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BTS’ ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’ conquers the U.S.—on Twitter, at least
It’s finally here.
What a day to be a fan of South Korean boy band BTS. That’s an acronym for Bangtan Sonyeondan or “Beyond the Scene,” but seemingly everyone stateside will know that soon enough.
The septet—made of members RM (Kim Namjoon), Jin (Kim Seokjin), Suga (Min Yoongi), J-hope (Jung Hoseok), Jimin (Park Jimin), V (Kim Taehyung), and Jung Kook (Jeon Jeong-guk)—dropped their highly anticipated comeback album, Map of the Soul: Persona, as well as the music video for their lead single, “Boy With Luv” featuring American singer Halsey, on Friday.
On Friday morning, seven of the top 10 Twitter trends in the U.S. were related to BTS, according to Trends 24.
— BigHit Entertainment (@BigHitEnt) April 12, 2019
There’s a lot to unpack —from the songs to the video to Ed Sheeran to the fan reactions on Twitter—so let’s break this down one trending hashtag at a time.
The K-pop superstars’ sixth EP, Map of the Soul: Persona features seven songs, two of which feature collaborations with two other artists: apart from Halsey, the boys also collaborated with Ed Sheeran, this time on the song “Make It Right.” BTS’ Suga teased this in December when he tweeted about a song he was working on, tagging Sheeran (who penned the song), and saying, “This is for you.”
There’s no word yet on whether “Make It Right” will be the next song to get a music video, or if Map of the Soul will become a compilation album to form a series like the chart-topping Love Yourself.
Now available on digital media platforms, Map of the Soul: Persona comes less than a year after BTS dropped Love Yourself: Answer, the third and final Korean-language compilation album in BTS’ series that featured record-breaking track “Idol” as its lead single.
If the anticipation and reaction to the release are any indications, BTS is sure to be topping charts very soon.
So far, it’s the boy band’s most preordered album, according to its distribution management company, surpassing 3,021,822 copies on Friday alone and breaking its previous record of 1.51 million copies set by Love Yourself: Answer.
Rounding up the tracklist are songs “Intro: Persona,” “Mikrokosmos,” “Home,” “Jamais Vu,” and “Dionysus.” There are theories about the meaning behind some of these songs that you can read about here and here—for K-pop fans, that’s half the fun.
According to MTV, Map of the Soul is a concept from Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. “It’s specifically referring to a book by Murray Stein, titled Jung’s Map Of The Soul, which is even being sold in their Korean management company’s online store. In the video for ‘Intro: Persona,’ RM is confronted with many different versions of himself, while words like ‘persona,’ ‘shadow,’ and ‘ego’ are seen scribbled on a classroom chalkboard behind him. This is a direct reference to Jung’s theories,” writes MTV’s Crystal Bell.
If Twitter trends are any indication, the songs “Dionysus” (the Greek god), “Jamais Vu” (French for “never seen”), and “Mikrokosmos” just might become the next big hits. Some even want the powerful “Dionysus” played at their funeral.
— bts edits (@mindales) April 12, 2019
Dionysus is my favorite song, by FAR. wow I'm speechless.
THIS SONG IS SO GOOD WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK? JIN???? THOSE NOTES???? WHAT THE HELL.
— 3M preorders. PERIOD. (@Jin_Butterfly) April 12, 2019
When my playlist went from
— ᴀɴɴᴇ #BoyWithLuv (@astaelogymoon) April 12, 2019
THIS HOW DIONYSUS MAKES ME FEEL SKDJDJJD pic.twitter.com/pQ1wg31yMv
— jenna ♡ 36 (@ctrItaegi) April 12, 2019
“’Mikrokosmos’ makes me want to run in a forest and ride a horse,” tweeted @ask_bts_stuff.
— Sarah°˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖° (@ask_bts_stuff) April 12, 2019
Update: I can’t stop crying.
And I haven’t even gotten past Mikrokosmos because I’ve fallen deeply in love with this song and I may or may not have been playing it in a loop.@BTS_twt #PERSONAWelcomeParty #BTSCOMEBACK2019 #MAP_OF_THE__SOUL_PERSONA
— PERSONA album GA(s) (@iBangtanholic) April 12, 2019
And then after all the “cute and fun and happy” songs, there’s “Jamais Vu” ripping fans’ hearts out. The lovesick breakup ballad has been received with reaction memes.
— S🍑PH (@lavenderyoongs) April 12, 2019
wait jamais vu is hitting home pic.twitter.com/VWxWGRGTfc
— heba with luv (@rainberryvmin) April 12, 2019
The names of members Yoongi, Jimin, and Hoseok trended too, with fans gushing about how they sounded in the songs.
@blurbts thinks Yoongi’s voice dropped “5,000 octaves.”
is it just me or did yoongis voice drop like 5000 octaves KSJSKSJS
— phoebe (@blurbts) April 12, 2019
YOONGIS VOICE IN HIS VERSE CAUGHT ME OFF GUARD I WAS LIKE HELLO ?!?! WHO IS THIS ?!?!?
— ✰ (@douxslvt) April 12, 2019
Some were caught off guard by Yoongi’s verse in “Boy With Luv,” which features surprisingly poignant rapping.
— “ (@JHSDlONYSUS) April 12, 2019
OK BUT YOONGIS RAP ON BOY WITH LUV AHSNJANSUXJD
— 방탄소년단! (@JHSMlCDROP) April 12, 2019
— ♡ (@myoonjins) April 12, 2019
Fans loved Hoseok’s vocals in “Make It Right” and “Jamais Vu,” as well as his dance moves in the latest music video.
— jungoo (@loveyanochu) April 12, 2019
— ᴺᴺ | 𝙃𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙 💫 (@jhside18) April 12, 2019
— ᴺᴺ | 𝙃𝙤𝙥𝙚𝙒𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙 💫 (@jhside18) April 12, 2019
— ʜᴏʟʟʏ (@mygrokosmos_) April 10, 2019
@beemyhope_ pointed out to everyone that Hoseok wrote Dionysus.
“Hoseok’s versatility in this album… Who is doing it like him literally, who?” @tinieseok asked Twitter.
hoseoks versatility in this album.. WHO is doing it like him literally wHO
“Boy With Luv,” an upbeat and highly catchy English-Korean pop song and the septet’s first single of 2019, is poised to set new records with the release of its summer-ready music video, which also dropped on Friday. It reportedly caused its management Big Hit Entertainment’s YouTube channel to become “down briefly as fans flocked to watch the video for the lead single,” Kpop Herald reports.
— Kpop Herald (@Kpop_Herald) April 12, 2019
— Laura Ritchie (@laura_ritchievr) April 12, 2019
The likes on the video have already surpassed 3 million two hours after its release.
So in just 2 hour:
-Persona broke the record of the best selling album on Hanteo 1st day
– Persona got 54 #1 on iTunes so far
-BOY WITH LUV got an all kill & debuted #1 on Melon
-2.1M views & 2.9M likes
– All 7 tracks are on top10 in US iTunes #BoyWithLuvOutNow
— ` (@Armys__Crew) April 12, 2019
— Kpop Charts & News (@SerieTV46) April 12, 2019
The video features a tribute to the 1952 movie musical Singing in the Rain, as seen in the theater-themed set, choreography, and leader RM’s homage to Gene Kelly.
— なむ (@warmseoks) April 10, 2019
Fans love everything about it—from the boys’ voices, facial expressions, hair, outfits, and Halsey’s part, of course.
HOSEOKS HAPPY FACE
I LOVE IT ALL!!!!! TAKE EVERYTHING I HAVE💜💜💜#MAP_OF_THE__SOUL_PERSONA#BoyWithLuvOutNow pic.twitter.com/aUm7ozUYfh
— kingjiminnie (@kingjiminnie1) April 12, 2019
For a lot of fans, “the ending was the cutest part. They deserve so much love.”
— ɴᴇɪꜱʜ ᴡɪᴛʜ ʟᴜᴠ (@taegape_) April 12, 2019
— max (@bangtansoshi) April 12, 2019
— euna with luv (@mapplesuga) April 12, 2019
It helps that beat is incredibly catchy.
“YOU GAVE ME POWER
YOU GAVE ME LOVE
SO NOW I’M A HERO
SO NOW I’M A BOY WITH LOVE
I’LL SHOW YOU
THE MAP OF THE SOUL
I’LL SHOW YOU
— ً (@amorkive) April 12, 2019
A few hours ahead of the launch, members of the BTS fandom expressed their anticipation for the new album and shared how they’re waiting with memes and GIFs—a lot of which featured the boys—using the hashtag #PersonaWelcomeParty.
— ً (@hormonaljimin) April 12, 2019
— a. (@kingbanqtan) April 12, 2019
It’s basically a countdown to when the album and “Boy With Luv” music video would be released (some with reminders for how to stream on YouTube to ensure the boys make history again).
19 mins left!!
Remember the guidelines for streaming on YT and let’s go HARD ARMYS!!
— me shine with flashin’ lights 🤟🏽💞 (@sorayaxyoongi) April 12, 2019
— ًpipay is BACK (@jeonierals) April 12, 2019
— Yoonmin City (@YoonminLove14) April 12, 2019
Incidentally, before #PersonaWelcomeParty even began to trend, #Run100M trended on Twitter, as fans celebrated the music video for the boy band’s 2015 song “Run” finally earning 100 million views on YouTube—its 17th one to do so.
'Run' has become @BTS_twt's 17th MV to surpass over 100 MILLION+ views on YouTube!
🎉 #Run100M 🎉
— worldwideBTS 🌎 (@btsanalytics) April 12, 2019
#BTSComeback2019 began trending an hour before the album dropped, followed by #PersonaIsComing. These hashtags belong to a list that BTS ARMY members aim to trend on Twitter, along with their main goal for the launch: 100 million views in 24 hours on YouTube. As @__crystalclaire reminded her fellow BTS ARMY members, “ARMYs RT this post so everyone will know what’s our goal today. Remember: Don’t engage in fan wars. Stream the music video. Don’t clear your history.”
❗ARMYS RT THIS POST SO EVERYONE WILL KNOW WHATS OUR GOAL TODAY❗
– Don't engage in fanwars.
– Stream the music video.
– Don't clear your history.#PERSONAWelcomeParty #MapOfTheSoulPersona #BTSCOMEBACK2019 #PersonaisComing #PinkWithLuv pic.twitter.com/jlfjTrLbV7
— BTS_official (@bts__bighiitt) April 12, 2019
Some used the hashtags along with images of a “BTS comeback starter pack Persona version,” which includes pink everything, including a coffin.
— BTS PICS (@btsarchiveee) April 12, 2019
BTS COMEBACK STARTER PACK GET READY HOES pic.twitter.com/b4p2AyhQGz
— Cze ♥ (@kthvwi95z) April 12, 2019
2019 is proving to be a phenomenal year for BTS. In February, the K-pop group made its first Grammy appearance and made history for becoming the first Korean act to present at the music awards and for having the first Korean album nominated for best recording package. Tomorrow, a day after the album drop and music video release, the group is set to make its Saturday Night Live debut. What follows are a series of concerts around the U.S. in May as part of the boy band’s world tour, and the release of the BTS Mattel dolls in September.
We can’t wait for what else these boys—and their devoted fans—have up their pink sleeves.
Trixie Reyna-Benedicto is a lifestyle editor and writer based in the Philippines. Previously, she helmed Cosmopolitan Philippines’ website, Cosmo.ph, as its founding editor. She later served as editor-in-chief of lifestyle and entertainment portals for Manila-based media company TV5. Her work has appeared in several print and online publications in her country, and she contributes to Speed Magazine, DG Traveler, and Connected Women, among others. Visit her website, trixiereyna.com.