NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 31: BTS performs during the Times Square New Year’s Eve 2020 … [+]
This past weekend, BTS took to Twitter and shared an image that finally let fans know many of the details they’d been craving about their upcoming album, including how many songs will be featured on the set, how many will be new to the project, whether there are any features and which lucky tune will be selected as the single. That last query is perhaps the most important, as the single is surely bound to become the most successful tune on the album. Now that the info has been posted, it’s clear that their latest effort adheres to a trend the group has been following for some time now, and for very good reason.
The lead single from the soon-to-be-released Map of the Soul: 7 is a track simply titled “On,” and there are going to be two versions present on the digital version of the album, though one will probably quickly be chosen as the more popular of the two. One take will feature only BTS, while the other will include Australian pop star Sia, and her presence, while somewhat surprising, isn’t a complete shock.
BTS albums rarely feature outside performers, though as they’ve made headway in the United States throughout the past several years, the septet has taken to collaborating with other singers, but almost exclusively on singles.
With their last album Map of the Soul: Persona, the lead single was a track called “Boy with Luv,” and it featured American pop singer Halsey. Later into the campaign, the band re-released the song “Make It Right,” this time including up-and-coming musician Lauv on the new version, and it too became a charting success.
In 2018, the compilation that wrapped the Love Yourself series, Love Yourself: Answer, was released with many previously-shared tunes and a handful of new ones, including the song “Idol.” Just like “On,” the standard edition of the album saw only BTS take on “Idol,” while the digital version featured a collaboration with Nicki Minaj, which performed very well.
The year prior, their first release in that string of albums, Love Yourself: Her, originally featured the solo take on “Mic Drop,” but when it was spun off as a proper single, Steve Aoki remixed it and rapper Desiigner contributed vocals as well. That version was later included in other compilations as well, as it quickly became the favorite among fans. In fact, even though it’s been out for years, it regularly charts on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales ranking, proving that a re-released collaborative version can become a massive hit.
Adding an English-speaking artist who Western audiences are familiar with is a great way for BTS to reach out to listeners who might otherwise not opt to press play on a song performed primarily not in English or who may turn the dial if such a tune comes on the radio. The band doesn’t load up on these collabs, which they likely could (acts from around the world must be rushing to work with the biggest vocal group on the planet), but they’re careful with their choices, and this latest chapter of their career follows a successful path they’ve already established.