“I’m afraid, flying high is terrifying. No one told me how lonely it is up here.” If you ever had any doubts that Korean group BTS weren’t self-aware, look no further than the comeback trailer for BTS’s upcoming album Map of the Soul: 7, "Interlude: Shadow.”
Starring the Korean group’s contemplative rapper Suga (whose real name is Min Yoongi), the track and its haunting visual dropped today shortly after BTS' management, Big Hit Entertainment, announced the group's highly-anticipated fourth Korean-language album and the intricate rollout plan— complete with a "comeback map"—leading up to its February 21 release.
Map of the Soul: 7 follows the group's 2019 EP, Map of the Soul: Persona, inspired by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung's major archetypes of the human mind that make up one's personality as a whole: persona, shadow, ego, and self. BTS explored the personas that they've cultivated as musicians and global superstars in 2019, and now Suga addresses the shadows and darkness that go hand-in-hand with celebrity in the album's opening track.
In the music video, directed by Oui Kim (of the same company who piloted the visuals for Suga's solo work under the name Agust D), Suga stands in a red-streaked hotel lobby surrounded by hooded figures representing his multiple egos and desires: "I wanna be a rap star/ I wanna be the top/ I wanna be a rockstar/ I want it all mine /I wanna be rich/ I wanna be the king/ I wanna go win/ I wanna be..." These shadows also appear throughout the visual as a voracious crowd that shoves flashing cameras into his face and threatens to literally swallow him up.
Never failing to self-reflect, Suga passionately raps over a hip-hop track that samples “Intro: O!RUL8,2?” from the band's 2013 release O!RUL8,2?, much like BTS leader RM's "Intro: Persona" on the previous EP sampled "Intro: Skool Luv Affair" from their 2014 EP of the same name. Suga also mimics a teaser image from 2018's Love Yourself: Answer in another striking visual.
Love Yourself: Answer/ Map Of The Soul:7#ShadowIsHere #BeyondTheShadow #ShadowComebackTrailer #SUGA #Yoongi@BTS_twt pic.twitter.com/E4T6j3beZ0— ू़🌪️ᬽ⃟𝓰𝓾𝓲𝓷𝓱𝓸. (@yoongi__shadow) January 9, 2020
This certainly isn't the first time Suga — and BTS — have acknowledged the darkness that has accompanied their meteoric rise. It's something Suga explored in his recent feature on BTS collaborator and friend Halsey's upcoming album Manic ("Suga's Interlude") and even in a poem he wrote in a 2018 episode of the band's reality series, Run BTS!. "It is true that the more light that burns upon us, the more shadows appear."
What A Relief, by Min Yoongi— wisha⁷ ❄️🌸 (@doyou_bangtan) July 24, 2018
Note: Yoongi has used this metaphor of flying quite often. Consider his response for the Dicon interview (https://t.co/OnGXPfFSMl), and how it was then repeated for 2018 Festa's Hwaeshik/Dinner. pic.twitter.com/Et1n7m8tX0
Some on social media also astutely pointed out that RM addressed this during a press conference in London last year. Many in the media ask the septet how they deal with the pressures of fame and the intimidating fact that they are forging an unprecedented path. BTS' leader and English speaker replied that instead of running away or ignoring the challenges, he focuses on "being friends with the shadows." The dark can't be separated from the light, and must coexist.
‘there’s no getting over the hardships, we have to be friends with the shadows’— lucy jayne ford⁷ (@lucyj_ford) January 9, 2020
they’ve talked so much about the intrinsic bond between the shadow and the person and the symbiosis of learning to live harmoniously as one #shadowishere pic.twitter.com/zRK2O22cGT
Map of the Soul: 7 is set for worldwide release on February 21, at 6:00 PM KST/ 4:00 AM EST. But if this teaser is any indication of what's to come, ARMY is in for a thrilling, twisting road ahead.