THE LATEST (September 18)
The wait is over.
BTS' new album Love Yourself 'Her' is officially available everywhere. Upon its release, the album shot to No. 1 on the U.S. iTunes Top Albums chart and sent every song into the Top 200 of the Top Songs chart. Lead single "DNA" was already in the Top 20 within the first four hours of the song's release. The video to the album's lead single was revealed alongside the full LP, which you can watch below:
You can stream the album below via Spotify:
Read on for everything else you need to know about Love Yourself: Her including notes about the music, the album rollout, production details and much much more.
THE BUILD UP
BTS' latest album Wings broke records at home (the South Korean Gaon chart reported it broke their record for highest-selling album in the chart's history), in America (earning the best week sales ever for a K-pop album in the U.S.) and around the world (even hitting No. 62 in the U.K.). The LP gave the band their first million-selling record in Korea and moved about 25,000 copies in America in its first month. With a hugely successful accompanying tour and a major spotlight put on them when they won Top Social Artist at the Billboard Music Awards, BTS and their fans have made them one of the most exciting K-pop acts to watch.
After a successful deluxe version of Wings was release titled You Never Walk Alone in February—that landed the band another sweeping success with its single "Spring Day" becoming a minor hit stateside—rumors began swirling that the band would keep their momentum going with a late-2017 release.
On July 4, BTS unveiled a new logo (or "brand identity," as they called it) sharing that their name BTS not only stood as an abbreviation for the Korean term "Bangtan Sonyeondan" (or “bulletproof boy scouts” in English), but now would mean "Beyond the Scene" perhaps indicating the group was aiming their next release to a more global market. The accompanying new image was also supposed to represent the connection the group has with their fans, the passionate fanbase known as Army. See the new design below:
As expected from the band, the members are reported to be heavily involved in the writing and producing of their new music.
On Aug. 23, it was revealed that Love Yourself 'Her' would feature a hidden track written and produced by BTS leader Rap Monster.
The Sept. 6 reveal of the "Serendipity" comeback trailer heavily hints that the intro track to the album will be "Serendipity" similar to how the comeback trailers for "Boy Meets Evil" was the intro track for Wings and "Nevermind" for Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 2.
On Sept. 10, the band's Korean record label Big Hit Entertainment shared that "Closer" hitmakers The Chainsmokers contributed to a new track titled "Best of Me." According to reports, Chainsmokers' producer/singer Andrew Taggart teamed up with the rap line of BTS on the writing and production of track, which likely means we'll see credits from members Rap Monster, Suga, J-Hope and potentially Jungkook on the track.
The Chainsmokers and BTS met up at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards where the EDM duo won four awards and the K-pop phenoms won the Top Social Artist award. See a selfie that they took that weekend:
Sept. 12 brought the full tracklist with nine songs, two titles of which are in Korean, but have been translated below:
1. Intro: Serendipity
3. Best of Me
5. Pied Piper
6. Skit: Billboard Music Awards Speech
7. Mic Drop
8. Go Rather Than Worrying
9. Outro: Her
Don't forget the album was confirmed to feature at least one hidden track helmed by Rap Monster.
While BTS is known for sharing a few different visuals for the tracks on their albums, so far it looks like the only confirmed full MV will be for single "DNA."
The first music video teaser was released on Sept. 14 featuring BTS member Jungkook walking towards the camera, subtly whistling before meeting up with six band members. A powerful whistling sound takes over the video, indicating "DNA" could be centered around a catchy whistle hook for maximum mainstream and accessible appeal.
The second teaser came a day later on Sept. 15 and showcased vibrant solo shots of the members and a heavy electro-pop sound.
After a mysterious countdown clock was posted on BTS' official site with no prior warning and no indication of what was to come, the band revealed the first official hint at new music with their 'Serendipity' Comeback Trailer starring BTS vocalist Jimin on Sept. 4.
The gorgeous new song lets the singer show off a few vocal acrobatics over a slew of trap-inspired beats. We get to hear two-and-a-half minutes of the track so it's likely that "Serendipity" is either a solo song by Jimin on the upcoming release (similar to what the band did by releasing snippet videos of each member's solo songs for their 2016 Wings album) or perhaps the album's intro track (like how "Boy Meets Evil" Comeback Trailer starred J-Hope ahead of Wings).
As well, BTS' site has been revamped with a sunset-like color palette with the newly redesigned BTS logo boasting a blend of orange, pink, purple and blue tones, which may indicate the colors of the album packaging or feel to the upcoming music videos.
On Sept. 6, the pop sensations brought fans one step deeper into the visuals of their upcoming comeback album by revealing a slew of new concept photos for the album.
In the "L Version" of the Love Yourself 'Her' concept photos, the band members are seen in casual-yet-luxurious pajama-like outfits that give a sense of sophistication, yet comfortability. See exciting new hair colors from the guys including a soft orange on Rap Monster, a dark turquoise on Suga plus with a bright red on J-Hope.
Meanwhile, the "O Version" sees the guys in a gorgeous, sunset-soaked cloud fantasy and plays along with the new color scheme hinted on the band's newly redesigned website.
The "V" and "E" versions are expected to come shortly.
In the "V" of the Love Yourself 'Her' concept photos, the band members are seen in playful and colorful outfits, giving off a bit of a punky vibe.
In the "E Version" sees the guys do up the playful vibe with colorful, sport-inspired looks and outfits—member Jimin is even holding a basketball in his solo shot.
The official kickoff of BTS' "Love Yourself" comeback began on Aug. 10, 2017 with a poster of member Jungkook curiously in a wheelchair, revealed via the Twitter account for BTS' Korean record label BigHit Entertainment.
BigHit explained through a press release, "The poster is really a teaser for the concept of the 'Love Yourself' series which is filled with clues as to what is to come next. BTS is always wanting to keep their fans guessing and excited as the concept is rolled out."
The other six member posters were revealed the next day on Aug. 11, with "Love Yourself" written in the same font. In order of their reveal, see the posters for Suga, Jimin, Rap Monster, V, J-Hope, and Jin. with phrases that give insight to the members' different thoughts on love. See them below along with a translations of their phrases:
"Don't come closer. You'll become unhappy."
"I lied, because there's no reason to love someone like me."
"I watch you from behind, only, because now is not the time."
"Would you not have left me if I had made different choice."
"If you can shine, I'm okay."
"If I can turn back time, I want to be the best man in the world."
POSTERS, PT. 2
Just a day after unveiling a teaser poster featuring member, the group's record label BigHit Entertainment shared a new set of posters featuring the seven singers on Aug. 12.
Each poster seems to show both a light and dark side (such as one poster showing a brightly smiling J-Hope contrasted with Jimin looking somber in a dark room), possibly indicating a range of emotions and moods for the upcoming release. The members share posters except for Jin, featured on his own. See below.
BTS continued to keep the intrigue high over their upcoming musical comeback by releasing the first "Love Yourself Highlight Reel" video on Aug. 15 that had the Korean word "起" (or "Root") in its title. In the visual, we see the members connecting or interacting with a female co-star in a visual that almost feels like a Korean drama. All the members seem to have a crush on a different woman except for J-Hope, who seems to be shown being abandoned by his mother at a young age.
It all feels almost like a K-drama (which many K-pop fans also adore along with the music) making fans think there could be an accompanying drama or film to the new music.
After releasing the first "Love Yourself Highlight Reel," BTS followed with another set of intriguing visuals. We see the guys still fawning over different love interests with the storyline getting deeper as a voiceover narrates, "The sound of cicadas that chirred like showers end in an instant. In the abrupt silence, I realize life's immense beauty...Even if this were a dream, this is where I choose to be. Why is it that the happiest moments usher in such fear?"
Once again, the visuals all feels almost like a K-drama (which many K-pop fans also adore along with the music) making fans think there could be an accompanying drama or film to the new music.
Yet the notable difference in this video's title and the visual released on Aug. 15 (see below) is this time the word "承" is in the title. The video released a day earlier had the word "起" in it earlier. Some fans are thinking these characters will eventually spell out "起承转合" (which roughly translates to "transference") to either title the video series or hint the next step in BTS' musical story. For their Wings album, BTS released a slew of short films that teased out the member's individual solo songs on the LP (see Rap Monster's "Reflection" or Jin's "Awake" short film). Could these words be hinting at song titles? Episode titles? "起" roughly translates to "root" in Korean...is it a reference to flowers? It's all still a big mystery, but fans know to always be looking for hints from the BTS and their company.
Fans have also noticed the same "Smeraldo" flower that many have theorized is part of BTS' comeback (read on below for all the theories) is seen in this video. Will the flower The triangular blue flower makes an appearance when member Jin is looking through his love interest's lost journal:
Wait its smerlado in her diary, in the blog, a person came to buy it and by how the person wrote the customer IT was jin af WHTS HAPPENING pic.twitter.com/XIMFkDpwQi— Highlight Reel-DEATH (@ohmanholy_kook) August 16, 2017
A third "Love Yourself" highlight reel soon followed. This time, the adrenaline is high and the mood is dark.
Jin continues as narrator, musing "Looking back, I had known all along that underneath the glittering world before my eyes lay my deception. That everything was to collapse with a breath of wind." Jin (looking extremely cute) is driving through the night, glancing at a polaroid picture of what looks like all the boys together in happier times. He's got a smile plastered on his face, and we can guess that he's going to meet a girl–maybe the one that dropped the journal?
As the cinematic music swells, V and his girl companion (some have guessed V's comrade represents his guilt) start running from the cops after vandalizing a bus stop. Rap Monster is still chillin' on the bus and eventually gets dropped at the graffiti-covered stop, Jungkook (not in a wheelchair!) is ready to joyfully deliver a bouquet of flowers to someone, and J-Hope and Jimin are seen dancing in separate rooms.
The cuts become faster as we see each of the members starting to collapse into disarray. While Jin speeds up his driving, Jimin falls and hurts himself, J-Hope carries his dance partner through the rain, Suga bangs on a piano angrily. It all comes to a head when we see the fatal car accident–but who gets hit is NOT who we thought it'd be. This is sure to turn a lot of fan theories on their head.
The highlight reel tetralogy completed on Friday, Aug. 18! The clip rehashes footage we've already seen, but has a dramatic ending that might be the final clue as to what Jin's been up to in these reels.
Fans also noticed that parts of this clip reference previous BTS music videos, such as the Japanese version of "Blood Sweat & Tears," "Run," "I Need U" and Jin's solo Wings film, "Awake." See the final installment below:
It appears that the BTS boys were already hinting at their new concept on major U.S. television when they received the award for Top Social Artist at the 2017 BBMAs. Leader Rap Monster told the audience while referencing the group's passionate fanbase known as Army: "Please, Army, remember what we say: Love myself, love yourself."
While it's not confirmed if that was a true hint to the new music, it does seem to align.
"SMERALDO": A fan's theory about BTS' latest concept went viral and seemed to indicate an intricate thought process behind the release. Details have been gathered on various websites, noting everything began when member Jin shared a photo on BTS' accounts of himself holding a bouquet of flowers with the caption "Smeraldo":
Smeraldo is not a real word nor flower, but fans quickly went into action looking up possible meanings with one finding a florist's blog who is opening a shop called "Flower Smeraldo." Fans noticed one of the images on the blog was titled "BTS_Smerlado" and that an Instagram account was also opened under the name "Flower Smeraldo" featuring flowers similar to the ones Jin posted.
More connections began popping up as fans noticed the smeraldo flower shop would open in September, the same month BTS was scheduled to release their comeback album. There is also mention of "The Smeraldo Academy" opening on September 12, 2013 a.k.a. the birthday of BTS leader Rap Monster. Even more curious is how the blog was created on July 4 a.k.a. the same day BTS unveiled their new logo and name meaning.
Fans have been running amock trying to piece the supposed clues together with some thinking they connect BTS' story from past albums:
Whatever it all means, it all appears the BTS guys have been thinking long and hard about their next musical step with the flower idea only further pushed with Jin's poster reveal:
On Aug. 13, BTS' record label BigHit Entertainment shared an image on Twitter called "The Notes" with text in Korean.
Trusted translations of the text tell a fascinating story, all ending with Jungkook getting into a car accident which connects to the BTS singer being depicted in a wheelchair in his poster.
En las publicaciones anteriores lo encontré en inglés. pic.twitter.com/2NLRl589dC— Lillyan Elizabeth (@LoLillyan) August 13, 2017
Love Yourself 'Her'
RELEASE DATE AND TIME
September 18, 2017 at 5:00AM EST
It has also been confirmed that the "Love Yourself" concept will continue through 2018 possibly indicating multi-part EPs or deluxe or repackaged albums.
Love Yourself 'Her' album was put up for pre-sale exclusively via Amazon on Aug. 29. Fans can order the album and rest easy that their purchases still count for America's Billboard chart and Korea's Hanteo and Gaon chart too. Check out the pre-order here.
Despite an initial press release announcing BTS' next release would be an EP (or "mini-album" as known in South Korea), the official word is that it is currently undecided if BTS will return with a full-length release, EP or single. While a U.S. press release referred to Love Yourself 'Her' as a new album, Korean media reported it as a mini-album.
It's been confirmed that Love Yourself 'Her' will be released four different versions. Even more exciting, those who order the physical album package will receive a package containing a CD, a 100-page photobook, 20-page mini-book, stickers, one randomly assigned photo card (of 28 photocards + one special photocard that will be printed in limited quantities) a poster, and other fan exclusives.
Keep yourself occupied while you wait for more BTS news with the latest episode of Fuse's K-pop podcast K-Stop where we discuss how Love Yourself: Her could smash in America: