We weren’t ready!
Note: The first part of this is our review for the original Wings album. Scroll down to see what we thought of the new tracks.
To say that we weren’t really expecting a big change in style or a lot of growth between projects for BTS is an understatement. They’ve barely had any cool down time since they started promoting TMBMIL; we just expected more of the same solid hip-pop. Were we wrong!
While there are still elements of the things that we loved about their previous era here, there is a jump in style and an adult edge that we didn’t see coming at all. Aided by Planet Shiver’s Philtre on production, the distinct EDM air that comes across well and not in the generic way that the over-proliferation of the style in recent years sometimes does. What we get from this set is a softness that only came across in certain sections of the previous album (Converse High, Butterfly, Withered Leaf). There is a lot more R&B, a lot more sensuality, a lot more vocal shows than rapping.
Not that they have completely abandoned the “urban” side of themselves. BTS Cypher 4 is pure bump and makes its nearly five-minute runtime skip by. J-Hope and Jin do a pretty good job with their solos on MAMA and Awake, even if they seem a little out of place in the sequence of the album.
What really impressed up here is the vocals. Everyone does a great job of distinguishing themselves and, despite being a group that is supposed to be more about hip-hop than anything else, they show that they have not let their singing abilities fall to the wayside (as if there was any suspicion they would). The high notes, the adlibs, and the energy they give each song without going overboard is expert and we can’t wait for the singers of this group to get their own solo projects.
While not quite as cohesive as their last full project, this is still worth a listen and will make the #ARMY very happy as it’s, at worst, a lateral move.
Our favorite tracks are Begin, Lie, Stigma, and BTS Cypher 4. The most skippable tracks are MAMA and Awake because they seem to break the flow of what is building before them.
Update: With addition of four new tracks on the You Never Walk Alone rerelease, the overall schema of the album remains intact. The newest single, Spring Day, does break the mood a little with the generic production , but the lyrics are solid and fits with the themes of the album overall. There is definitely more a of EDM feel for the new tracks, but they bring some good energy to the album. The slowest newbie, A Supplementary Story: You Never Walk Alone, brings the best of what we love about BTS to the table; solid vocals and flow, energy, good lyrics, and just a hint of bravado.
If you already own Wings, we suggest waiting until the new album goes up and buy the latest. If you don’t own Wings…still wait. You WANT these new tracks.
We’re adding Not Today and A Supplementary Story: You Never Walk Alone to our favorite tracks list.