We had three nagging thoughts when we saw that Love Yourself: Answer was going to be a repackage. The first thought was us still wondering if this was going to still be a four-part series if the repackage is coming so soon. Our second thought was that we now see why Nicki Minaj’s Queen was briefly slated for an August 24 release date. Our third thought was that calling this a repackage is cheating a little because this contains enough new material for a new album.
We’ve seen BTS do reissues of combined projects before, namely TMBIL:YF, and while it did contain new material, it wasn’t so much new stuff to warrant their own release. There are eight entirely new tracks here–several of which are labeled in a way (Trivia 起) that says they came from another project–and the blessed full version of Jimin’s Serendipity which could have easily been released as a new album unto themselves with enough remixes left over for extending the life of the project. But, taken alone without the surrounding older tracks, these new ones don’t hold up as well. Yes; the songs are mostly happy, bouncy, bright, and extremely danceable, but they aren’t (for the most part) the kinds of songs that non-stans will come back to in a few months. These tracks are the definition of filler and could not stand alone without some serious reworking.
Not that the songs are awful, mind you; they just aren’t as solid as we have come to expect from this group. Most of these songs could come on during random play and we would not turn them off. The fact that the rap line is featured so prominently is reason enough to enjoy some of them…however briefly. Our issue is that we wouldn’s seek them out either, making them just something to fill the air as we travel or go about other business.
Speaking of the rap line, another reason for release these tracks this way (besides the quality of the tracks) is because of who actually features on the tracks when put together as a unit. If you play just the new stuff together, you find that these tracks feature RM, Suga, and J-Hope most prominently. Not that we mind; we love the rap line as a unit in a way that eclipses the way we feel about the group as a whole. But we wish they had just included Ddaeng and called given us real fire from these three.
Still, if you haven’t purchased a physical copy of either of the previous two albums, this makes this a hell of a buy. The photobook that comes along with it is going to be gorgeous and the combination of tracks is enough to make it worth the price. If you have already purchased both physical or digital LY albums, we suggest you take a listen to the new songs and see if you want to expend the extra capital for what you’re getting.
Our favorite new tracks are Serendipity (Full Length Version) and Trivia: Love. The most skippable track is Answer: Love Yourself because, just like So What, it’s a hard fit for the rest of the album and works better as a concert closer than a playable track.