Bangtan are officially back with their third full-length Japanese album, ‘Face Yourself‘!
The album neatly packages together the Japanese versions of tracks from their 2017 releases ‘Love Yourself‘ and ‘You Never Walk Alone‘ (not to mention their two 2017 Japanese mini-albums), as well as four shiny new original tracks, ‘INTRO: Ringwanderung‘, ‘Don’t Leave Me‘, ‘Let Go‘, and ‘OUTRO: Crack‘.
Let’s break down the new tracks
1. INTRO: Ringwanderung
The first track runs almost like an essay introduction, taking us through the paces of the album by mixing trace elements of tracks we’re already familiar with (a line from ‘Best of Me‘, a building drumbeat from ‘Not Today‘), and persuading us to believe in something new, with hints of something fresh, and somehow almost complementary in feeling to J-Hope‘s recent mix-tape, Hopeworld.
The name ‘Ringwanderung‘ itself is an allusion to a German concept of wandering or journeying in a circle; if you consider the ‘INTRO‘ and ‘OUTRO‘ together, and independent of the other tracks on the album, you’ll find that they really do seem to encircle the tracks that come in-between.
7. Don’t Leave Me
Both ARMYs and drama fans alike eagerly waited for tonight’s release of OST track ‘Don’t Leave Me‘. It’s destined to be the main theme song of the Japanese remake of hugely popular 2016 TvN crime drama Signal, also premiering this month. From perusing a few English translations of the lyrics, we can definitely say that the track was purpose written for the series!
We heard some early snippets of the track during Japanese TV promotions last week of course, but we could never have prepared ourselves for just how powerful BTS‘ vocals would be at full quality; the chorus surges with huge, heart-wrenching presence out of nowhere, after the relatively ethereal tones and subtle rap stylings used throughout both verses and bridge.
You’ll be able to find several of the Officially Kmusic editors getting emotional over the Signal opening credits every week; we don’t need 100% Eng subs to understand V‘s soulful crooning!
11. Let Go
‘Let Go‘ showcases an unwavering falsetto from maknae Jungkook from the first note, and flowing sing-song rap styles from RM and J-Hope reminiscent of their respective verses from ‘Fools‘ (Troye Sivan cover) and ‘Spring Day‘. Suga, a true king of consistency, barely needs to take a breath to make a point, and the high notes that Jin hits in ‘Crystal Snow‘ are no stranger to his clear register here.
The deceptively upbeat ballad is brimful of heartbreak and star-crossed goodbyes; steel yourself if you haven’t read the lyrics yet!
12. OUTRO: Crack
Last but certainly not least, the short closing title is a crooning, jazzy, house beat, perfectly paired with V‘s quiet, breathy vocals and a few short samples from ‘Let Go‘. On listening to the last song, we can also safely conclude that three out of four of the original tracks open with V‘s vocals; is this a hint for the next Korean comeback intro BigHit..?
…So, what do we think?
Bangtan‘s original Japanese tracks always have something outstanding to offer, and present a distinctly different feel aside from their Korean releases (‘For You‘ is another favourite that comes to mind).
We haven’t reviewed the new versions of existing tracks, as the main adjustment we’ll need to make besides a couple of surprise notes and some slightly heavier auto-tune, is learning to sing in Japanese in the shower.
‘Face Yourself‘ is an expectedly solid release from the group, and a promising prelude to their impending Korean comeback!
BTS ‘MIC Drop’ Japanese ver MV (released 5 Dec)
BTS ‘Blood, Sweat & Tears’ Japanese ver MV (released 9 May)
BTS ‘Face Yourself’ TV Spot
The Japanese MVs for ‘Blood, Sweat & Tears‘ and ‘MIC Drop‘ above were released as part of their 2017 promotions, and so far there’s been no news of a music video to accompany tonight’s release!
That being said, here’s the official album trailer, released just a few days ago by Universal Music Japan to tide you over!
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Writer/Editor: Carmel-Lee Skinner
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