Unpredictable as always, Big Hit Entertainment released the first two full sets of concept images early this morning for BTS‘ impending comeback with ‘Love Yourself: 結 Answer‘.
Taken from Versions S and E (S, E, L, F in totality) of the two-disc deluxe repackaged album, the teasers are rich in metaphor and intertexuality, emanating an unsettling beauty, that both draws and averts the eye of the viewer.
The concept for Version S is, in summary, an expensive, avant garde, carnival-themed re-imagining of the surveillance and social control rife throughout George Orwell’s well-known literary masterpiece, ‘1984‘. If you’re not familiar, it might be useful to do some light research before the comeback – if you’re a younger ARMY however, proceed with caution, as Orwell deals with much darker thematic content than RM‘s usual reading recommendations.
Other works cited by BTS, their fans, and Big Hit Entertainment CEO Hitman Bang in relation to the album are ‘Into the Magic Shop: A Neurosurgeon’s Quest to Discover the Mysteries of the Brain and the Secrets of the Heart‘ by Dr James R. Doty, ‘Jung’s Map of the Soul: An Introduction‘ by Murray Stein, and ‘Foucault’s Pendulum‘ by Umberto Eco.
In the images for Version S, all members are draped and buttoned into an assortment of clothes in the most exotic textures, the intricate detailing of their outfits standing out against the deep, ruby red of the sets. Vocal powerhouse and eldest member Jin, the perpetual centre of the ‘Love Yourself ‘series, is incandescent in balloons of white silk; we’re reminded of Pierrot the Clown‘s mournful figure, but with an unprecedented level of haute couture in the place of pantomime.
Version E turns a sudden corner, with a juxtaposition in concept that leaves us reeling at a brand new pastel aesthetic. Fans have been particularly focused on Jungkook in this second set of teasers, posting theories about his funerary style costume, in relation to the group’s lyrics from their last title track, ‘Fake Love‘.
Although undeniably pretty in all its floral glory, this concept is genuinely darker than it first appears. The scale of the bubbles reflect an uncomfortable quarantine, with each member frozen in place to create the perfect beauty within. The group image is the most telling of this set however, as the marionette-esque puppet strings and wind-up keys allude again to control, conformance and restriction. The childlike innocence implied by these toy-like elements could also be seen as the pressure of an industrial demand for eternal youth, just one of the many potential trappings of idolatry and fame.
Will the concept photos for Versions L and F continue this film noir theme of suffocation and fear, or will BTS escape and discover the answer that’s been just outside of their grasp since the beginning of their HYYH era? We’ll be staying up until 12am KST tonight to find out.
This final instalment in the ‘Love Yourself‘ series is due for release on August 24, with the title track MV (as yet uknown) to be unveiled at 6:00pm KST, and their comeback stage already announced for the first day of the ‘Love Yourself Tour‘ in Seoul at Jamsil Olympic Stadium on August 25 (and August 26).
Version E: V
ICYMI: Another day, another record broken with BTS and ARMY
In slightly unrelated but impressive news, BTS have officially broken Justin Beiber‘s longstanding record, holding the #1 spot on the Billboard’s Social 50 Chart for 57 consecutive weeks. Congratulations to BTS and their ARMY!
Leave those post notifications turned on, as Officially Kmusic continues to break down the latest BTS updates for you, and in case you missed it, here’s a link to our review of Jin‘s long-awaited, penultimate comeback trailer for ‘Epiphany‘.
Writer/Editor: Carmel-Lee Skinner