With only three new songs on one record, BTS can still move the earth. With most pop stars having to unpack arena shows to make themselves known, the pandemic has been an understandably unpredictable time for many of the world’s most famous musicians. But some of the biggest stars chose to go straight back to releasing music without a hitch, like Taylor Swift’s Double Whammy. folklore and always in 2020, or Billie Eilish, who is fast following her breakout debut just two years later in 2021 Happier than ever. Following these artists, who seemed to sense that fans wanted more new music even without touring, less than a year after their last release, BTS released a massive anthology for fans to delve into.
It’s worth noting that the band also performed a number of one-off shows in huge American markets like LA and Las Vegas to keep their live show in mind, although a full-blown global tour hasn’t made sense to them yet. The world’s biggest boy band clearly won’t let a minor disaster like a pandemic and some kind of exponential energy that’s been building lately stop it. prove is the latest entry in their fast-growing discography, and with a collection of nearly fifty tracks, the album speaks for the band’s progress.
While “Butter,” which was released in 2021, or summer 2020’s “Dynamite,” were what really put the band on the map for some American listeners, BTS have actually been together for quite some time. And for those who study the inevitable trajectory of incredibly successful group action, that longevity is a testament to their patience. They formed over a decade ago, in 2010, and released their debut EP. 2 cool 4 schoolin 2013 – and released a whopping eight albums before 2020 Be, which was anchored by the mainstream hit “Dynamite,” their first all-English language single. The group’s early works are primarily split into Korean- and Japanese-language albums, but more recent releases have prioritized English in their songs, and their success in America strongly correlates with this move. On provethe song selection spans all three phases and is a reminder that these guys aren’t just producing hits in the US – they’re superstars around the world.
Almost ten years after this first publication, prove is more song cycle than record, a sweeping declaration of the band’s global influence and effectively a symposium on their spectrum. With 48 songs divided into two sections – with only the first two available to stream, a third full of rare demos and unreleased material relegated to physical releases only – the seven-strong collective pride themselves on reminding the world of their vastness back catalogue. Each of the album’s three sections also includes a new song, giving listeners something current to chew on even as they delve deeper into the BTS discography.
The first new song, and de facto lead single from the album, is a soft rock track called “Yet To Come,” which ties in with other slower, more introspective tracks from the group, like “Life Goes On.” The band also released a brand new video for this track, which elevates it a bit above the other two with additional visual treatment. The second release, “Run BTS,” feels like a sly homage to another three-letter rap group (Run DMC, natch), doubling down on their hip-hop roots — even if their government isn’t exactly keen on it Connection.
According to reports, that single and another track, “Born Singer,” were banned by Korea’s state television network. Proof marks the first official release of “Born Singer,” which also technically makes it a new song, despite having existed as a SoundCloud loosie for years. The song is a modified version/remix/sample of J Cole’s “Born Sinner” that not only doubles the hip-hop influences the group has always embraced, but also gives an old statement of intent a fitting release. The song originally dropped right after their debut EP, a wild declaration of where they knew they were headed.
The last new track and the only part of prove‘s third act available to stream is another cheesy tune, “For Youth,” and all that emotionality should have prepared listeners for what was likely big news to come. Because of one of the other things prove So effective is it at showcasing each member’s distinctive sound and talents, so the news that they’re focusing on some solo endeavors following this anthology isn’t too surprising. They are aware that this is not a breakup and leaving fans with a great collection of material is definitely a way to bond with The Army until they get back together.
In this context, prove also serves as a memorial – a tribute to what the band once was, an end to an era and the beginning of a new chapter. In that sense, it becomes infinitely more valuable and serves the very purpose it was designed for – to prove its worth.
prove is now available through Big Hit. Stream here.