Reflections on the lyrics of Map of the Soul: 7 with Dr. Murray Stein
Updated: Sep 20
Good day, ARMY! We hope you are well in your corner of the world.
As a global organization, some of us are still facing heavy realities, while others are beginning to see a brighter future once again. Always remember that we love you and are here for you. Reach out so we can share some of that purple love with you.
Today’s blog focuses on the lyrics of Map of the Soul: 7, as seen through a Jungian lens. This analysis comes courtesy of Dr. Murray Stein and his team at Chiron Publications who have been wonderful partners as we try to discover our own soul. You can check out an excerpt from our interview with Dr. Stein in our Persona issue (from June 2019) and our blogs on Stein’s “Map of the Soul - Shadow: Our Hidden Self” (parts one and two).
Since we have already completed lyrical analyses of Shadow, Ego, and the songs that were included on Map of the Soul: Persona (beginning on page 24 of our Persona issue), this blog will focus on songs that were new to Map of the Soul: 7.
According to Stein, Map of the Soul: 7 is new territory for BTS. It is an album full of songs that show BTS breaking out of the persona they have worn for years. Stein believes it’s BTS’s way of saying, “We’re human beings behind this entertainment facade. It’s a mask. We’re real people, we have a history, and we have struggles, we’ve suffered.”
Stein also believes that BTS is on the cusp of a rebirth or transformation stage. During these times of transformation, “the old identity dies and a new one is born.” Groups of people in all phases of life go through this; BTS is no different. They are reaching a peak of success not seen before in South Korea, and seldom seen in the music industry worldwide. Stein feels BTS is “foreseeing a transformation and a rebirth process,” which will be “quite challenging.”
Black Swan carries themes of despair and disappearance of meaning in one’s life. When a dancer or athlete’s body starts to give out after years of hard work, it can seem like their life’s meaning is gone. Dr. Stein feels that BTS is beginning to face this inevitable change; one day, the members will stop performing and everything will end. It’s important that this moment does not signal the end of life, though. “It is a moment of darkness that is very challenging to overcome,” Stein says. However, “the resilient ego can cope with it and move on.”
Jimin’s solo song Filter portrays the idea that he can become anything you want him to be. Stein says the song might be “speaking of a bias towards one of the seven.” When Jimin sings, “Which of me do you want?” he could mean which of the seven of them do you want? Psychologically, it’s a normal part of conscious functioning to make selections and preferences.
As we grow, the passage of time is irreversible; the choices we make cannot be undone, and they have consequences. As our ego develops with that passage, time becomes more important as we realize there is a shrinking amount of time available. “Time is passing, and you can’t recapture it,” Stein tells us. “There is no returning to childhood.”
Louder than Bombs
Louder than Bombs is a song of empathy, where BTS looks outside their own situation and sees how others are suffering. BTS is telling ARMY, “We feel with you; we know some of you are in really hard places.” This is a sign of maturity.
ON is a song about resilience, overcoming difficulties, and learning how to carry on. “BTS shows a quality that is described in the theory as anti-fragility,” Stein explains. It enables people to take blows, hits, and setbacks in life without allowing them to break someone down. This song reminds us all to “keep on keeping on.”
To Stein, UGH! is a song expressing, “disgust at people who hide behind masks and direct their anger against others anonymously.” It gives their fans a small window into some of the pain BTS has felt over the years, especially in the age of social media.
00:00 (Zero O’Clock)
A song about old endings and new beginnings, 00:00 (Zero O’Clock) is focused on turning to a new page and transition in life. It’s a rebirth song reminding us that all things end, and all endings are followed by new beginnings.
V’s solo song is an intimate account of childhood memories. It’s a song about “remembering [the] experiences from days gone by [while] wrapped in the warm blanket of maternal nurturance and protection.” Psychologically, the inner child is not only the child of the past, but also the child of the present and future. It can be sensitive but also full of potential, just like regular children.
A true friend is hard to find. In some cultures, it’s even more difficult to find and sustain a firm friendship among men. This song, a duet between Jimin and V, asks each other to “Stay here, stay by my side.” Together for many years, Jimin and V affirm their friendship in the lyrics while honoring the enduring connection they share. At the same time, Friends also anticipates separation‒if only partial‒in the years to come.
In his solo song, Jin takes on the role of the Moon singing to the Earth, which symbolizes BTS singing to ARMY respectively. Stein feels it’s significant that, “BTS uses the moon to symbolize the light shining out to the fans.” Just as the moon is visually dramatic, romantic, and a light in the darkness, so is BTS. However the moon also moves in phases, which “suggests cycles when BTS is sometimes shining brightly and at other times, dimly.”
WAB: The Eternal
An affirmation that BTS and ARMY are one and together through it all, We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal is a statement of love. It also reassures that even after BTS is over, their music will live on and still inspire people. “It’s a very strong claim,” Stein says, “and it’s also affirming the strength of their unity as a group and of their unity with ARMY fans.”
We feel quite confident that Dr. Stein is right in that, aren't we ARMY? There is nothing quite like the bond BTS and ARMY share. It’s a unity for the ages, and we are honored to be by your side. Borahae!
Written by: Marcie
Edited by: sno
Designed by: Paige
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