As the musical voice of a generation, BTS can be described in many ways, but “burned out” was never assigned to them until today (Jan. 17) when the South Korean septet graced the world with their introspective new song “Black Swan.” The first single from their forthcoming Map of the Soul: 7 album, the members use the song to express their chilling feelings about how artists view their craft, and how they feel when their love of it is lost.
The atmospheric, haunting blend of mournful instrumentals and trap beats explores the artistic idea of how falling out of love with one’s craft is akin to death.
“The heart no longer races when hearing the music play,” Suga sings during the reflective height of the song. “Seems like time has stopped/ Oh, that would be my first death/ I been always afraid of.” RM follows: “If this can no longer resonate, no longer make my heart vibrate, then like this may be how I die my first death. But what if that moment’s right now?” “No song affects me anymore/ Crying a silent cry,” Jimin mournfully relays a few moments later.
According to a press release, the song serves as, “A confession of an artist who has truly learned what music means to himself.”
The release of “Black Swan” follows shortly after Suga’s solo “Interlude: Shadow,” which sets the tone for the upcoming album to continue BTS’ exploration of Jungian psychoanalytic thought following last year’s Billboard 200 chart-topping album Map of the Soul: Persona. In Jungian psychology, the Map of the Soul — as relayed through the book of that name by Murray Stein that BTS has revealed inspired parts of the series — explores the inner workings of the persona, shadow, and ego.
“Black Swan” drops more than a month before the arrival of Map of the Soul: 7 on Feb. 21, and was shared via both a studio version on digital music platforms and an art film featuring a performance by Slovenian modern dance troupe MN Dance Company. The visual explores the struggles put forth by BTS in the lyrics as interpreted by the dancers.
It is fronted by a quote from modern dance legend Martha Graham: “A dancer dies twice — once when they stop dancing, and this first death is the more painful.”
Watch the “Black Swan” video below.