I shot a film for selecting the best 5 BTS songs with a Youtube channel DKDKTV communicating with the foreign K-pop fans in July, 2020. It was not easy to select only five songs out of their 7-year career which has been faithfully piled up since 2014. It took a lot of time and effort to select only five among the songs. There was a song I could not give up in the process: Epiphany in the album 《Love Yourself 結 ‘Answer’》 released in 2018.
Epiphany impressed me on hearing it. This song, centering on the album 〈Answer〉 which finished the ‘Love Yourself’ series starting in 2017, is the one summarizing and displaying the BTS growing narratives. Along with shy and uneasy heart of Her released in 2017, the boys who introduced themselves to the world market in earnest, were reluctant the next year, facing the insecurity inside themselves in Tear, but then they jumped into a mature and deeper world, repeating Love Yourself, speeding up with I’m Fine and celebrating a gorgeous festival with IDOL through the album 〈Answer〉 fusing the two themes.
This song having a deep meaning like the title Epiphany meaning ‘appearing, understanding’, is the eldest Jin’s solo song. From the opening part his voice is clearly impatient and stirring singing, “So weird, … But as I keep doing that I just can’t bear the storm inside my heart”. But at the next refrain the doubt loses its power in front of a firm determination. Jin’s voice singing the part, “I’m the one I should love in this world; shining me, precious soul of mine; So I love me”, accompanied by the lyrical rock ballad accompaniment, blesses and pats himself being reborn and all those who suffer in the world.
Even those who do not know BTS well must be also familiar with Jin’s vocal. As a moment comes when the group with various styles such as quick tempo dance and hip-hop, lyrical rock and dark ballad, take their breath and attention, it is the time for Jin’s mild but solid voice to come out. His vocal freely alternating from lyrical voice, falsetto, and powerful original voice according to the mood, would not be swayed in any genres.
Old ARMYs may remember Jin was singing I Love You of Band Mate in 2015. When Yoon Jong-shin, one of the great seniors of Korean pop world, heard the song in 2018, he marveled saying, “At a high key he can mix nasal sound and break it; a wholly different vocal style.” His singing capacity was acknowledged early; for example, he played the most of his role as a smooth lubricant when singing the bridge part in such powerful songs like Fire and DOPE, and he presented his first solo title, Awake in the second regular album 〈Wings〉. And the three-stage high notes in 〈Crystal Snow〉 released in Japan, 2017, his falsetto decorating the finale in Dionysus of 2019, wide ranged parts nimbly sung in Moon, a solo title of pop genre in 〈Map of the Soul: 7〉 released in 2020, the more settled feature in a live stage… and so forth; his highlights continue endlessly.
Jin’s presence shines much brighter off the stage. He tries to encourage and make others happy like an innocent child, rather than to be a big brother, serious and weighty. Of course, as he confessed in a Youtube original 〈Burn the Stage〉, he sometimes feels depressed, and he spoke out his burnout syndrome in a song Abyss after the great success of Dynamite. Despite of all this, he is a generally admitted practice maniac who tries his best putting his priority on the group over all things and the eldest the other members may trust and rely on.
“Perhaps I’m a bit dull and imperfect; pehaps people might not see my shy sparkle.” The protagonist of Epiphany has much distress and agony but finally overcomes them all singing, “But I’m me just as I am; my arms, legs, heart, and soul that I have lived with until now, I want to love them….” Jin carries the essence of BTS who has created a miracle as a whole and shines much brighter. And I finish this to introduce him, quoting the part of the lyrics of Microcosmos, one of BTS songs. “The starlight shining brighter in the darkest night.”
Pop Music Critic; worked as chief editor of 《IZM》; operating a newsletter 〈ZENERATE〉.
Translated by Park Eun-sun
* 《Cultura》 2021 November (Vol. 89) *