Not bad…not bad at all.

While we really want the boys to take a break because they have been so active in the last few years, we have learned that, similar to The Most Beautiful Moment In Life series, this is the first mini album of a concept set.  We’re guessing the next installment will be out sometime early next year and we’ll have to see if they go for the full album after that or a longer concept this time around.  One thing we are happy about is that they don’t seem to have run out of steam yet despite the pace of output they are doing.  Burnout with as much music as they do is inevitable, but we are really happy to not have to tell the ARMY that their favs are starting to slip.

The sound is a little different that what we’ve come to expect from BTS, but not so different that you can’t hear them in every note of the production and vocals.  We gotten hints of this in their previous sets with the more deep cuts that don’t always appeal to the more pop-bop listeners but are always the tracks that show off their vocals and lyrical abilities the best.  There are lot more acoustics to accompany the typical synth lines for the bulk of the tracks, but there is also Mic Drop which takes them back to their roots with a more refined sound and no cringey videos (we hope) to take away from the solid position of the music.  This album feels like growth despite the short development time but not so much growth that you begin to wonder if the members are becoming more hands-off in their creation in order to keep the quality up.

The position of the tracks seems a little bit off as some songs just don’t join well with the tracks that surround them, but we get the feeling that, just like in the past, the complete special edition album that comes out of this concept will fix some of those wholes with yet-unheard songs and a new progression.  The consistently upbeat nature of all the songs means that the swings between the styles is slightly less noticeable because the general mood of the album is set to “bop.”  The slowest moment is Rap Monster’s Billboard Music Award speech, which should have been placed closer to the beginning as it brings the momentum to a dead stop thanks to the pacing of not editing out the clapping and the walk up to the stage.

The vocals are solid and show the same rate of improvement that we have seen in their previous sets.  The vocals are lot stronger, the harmonies are better placed and implemented, and the leads really do distinguish their personalities well.  Much like BIGBANG, BTS doesn’t often pull out the full group harmony, so when they do it’s a special treat.  Thankfully for us, there is a lot more of that this time around and the songs are better served by it, offering a more dynamic sound over a longer stretch than we sometimes get from them.  We are disappointed that there aren’t more tracks like Butterfly, House Of Cards, or Lie on this, showing off just how the vocal line can captivate on a slower, more emotional track, but (again) we think it’s coming on other parts of the concept.

From what we’ve seen of the lyrics (the album’s only been “officially” out for a few hours at the time of this review), the members still stick the subjects that are deeper than their more youthful sound might suggest.  The songs seems to center around the connection of love between two people and how that helps the members grow as people.  He get the feeling that, once the full translations are revealed, that there is going to be a twist on this concept in some of the later songs that has it centering more the fans or, as the album title suggests, themselves than is immediately obvious.

All in all, we are pretty satisfied with this, though it does feel more incomplete than The Most Beautiful Moment In Life: Part 1 did when it was released.  We’ll see if the hidden tracks on the physical release (we’ll update when we get our copy) and the next part of the EP will help bridge some of the gaps.

Our favorite tracks are DNADimple, and Go Go.  The most skippable track is Best Of Me.