On March 12, Big Hit Entertainment announced that BTS would be releasing a new album called Map of the Soul: Persona on April 12. Details about the album — concepts, tracklist, album photos, etc. — haven’t been released yet.
Map of the Soul is the first album BTS has released since completing their Love Yourself series which started back in September 2017 with Love Yourself: Her. Love Yourself: Tear followed eight months later in May 2018 and the compilation album, Love Yourself: Answer was released in August 2018.
Completely speculating here, but I have a feeling this comeback will center around the idea of having a persona — hiding behind a character you created to please someone else, “wearing a mask” if you will.
It’s a concept that BTS has hinted at for awhile now. The album title for Map of the Soul was hinted at during the introductory video for BTS at the 2018 MAMAs (Mnet Asian Music Awards) in Hong Kong. During the MAMA ceremony in Japan, the intro for their performance had images of masks projected on the group member’s faces.
For some of their live performances of “Fake Love” (and the extended version of the music video) involved the group either wearing hooded cloaks and masks (aka hiding their real selves) and for their performance at the 2019 Golden Disk awards, they danced as if they were puppets. They have made references to it in some of their songs from the Love Yourself, with a couple of examples listed below.
I can never take off the mask
Because the me behind this mask
Is not the one you know
Make up to wake up today too
And dress up to mask on
In order to become the me that you love
In order to become the one that you love
I quit the XX that I liked so much
Just for you
I put on clothes I hate, excessive make up
Because your laughter and happiness is the scale of my happiness
This is how I am, do I deserve your love?
I always make an effort to be the best for you
I hope you don’t know this part of me
— English translation of Suga’s verse from “Her”.
Love you so bad, love you so bad
Mold a pretty lie for you
Love it’s so mad, love it’s so mad
Try to erase myself and make me your doll…
…Look at me, even I gave up on myself
Even you can’t understand me
You say I’m unfamiliar, changed into the one you used to like
You say I’m not myself which you knew well
— English translation of lyrics from “Fake Love”.
During a performance of “DNA” on M! Countdown back in 2017, Jin is wearing a shirt that has the word “persona” written on it. So this is something that has been in the works for at least two years.
Again, this is all speculation, but hopefully BTS will actually rock a concept like this. Fingers crossed. 🤞🏼🤞🏼