BTS - IDOL

 
 

 

It's been just over three months since the internationally-famous boy group laid "Fake Love" onto us. As is rapidly growing to be the norm in K-pop, that means it's due time for a comeback, and thus, BTS has now released "IDOL." I didn't really check out the teasers for this song, exception being the one music video teaser that we got just the other day, but seeing as BTS is the lead group in the scene, my expectations were pretty high.

The Song

I have to admit that the audio teaser sounded a lot more friendly on the ears than what we actually ended up getting. Is that a bad thing? I'm going to go with no, not necessarily. For me, personally, I thought the song was a bit too messy, loud, and overall a lot less BTS-flavored and more internationally-oriented than I would have liked to see the group go. As I mentioned in my last review, I was happy to see that their worldwide popularity hadn't become a major influence on their style. With this release, however, it seems that my statement isn't as relevant or true.

I complain about it every time, and I've got to complain about it again this time - the chanting chorus nonsense does not make your song catchier. Please for the love of God, please somebody get music producers to stop including them. The verses were okay, but I think I found my issue with them being that they never felt like they were driving the song forward. It just kind of felt like there wasn't a direction the song was moving in, and it hurt my enjoyment of the song quite a bit. Well, that and the over-abundance of auto-tune. 

That aside, I do think the song has its own merits as well. Individually I do think that the instruments were nice and came across in an interesting manner, I just had troubles sorting them out against one another and the more present vocal melodies. As I just said, the vocal melodies were nice and upfront and they grab your attention as most any BTS track does. The whistle (no, not a psuedo mouth-whistle) instrument is, surprisingly, one that's somehow managed to remain fairly absent in a majority of K-pop, so that was kind of a refreshing piece to hear in this track. There was at least callback (Anpanman) that I managed to catch in the song, as well as a possible reference to the popular television show Running Man, though I'm sure with my lacking in Korean overall I missed more than a few others.

There's an undeniable level of energy to the track as well, and I think that's my biggest takeaway from the track overall. It's a fun and enjoyable song for the most part. There is this kind of awkward blending of trying to go a bit harder, especially towards the end of the track, but I personally don't think that it ended up mixing so well with the more lighthearted portions. It felt a bit at odds with itself in that regard. While it may not be my favorite BTS track, I appreciate that they tried something incredibly different for themselves here. 

The Video

I think that this is where a lot of conversations are really going to be concerning themselves. This video is a wild ride of drug-induced proportions, and I don't say that with any sort of exaggeration. From the over-saturated color tones, odd choices of imagery, outfits, and just general scenes included in this video, everything feels like your craziest dreams visualized with BTS at the center. I don't think that there's any sense to really make of this video, and I'll just assume that it's supposed to be a weird, trippy experience.

That all being said, I really did enjoy this video. There's a ton of scenes that are slotted for fan service, and after how much progress these guys have made all over the world this past year, I think that's perfect. The outfits are interesting and even when they're plastered against an army (pun intended) of backup dancers, they managed to keep the boys as the focal point. Even though all of the imagery is incredibly bizarre, there's still a heavy BTS-like vibe present in the video, and it really does seem like the group has managed to retain their charms even with all of this extra attention on them.

I'm not the most knowledgeable BTS fan by any means, so I'm sure that there are a ton of references and images packed throughout that I simply wouldn't understand, but that's fantastic for ARMYs to sift through and explore. Overall, I think that this video was fun, even though a tad nonsensical. I can't remember the last time that I watched a BTS video and didn't have to try and figure out some galaxy brain IQ puzzle of a plot, so I was definitely glad to be able to relax and just enjoy myself this time around.

Conclusion

"IDOL" is the culmination of BTS's growing international popularity and their mainstay charms from the past five years of their career. Ultimately, it seems to personify the group's journey forward from here. While it may not be my personal musical taste, I think that this will undoubtedly be a crowd pleaser, especially amongst the fans across the world. If you're a fan of BTS then this is certainly worth checking out, but it's also great if you're into a more interesting mix of styles and genres.