine and controversy-free.
As previously reported, Wings could mark a major moment for BTS as they look to make chart history for Korean acts in America if they land a third album on charts stateside. That accomplishment is looking likely as Wings flew to No. 1 on the overall U.S. iTunes Top Albums chart. "Blood Sweat & Tears" is Top 30 on the overall Top Singles chart. Fans will undoubtedly have loads of fun playing and replaying the video to find deeper meanings in the new visual, while streaming the hell out of Wings. The 15-track album has a solo song by each member, and longtime fans will also be treated by the fourth iteration of their "BTS Cypher" tracks, titled "BTS Cypher 4."
Listen to a special report from Fuse's K-pop podcast K-Stop below to learn how BTS could break even bigger in America with Wings at the 45:00 mark: