These days, there are some people in the Kpop fandom who consider BTS overrated. Well, they must have not listened to their newest album yet! Wings totally lives up to the hype with BTS’ chilled, pop melodies and their fast-paced, hip-hop styles. Orchestras play a big role in bringing drama to the vocal line’s smooth tones and elevate the themes of brotherhood, finding one’s life path, and being enslaved to the evil that is loving the wrong girl.
The boys wrote their own lyrics, along with their lyric team including Pdogg, Slow Rabbit, “Hitman Bang,” Primary, MISS KAY, Philtre, DOCSKIM, SUMIN, Tony Esterly, Kim Do-hoon, David Quinones, JUNE, Supreme Boi, Richard Rawson, Lee Paul Williams, Peter Ibsen, C “Tricky” Stewart, J. Pierre Medor, Kaeko, Sam Klempner, James Reynolds, and Josh Wilkinson. Some of these famous composers mentioned also produced the songs as well, making this album a conglomerate of talent.
Wings has four versions. “W” which features photo shoots of Jin and the rest of the BTS members. “I” features J-Hope and V, “N” features Suga and Jimin, and “G” showcases Rap Monster and Jungkook. Personally, having four versions annoyed me since I had no way of knowing which version I’d get. However, I ended up with version “I” and am happy with my choice. Not only did I receive beautiful photo shoots of V and J-Hope, but the rest of BTS members have their own pages as well. When all four covers combine, they form a really cool scene of fluttering smoke.
The intro, “Boy Meets Evil,” written by both Rap Monster and J-Hope, is a powerful beginning to the album. It has a steady beat and an elevated orchestra. The boy meeting evil refers to actually meeting a girl who seems to have done the boy wrong. The narrator seems to hate this girl, but enjoys being intoxicated by her. Then comes “Blood, Sweat, and Tears,” which plays on the same theme of the inner turmoil of being with someone both sweet and evil.
“Begin,” written by Rap Monster, then changes gear to talk about a deep love for brotherhood and how that love has defined them. Rather than a process, it seems their relationship has made them begin a new life every day.
With Jimin’s song “Lie,” the topic becomes darker, reflecting on being swallowed by a single lie that won’t let go. The strings are dark and eerie, with the organ keeping tempo. The vocals are smooth as silk though, with Jimin’s voice taking on power and emoting desperation. V’s song “Stigma” continues the theme, but rather talking about a single lie, he focuses on a sin. The narrator is trying to ease the consequences of others, but the sin seems to blaze through the forest, making the others suffer. The music is light while the lyrics are profound.
Suga’s “First Love” isn’t about a girl or his first romantic relationship, but rather with his first piano. The relationship is deep and everlasting. Suga’s story of meeting the piano at a young age (and how it subsequently helped him succeed in life) is romantic and proves to be a better love story than “Twilight.” The piano, violins, and cellos serve to heighten his rapping and story telling.
“Reflection” is Rap Monster’s monologue of the album. With poetic lyrics and a downtrodden feel, the music is contemplative and cathartic. A slow beat and Rap Monster’s gentle delivery gives his self hatred a Van Gogh-esque attitude.
The next song, “Mama,” written by J-Hope, has a more uplifting sense. There’s groove, a lightheartedness, and some record scratching that makes the song both chill and sweet. Thanking his mother for her support, despite the hardship she had to go through, creates a beautiful story between mother and son.
Returning to a more somber theme, “Awake” reveals the fears of J-Hope, Jin, and Rap Monster of not being able to reach what seems to be happiness or freedom. Others may experience it, but the narrator seems to feel isolated and convinced that their fate is to suffer. Yet, there’s hope that even though they are destined to more than likely fail, there is still time to experience and to soak in as much as possible.
Jungkook and Rap Monster combine their geniuses with “Lost.” After “Awake,” this song continues the saga of fate and wondering where their paths lead. The narrator is lost and wandering in a metaphorical ocean, trying to grasp onto a path they thought was theirs. Yet, like an ant, even though they are lost now, they have hope that they will be able to overcome their wandering and find where they want and need to be.
Then, our rap line of Rap Monster, Suga, and J-Hope takes a more controversial tone with “Cypher 4.” It seems to be a message to the haters and to all who talk smack about them. With clever lyrics and a late 90’s hip-hop beat, the song is nothing less than charming arrogance and a satisfied revenge.
Another Rap Monster and Jungkook lyrical collaboration, “Am I Wrong?” makes an introduction with a bluesy sound and beat. The question is, has the world gone crazy? The lyrics focus on a world in turmoil and whether or not pointing out this fact is wrong.
“21st Century Girl” is a cute pick-me-up for any girl (also for us 20th century gals) who feels unworthy. With a sexy melody and a club beat, this song makes you feel as if you are the queen of the dance floor. Rap Monster’s lyrics make the listener feel both sexy and wanted.
Another rap-line lyrical collaboration, “2!3!” has a lonelier take on the Kpop industry, while still wanting fans for support. The slow guitar and mellow tones create an easy feeling, while at the same time allowing for deeper reflection. Once again, there is a message to haters, but it filters away into a more positive outlook, with BTS leading fans to happier times.
Lastly, “Wings: Interlude,” ends the album with a hopeful message. The rap-line wrote the lyrics with the intention of supporting curiosity and ingenuity. It seems they want themselves and their fans to take flight and accomplish their dreams.
The album is one of their best ones in my opinion. They really have grown as a group and the darker themes mixed with a sense of hope makes BTS universal.
Overall Rating: 8.7
Genre Appeal: 8.7
Musical Skill: 8.8
Genre Appeal – Does the genre of music appeals to me personally? Does the group stays true to the genre?
Lyrics – Do the lyrics speak to me? Are they artistically clever or deep?
Musical Skill – Is the group talented musically? Not only do I judge the musical talents (instruments played), but also the arrangement, vocals, rap delivery, and what skill level they have.
Packaging – Is the album well-packaged and promoted?
Kim (Paradoxicalsuds) is a writer for What the Kpop and has been a devoted K-Pop fan for almost ten years. An avid SNSD, GOT7, FTIsland, and AOA fan, Kim has been in love with K-Pop since the original debut of TVXQ. While she watches new MVs or K-Dramas on her laptop, Kim enjoys tea, begging for affection from her cat, making jewelry, and writing fiction.