Review: Love Yourself 轉 Tear by BTS

Love Yourself 轉 Tear by BTSDespite what some overzealous fans might say, BTS is not revolutionizing K-pop. They’re not the only ones with the particular sound they have. That said, not everybody gets to be popular enough break out of Korea, or out of dedicated K-pop circles. And BTS did so not because their seven members look good (as is the stereotype with Korean acts) but because their songs really do hit the spot. The expectations surrounding Love Yourself 轉 Tear are much higher: it’s been a year since they really rocked the United States and had their music press salivating and their producers running to get first dibs. (There is a second collaboration with Steve Aoki.) They don’t disappoint. Perhaps knowing where they are now – a position only a few K-pop acts ever find themselves in – helped them. In fact, I’ll dare say Tear is better than its predecessor, Love Yourself 承 Her, in its cohesion and laser-focus. It doesn’t show everyone off, but it’s rare in K-pop for albums to not sound like compilations (although “Airplane Part 2”, an extension of a track from J-Hope’s Hope World mixtape, does stick out). I’ll admit I was more engrossed with this record than what came before, particularly the first half, with the focus on a relationship’s breakdown. But then, that’s what the too celebratory “So What” is supposed to end with, yes? [NB]4/5

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