Map of the Soul: Persona

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Map of the Soul: Persona
The cover is hot pink with a white grid and a heart made up of three lines on top. A fourth line cuts the middle of the heart.
EP by
ReleasedApril 12, 2019 (2019-04-12)
StudioBig Hit (Seoul)[a][2]
The Village (Los Angeles)[2]
Genre
Length26:05
LanguageKorean
Label
Producer
BTS chronology
Love Yourself: Answer
(2018)
Map of the Soul: Persona
(2019)
Map of the Soul: 7
(2020)
BTS EP chronology
Love Yourself: Her
(2017)
Map of the Soul: Persona
(2019)
Physical album artwork
Four rectangular albums of different shades of pink. They form a grid and four different shaped hearts are center on each cover.
Versions 1–4, left to right
Singles from Map of the Soul: Persona
  1. "Boy with Luv"
    Released: April 12, 2019[6]
  2. "Make It Right"
    Released: October 18, 2019[7]

Map of the Soul: Persona is the sixth extended play by South Korean boy band BTS. It was released on April 12, 2019, via Big Hit Entertainment with "Boy with Luv" as its lead single. It is the follow-up to their 2018 albums Love Yourself: Tear and Love Yourself: Answer,[8] and precedes the band's Love Yourself: Speak Yourself world tour. The EP was released for pre-order on March 13.[9] It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, making BTS the first band since the Beatles to have three number-one albums in less than a year. The album also topped the UK, Scottish, New Zealand and Australian charts, making BTS the first Korean act to achieve a number-one album in each of these countries. Moreover, the album sold 3.2 million copies in one month, making it the best-selling album in South Korea, replacing the previous record-holder of 24 years. The track "Make It Right" was released in a version featuring Lauv as the second single on October 18, 2019.[10]

Background and release[edit]

The band first announced the EP on March 11, 2019, while also marking the start of pre-orders on March 13. The album marked a "new era" in BTS' discography, after their successful completion of the Love Yourself album trilogy. The album was put in line to be released before the band embarked in their extension to their Love Yourself world tour, named Love Yourself: Speak Yourself.[11]

On March 27, the group released the official "comeback trailer" for their album, named "Persona" which would later become the introduction to the extended play. The solo featured RM, the leader of BTS, and was described by Refinery29's Natalie Morin as "a colorful, dynamic song" and "nodding to the band's coming-of-age and self-discovery themes," which lyrics such as "Who am I? The question I had my whole life..." and "The flaws of mine that I know...The regrets that I don't even get sick of anymore."[12]

On March 31, Big Hit started to release four sets of concept photos; Versions 1-4. The first version shows "BTS playing around in a photo booth" with the solo shots "similarly show[ing] off each member in a variety of poses". Version 2 "emphasize different sides, or personas, of each BTS member", as described by Billboard's Tamar Herman.[13] On April 3, the final two versions were released: Version 3 and 4. Version 3 shows the members with roses in rose-toned rooms. Version 4 has each member posing with either grapes or strawberries wearing elegant clothing and jewelry.[14]

On April 7, the band released the first music video teaser, revealing that American singer Halsey would be on the track and that the name of the title track would be named "Boy With Luv."[15] One day later, on April 8, the group released the tracklist and album cover of the album, unveiling the seven tracks of the EP.[16] On April 10, BTS released the final, second teaser of the song which featured a longer sample of the track.

Composition and production[edit]

Map of the Soul: Persona has influences from various places. The album itself is based on the book Jung's Map of the Soul, about the theories Carl Jung created for psychology.[17]

The lead single, the Halsey collaboration "Boy with Luv," has been described as a funk pop song about happiness and love.[18] It serves as a parallel track to their earlier song "Boy in Luv".[19] In the video for "Persona" words such as "persona", "shadow", and "ego" were in it which directly references Carl Jung's theories.[20] It has been described as a song that is trying to answer the question of "Who am I?"[18]

"Mikrokosmos" and "Home" are songs dedicated to the fans, as they are the home that comforts BTS when they are tired and lonely.[18] The track "Mikrokosmos" is named after the Greek word for "microcosm", and the song's Korean name, 소우주 (romanized as so-u-ju), means the same.[21] BTS stated that "Mikrokosmos" would "paint the world through human interest".[19]

"Make It Right" is a collaboration between BTS and Ed Sheeran,[19] and "Jamais Vu" is a unit song consisting of the members J-Hope, Jin, and Jungkook.[18] The EP also features references to Greek mythology, with a track called "Dionysus", the Greek god of grapes and wine, and their concept photos depicting a few of the members holding grapes.[17] It was described as a strong hip hop track with an intense beat, significant rock influence, vocoder effects and features Jin's rocking adlibs throughout the song.[18]

Promotion[edit]

Pre-release[edit]

The introductory video played before the band's performance at the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards in Hong Kong had hinted at the title before its official announcement.[9] The album is reportedly the "beginning of a new chapter" for the band,[22] and the first in a new series of albums.[23]

On March 27, the trailer for the album was released named "Persona".[24] The solo featured RM, the leader of BTS, and was described by Refinery29's Natalie Morin as "a colorful, dynamic song" and "nodding to the band's coming-of-age and self-discovery themes."[12]

The trailer for the song "Boy with Luv" featuring American singer Halsey was released on April 7, 2019.[25] The second teaser trailer was released on April 10 and featured a longer sample of "Boy with Luv".[26]

Live performances[edit]

BTS made several appearances on television and in live shows to promote Map of the Soul: Persona. The group performed "Boy with Luv" for the first time on April 13, 2019, on Saturday Night Live[27] as the first Asian act to perform live on the show.[28][29] BTS also performed "Boy with Luv" with Halsey for the first time at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards.[30] On May 15, BTS kicked off Good Morning America's 'Summer Concert Series' as headliners at Central Park in Manhattan with performances of "Boy with Luv" and "Fire".[31] On May 16, BTS recreated The Beatles' iconic 1964 U.S. television debut in their black-and-white performance of "Boy with Luv" at The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.[32] They also sang "Make it Right" in the same show on May 18.[33] On May 21, BTS appeared on the finale of The Voice to perform "Boy with Luv".[34] They also performed the song at Britain Got Talent's fourth semi-final on May 30.[35]

On November 30, BTS performed "Intro: Persona", "Boy with Luv", "Mikrokosmos", and "Dionysus" at the 2019 Melon Music Awards with throwbacks to "Boy in Luv" and "N.O" from their earlier works.[36] BTS then traveled to Japan to perform early singles "N.O" and "We are Bulletproof Pt. 2" before wrapping the set with "Boy with Luv", "Mikrokosmos", and "Dionysus" at the 2019 Mnet Asian Music Awards.[37] Two days later, BTS appeared as a headliner at the KIIS-FM Jingle Ball in Los Angeles, performing earlier track "Mic Drop" along with "Boy with Luv" and "Make it Right". BTS performed in South Korea at the SBS Gayo Daejun and KBS Song Festival on December 25 and 27, respectively,[38][39] before traveling to New York's Times Square to usher in the new year with performances of "Make it Right" and "Boy with Luv" at Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.[40]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7/10[42]
Metacritic74/100[41]
Review scores
SourceRating
The 4057/10[43]
AllMusic4/5 stars[44]
Billboardfavorable[4]
Consequence of SoundA-[45]
The Faderfavorable[46]
The Independent3/5 stars[47]
The Line of Best Fit9.5/10[48]
NME4/5 stars[49]
Pitchfork6.1/10[50]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[3]

Map of the Soul: Persona received generally favorable reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted mean rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, Map of the Soul: Persona received an average score of 74 based on 11 reviews.[41]

Neil Z. Young of AllMusic gave the album a positive review, stating, "Although it's only the first piece of the puzzle, on its own, Map of the Soul: Persona is a fitting celebration for a group at the top of their game."[44] Rhian Daly of NME wrote that "Map Of The Soul: Persona impressively and cohesively flies from genre to genre, but sounds more confident than ever."[49]

Douglas Greenwood of The Independent, however, gave the album a mixed review, pointing out that, "When they stand on their own two feet without the major co-stars, BTS are still fully confident of their own sound" but "the music, production-wise, falls a little by the wayside when it comes to breaking new ground."[47]

Commercial performance[edit]

According to iriver Inc, the distributor for the Map of the Soul: Persona, stock preorders for the EP surpassed 2.68 million copies over the first five days of the preorder period.[51] The number was later updated to 3.07 million on April 11, the day before the EP's release.[18]

In South Korea, the EP recorded 2.13 million first-week sales, the highest number for an artist in the country since the Hanteo Chart began tracking weekly sales at its inception.[52] Map of the Soul: Persona debuted at number one on the Gaon Album Chart with all tracks debuting on the Gaon Digital Chart, including the lead single "Boy With Luv", which debuted at 17 and reached number one the following week.[53][54][55] The songs "Mikrokosmos" and "Make It Right" also reached the top ten in their second charting week, debuting at 31 and 39 before peaking at number eight and ten respectively.[55][56] Map of the Soul: Persona sold 3,229,032 copies in its first month the country, making it the highest-selling release on the Gaon Music Chart since its inception in 2011.[57] The EP also became the best-selling album of all time in South Korea, surpassing Kim Gun-mo's 1995 album Wrongful Encounter.[c][62] In May 2019, the album received 3x Million certification from Gaon for surpassing three million total sales. BTS are the first group to be awarded the certification.[63]

In the United Kingdom, Persona's midweek sales were higher than the first week sales of BTS' three previous Top 20 releases combined, including Love Yourself: Tear, the only BTS album to hit the UK top ten.[64] Map of the Soul: Persona eventually became BTS' first number one album in the United Kingdom, as well as the first Korean musical act to reach number one, with 26,500 album-equivalent units, 68% of which (roughly 18,020 albums) came from pure sales.[65] The EP's lead single "Boy with Luv" debuted at number 13 on the UK singles chart, becoming BTS' first top-15 track in the United Kingdom.[66] Two other tracks from Persona, "Mikrokosmos" and "Make It Right", debuted on the singles chart at number 71 and 74 respectively.[67]

The EP debuted at number one on Australia's ARIA Albums Chart, becoming the first chart-topping album sung in an Asian language. The album became BTS' fourth top-ten album in Australia, following their three Love Yourself series albums: Love Yourself: Her, Love Yourself: Tear, and Love Yourself: Answer, released in 2017 and 2018. "Boy with Luv" debuted at number 10 on the ARIA Singles Chart, becoming BTS' first top-ten single in the country.[68]

In the United States, Map of the Soul: Persona debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 230,000 album-equivalent units, including 196,000 pure album sales, becoming the band's biggest week in terms of units.[69] It is BTS' third number-one album in roughly 11 months, making them the first band to achieve three number-ones in a year since the Beatles in 1995 through 1996. BTS also became the band with the second-fastest accumulation of three number-one albums since the Billboard 200's inception.[d][70] The EP's lead single "Boy With Luv" debuted at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 with 31,000 pure sales and 19.5 million streams.[71] The track is BTS' highest-charting song and second top-ten song following "Fake Love", which peaked at number 10, and the first K-Pop group with multiple top-tens as well as the second Korean artist, following Psy.[72] "Make It Right" also charted on the Hot 100, debuting at number 95 with 11,600 pure sales and making BTS the first Korean artist to have two simultaneous songs appear on the chart.[71][73] All songs from the EP appeared on the Billboard Digital Songs chart with a cumulative 82,100 purchases across all seven tracks.[71] It was certified Gold by the RIAA on August 22, for selling over half a million units, and is their second album after 2018's Love Yourself: Answer to achieve this.[74]

With strong – yet underreported – global sales of 2.5 million pure album units,[75] Map of the Soul: Persona was named as the third best-selling album of 2019 by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.[76] Map of the Soul: Persona was also the second best-selling global album by a band only behind Arashi's 5x20 All the Best!! 1999–2019.[77] Attributing to the album's critical and commercial success worldwide, the IFPI named BTS as one of the best-selling artists of 2019 for a second consecutive year, making them the first Korean artist to achieve this.[78][79]

Track listing[edit]

Track listing adapted from the liner notes of the physical album.[2]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Intro: Persona"
  • Hiss Noise
  • RM
  • Pdogg
Hiss Noise2:54
2."Boy with Luv" (작은 것들을 위한 시; Jageun geotdeureul wihan si [lit. "A Poem for Small Things"]) (featuring Halsey)
Pdogg3:49
3."Mikrokosmos" (소우주; Souju [lit. "Small Universe"])
  • Matty Thomson
  • Max Lynedoch Graham
  • Marcus McCoan
  • Ryan Lawrie
  • James F. Reynolds
  • RM
  • Suga
  • J-Hope
  • "DJ Swivel" Young
  • Candace Nicole Sosa
  • Fontana
  • Lindgren
Arcades3:46
4."Make It Right"
F. Gibson3:42
5."Home"
  • Pdogg
  • RM
  • Lauren Dyson
  • Tushar Apte
  • Suga
  • J-Hope
  • Krysta Youngs
  • Julia Ross
  • Bobby Chung
  • Song Jae-kyung
  • Adora
Pdogg4:00
6."Jamais Vu" (performed by Jin, J-Hope, and Jungkook)
  • McCoan
  • Owen Roberts
  • Thomson
  • Graham
  • Reynolds
  • RM
  • J-Hope
  • "Hitman" Bang
  • Arcades
  • Bad Milk
  • McCoan
3:46
7."Dionysus"
  • Pdogg
  • J-Hope
  • Supreme Boi
  • RM
  • Suga
  • Roman Campolo
Pdogg4:08
Total length:26:05

Notes:

  • "Intro: Persona" was also called "Persona" during its pre-release period.[80]
  • Fred Gibson's producer credit is under the stylized name "FRED".
  • "Home" is stylized in all caps.
  • "Jamais Vu" is stylized in sentence case.

Personnel[edit]

Personnel adapted from the liner notes of the physical album.[2]

Accolades[edit]

Year-end lists
Critic/Publication List Rank Ref.
24/7 Wall St Best Albums of the Year 15 [81]
AllMusic AllMusic 2019 Year In Review: Favorite Pop Albums N/A [82]
Billboard The 25 Best K-pop Albums of 2019: Critics' Picks 16 [83]
Consequence of Sound Top 50 Albums of 2019 32 [84]
The Diamondback Year in Review: The best albums of 2019 N/A [85]
NME The 50 best albums of 2019 36 [86]
PopCrush Best Pop Albums of 2019 N/A [87]
Awards
Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2019 Melon Music Awards Album of the Year Won [88]
Mnet Asian Music Awards Won [89]
2020 Gaon Chart Music Awards Album of the Year – 2nd Quarter Won [90]
Retail Album of the Year Won
Golden Disc Awards Disc Bonsang Won [91]
Disc Daesang Won
Seoul Music Awards Bonsang Award Won [92]
Album Daesang Won

Charts[edit]

Certifications and sales[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Belgium (BEA)[152] Gold 15,000*
China 509,682[153]
France (SNEP)[154] Gold 50,000double-dagger
Japan (RIAJ)[156] Gold 353,847[155]
Poland (ZPAV)[157] Gold 10,000*
South Korea (KMCA)[159] 3× Million 3,718,230[158]
United Kingdom (BPI)[160] Silver 60,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[161] Gold 500,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label
South Korea April 12, 2019
Japan
Europe
North America
Various
  • Digital download
  • streaming

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ BTS members and the Big Hit production team have individual "studios" within the greater Big Hit Entertainment building.[1] These are credited separately in the liner notes.[2]
  2. ^ In South Korea, the album is distributed by Dreamus, an iriver subsidiary.[5]
  3. ^ The total sales for Wrongful Encounter are 2.86 million, however, when including illegal sales, the album is estimated have sold 3.3 million total copies.[58][59] This estimate has been acknowledged by Guinness World Records.[60] In May 2019, the sales for Map of the Soul: Persona reached 3,399,302 sales,[61] surpassing Kim's estimate.
  4. ^ BTS is second to the American pop rock band the Monkees, who had three number-one albums in nine months and three weeks in 1967. The former second place holder was the Beatles, whose 1995 and 1996 compilation albums all peaked at number one in 11 months and one week.[70]

References[edit]

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