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)
Studio
Genre
Length26:05
LanguageKorean
Label
Producer
BTS chronology
Love Yourself: Answer
(2018)
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]

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. It is the follow-up to their 2018 albums Love Yourself: Tear and Love Yourself: Answer,[7] and precedes the band's Love Yourself: Speak Yourself world tour. The EP was released for pre-order on March 13.[8] 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.

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.[9]

Lead single "Boy with Luv" has been described as a funk pop song about happiness and love.[10] It serves as a parallel track to their earlier song "Boy in Luv".[11] In the video for "Persona" words such as "persona", "shadow", and "ego" were in it which directly references Carl Jung's theories.[12] It has been described as a song that is trying to answer the question of "Who am I?"[10]

"Mikrokosmos" and "Home" are songs dedicated to the fans, as they are the home that comforts BTS when they are tired and lonely.[10] The track "Mikrokosmos" is the name of a piano series composition done by Béla Bartók, though the Korean translation of the song is microcosm which has a different meaning.[13] BTS also described "Mikrokosmos" by saying it would "paint the world through human interest".[11]

"Make It Right" is a collaboration between BTS and Ed Sheeran,[11] and "Jamais Vu" is a unit song consisting of the members J-Hope, Jin, and Jungkook.[10] 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.[9] 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 [10]

Artwork[edit]

On April 1, BTS released two sets of concept photos to illustrate the EP's concept. 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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[8] The album is reportedly the "beginning of a new chapter" for the band,[16] and the first in a new series of albums.[17]

On March 27, the trailer for the album was released named "Persona".[18] 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."[19]

The trailer for the song "Boy with Luv" featuring American singer Halsey was released on April 7, 2019.[20] The second teaser trailer was released on April 10 and featured a longer sample of "Boy with Luv".[21]

Live performances[edit]

On April 13, 2019, one day after the release of the album, BTS appeared as the musical guest on Saturday Night Live,[22] performing "Boy with Luv"[23] along with the Steve Aoki remix of "Mic Drop" shortly after.[24] The band were the first Asian act to perform live on SNL.[25][26]

On May 1, 2019, BTS performed "Boy with Luv" with Halsey on the Billboard Music Awards 2019.[27]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7/10[29]
Metacritic74/100[28]
Review scores
SourceRating
The 4057/10[30]
AllMusic4/5 stars[31]
Billboardfavorable[4]
Consequence of SoundA-[32]
The Faderfavorable[33]
The Independent3/5 stars[34]
The Line of Best Fit9.5/10[35]
NME4/5 stars[36]
Pitchfork6.1/10[37]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[3]

Map of the Soul: Persona received generally positive reviews from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, Map of the Soul: Persona has an average score of 74 based on 11 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[28]

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."[31] 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."[36]

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."[34]

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.[38] The number was later updated to 3.07 million on April 11, the day before the EP's release.[10]

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.[39] 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.[40][41][42] 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.[42][43] 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.[44] The EP also became the best-selling album of all time in South Korea, surpassing Kim Gun-mo's 1995 album Wrongful Encounter.[c][48]

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.[49] 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.[50] 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.[51] Two other tracks from Persona, "Mikrokosmos" and "Make It Right", debuted on the singles chart at number 71 and 74 respectively.[52]

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.[53]

In the United States, Map of the Soul: Persona debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 with 232,000 album-equivalent units, including 196,000 pure album sales, becoming the band's biggest week in terms of units.[54] 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][55] The EP's lead single "Boy With Luv" debuted at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100 with 31,000 pure sales.[56] 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.[57] "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.[56][58] All songs from the EP appeared on the Billboard Digital Songs chart with a cumulative 82,100 purchases across all seven tracks.[56]

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"
  • Fred Gibson
  • Ed Sheeran
  • Benjy Gibson
  • Jo Hill
  • RM
  • Suga
  • J-Hope
Fred 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
  • Pdogg
4:08
Total length:26:05

Notes:

  • "Intro: Persona" was also called "Persona" during its pre-release period.[59]
  • 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]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2019) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[60] 1
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[61] 4
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[62] 3
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[63] 16
Canadian Albums (Billboard)[64] 1
Czech Albums (ČNS IFPI)[65] 2
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[66] 5
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[67] 2
Estonian Albums (Eesti Ekspress)[68] 2
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[69] 3
French Albums (SNEP)[70] 5
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[71] 3
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[72] 12
Irish Albums (IRMA)[73] 6
Italian Albums (FIMI)[74] 5
Japanese Albums (Oricon)[75] 2
Japanese Hot Albums (Billboard Japan)[76] 2
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[77] 1
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[78] 3
Polish Albums (ZPAV)[79] 2
Scottish Albums (OCC)[80] 1
Slovak Albums (ČNS IFPI)[81] 6
South Korean Albums (Gaon)[41] 1
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[82] 3
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[83] 2
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[84] 3
UK Albums (OCC)[85] 1
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[86] 1
US Billboard 200[54] 1
US World Albums (Billboard)[87] 1
US Top Album Sales (Billboard)[88] 1

Certifications and sales[edit]

Release history[edit]

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

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.[45][46] This estimate has been acknowledged by Guinness World Records.[47]
  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.[55]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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