BTS’s newest album “Proof” is the complete finale of the group’s first nine years together, concluding their first chapter in the spotlight while also reminding them to “get ready” for what the future holds.
Nearing the decade anniversary of BTS’s 2013 debut, the success and achievements of the South Korean megagroup in the musical realm have reached global dominance. From their consistent releases of chart-topping songs to their history of breaking records left and right, BTS has left their mark on the world. With the release of “Yet to Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)” and “Proof,” the group’s first chapter has reached its finale. True to their first anthology album’s title, “Proof” is a collection of old, new and demo songs that provide proof of the group’s identity, fans and legacy.
CD 1: The Anthology
The album’s first CD is the culmination of the group’s previous and current albums — a collection of the lead singles from every Korean album by BTS. Ordered according to chronology, the first song is “Born Singer,” an unofficial single released in 2013. The single calls back to the group’s painful entrance into the music industry, making a confession that the group members were born for the stage. In a race through time, the tracklist journeys through the past, taking its listeners from BTS’ humble origins to the global leaders’ present.
Here, “Yet to Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)” makes its mark. The group pays homage to their past, acknowledging its beauty and achievement, but also argues that their “moment is yet to come,” admitting that their dreams and love for music remain. As their feet refuse to remain still, the past nine years have only been the first chapter of their journey, with the best of their lives still yet to come.
CD 2: The Proof
The album’s second CD begins with the group’s second new rock song, “BTS Run.” Detailing their gasoline-fueled run for success, J-Hope takes the final bridge by thanking his fellow groupmates as they have “proved [themselves]” with a “fiery spirit.” But he also calls on them to “get ready” since their future has so much more in store.
The remaining songs of the CD were hand-picked by all the members – following the BTS fanchant order – with each choosing one personal solo and one group song as their “proof.” Honing their album’s title, the selected songs provide proof of the members as not only part of BTS, but also as individuals.
As the many aspects of their identities blend together, RM wonders, “I have all these different ‘me’s, so sometimes it comes as a heavy burden and at times I wonder who the real ‘me’ is.” In a similar manner, V describes feeling lost between V, the artist, and Kim Taehyung.
The remaining members narrate the confusion and insecurity that surround displaying oneself to the world. J-Hope describes wearing a mask to conceal what one is most insecure about, but his proof is the love he received from others regardless of the parts he hides. As Jimin and Suga explain, your “distinct colors” and “personal challenges” are what provide proof of you. Jungkook’s identity lies in his musical performance and impact, declaring the smiles of his loved ones – including Army – as his proof. Meanwhile, Jin shares that the relationship between the “Moon” and the Earth is similar to the connection he has with Army, his proof and a remedy-like dynamic where one cannot be without the other.
After spending much of their youth in the spotlight, the group’s second CD highlights how different identities can live in one individual. However, as people are not made on their own, the tracklist encourages its listeners to not only embrace the many complexities that lie inside them, but also the aspects that form due to relationships with loved ones, whether they be band members or fans.
With the first two tracklists available on digital and physical versions of the album, both fans and non-BTS fans have a perfect introduction to BTS. While the first tracklist presents all lead singles from previous years, allowing listeners to purchase the best without all the albums, the second tracklist provides a bit more depth on the group. With both solo songs and joint collaborations, the unique blend of BTS as individuals and as a group are brought to the spotlight.
CD 3: For Army
Only available in physical print, the final CD is an intimate confession to Army, featuring three new singles and demos for previous hits. Fans are given a look into what might have been while also taking a peek into the work that is put into creating a single song. Yet, the album’s demos show BTS at one of their most vulnerable moments. Until “Proof” was released, the group only released completed songs and albums, choosing to display the finest version of themselves after countless edits took place. Their demos contrast the need for perfection, providing a raw glimpse of the K-pop sensation.
Of the CD’s three new singles, “Young Love,” which features RM and Jungkook, details an innocent and desperate love. Looking only at “The One,” the duo realizes that love can be both consuming and overwhelming. Shifting into a more upbeat tempo, “Quotation Mark” turns its attention to the lover’s failure to be honest, leading to an inability to place a full stop on the relationship.
However, the highlight of the final CD is arguably “For Youth,” which also concludes the anthology album. Beginning the single with fans singing “Epilogue: Young Forever,” a sense of safety, comfort and nostalgia washes over the listener. Looking back on the seasons that BTS and Army have spent together, the song expresses awe at the path that best friends have walked side-by-side, as well as the people they have become.
Concluding “For Youth” and “Proof,” BTS make a lifelong declaration and promise: “I’ll be with you for the rest of my life.”
Unlike the first two tracklists, the final tracklist is truly for fans who are dedicated to purchasing physical prints of BTS albums. This tracklist is for Armys who enjoy listening to demos, collecting and unboxing albums and trading the many photocards that come with them.
Overall, in light of the group’s upcoming hiatus, “Proof” is the perfect closure to the nine years of messages BTS hoped to convey to their listeners. As a group, the decision to create an anthology album displays their pride in their journey thus far and allows both old and new listeners to plunge into the new album without hesitation. Regardless of whether or not you identify as Army, the mark BTS has left on the world is remarkable, and “Proof” is the perfect album to experience it all.
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