Home / Opinion / BTS’ Lyrics in Map of the Soul: 7 Are Way Less Infantile Than You Think

BTS’ Lyrics in Map of the Soul: 7 Are Way Less Infantile Than You Think

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:36 PM
W. E. Messamore
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:36 PM
  • BTS lit up social media as the K-pop band’s “ARMY” of fans turned up the “everglow” for its new album: “Map of the Soul: 7.”
  • Annoyed by the constant fan cam spam on Twitter, I sent inquiries to a librarian, school teacher, and song lyricist about BTS lyrics.
  • I was sure they would pan the lyrics as basic and shallow, penned for people with low reading levels. But they actually found them surprisingly deep.

BTS is making waves across the planet with their new album, “Map of the Soul: 7.” The album crushed first-day sales records in South Korea. It sold 2.653 million copies in six hours.

Meanwhile, K-pop fans cranked the social media “everglow” to 11. Billboard reported :

The new release was responsible for the entire 20 top trending topics on Twitter, as fans hit repeat on their favorite new LP.

Yeah, I know. When I woke up and checked Twitter, there was so much K-pop spam in my notifications it looked like my app had a virus. It was just an infinite scroll through GIF after GIF of BTS dance moves.

I even saw a BTS fan spam the replies on a tweet about Donald Trump commuting the prison sentence of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Investigating the Quality of K-Pop Lyrics

BTS Map of the Soul: 7 lyrics
Surely literary authorities would confirm that BTS lyrics are juvenile. Right? | Source: REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

Annoyed by the K-pop fandom’s shameless off-topic spamming, I decided to investigate BTS’ lyrics.

I was certain a librarian would tell me they demonstrate a very low reading level. And I expected a Nashville song lyricist to trash the quality of BTS’ writing.

So I sent them the lyrics from “Black Swan,” the seventh track on “Map of the Soul: 7.”

This article is the record of a failure – the failure of literary and educational authorities to sustain a preconceived theory about K-pop song lyrics.

Librarian: BTS Lyrics Are ‘Pretty Sophisticated’


Translated from Korean by Google, some of the words are:

Even if the strong waves pass me by darkly
I will never be dragged again
There’s only a quick heartbeat
Open your eyes to my forest
Nothing can swallow me
Scream loudly
The sea where all the light is silent
Hold my lost ankle again

The librarian’s verdict?

This is pretty sophisticated, honey. A mature middle schooler (8th/9th grade) could perhaps grasp the meanings, but probably more suited to high school level.

As always, it depends on the individual’s intellect and also emotional level. (Also, I don’t know what K-Pop is …)

I also interviewed Barry Donegan, the lead singer and a songwriter for Nashville hardcore punk band Look What I Did.

I was certain that I would soon report that a Nashville songwriter found the lyrics for “Black Swan” shallow and meaningless.

BTS lyrics
The lead singer and songwriter for a hardcore punk band complimented the depth of BTS’ lyrics. | Source: Jo Soo-jung / Newsis via AP

But he said:

It does feel like there is a lot of apparent depth in the lyrics…

And added:

The lyrics are more complex than you would likely see in pop for teens in the U.S.

But I do have some bad news for BTS fans.

I interviewed one final person – a teacher. She was less impressed. She didn’t agree with the other sources, clocking “Black Swan’s” lyrics at a “maybe third-grade” reading level.

Well, K-pop fandom, two out of three ain’t bad.

And I kind of want a t-shirt that says, “Hold my lost ankle again.”

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of CCN.com.