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K-pop writer reviews the new BTS album

CHERYL W THOMPSON, HOST:

And finally today, the K-pop group BTS has a new album out. It's called "Proof." And like most things the band does, it's already trended on Twitter and has fans buzzing. The album is an anthology comprised of songs spanning the band's nearly decade-long career, but there are also new songs. Tamar Herman writes about K-pop for the South China Morning Post and has a book about the group called "BTS: Blood, Sweat & Tears." We caught up with her to learn a little bit about the new songs on the album.

TAMAR HERMAN: So "Yet To Come" is the lead single of the "Proof" album, so it's quite interesting. It's a little different from everything we've seen from BTS before because it's - yes, it's like a nostalgic track. It's kind of promising. You know, we're nine years into our career already. They're about to enter their 10th later this month on June 13. So they're already, you know, a decade strong. And they're saying, you know, it's still coming. We have more. So it's almost like a hint.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "YET TO COME (THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENT)")

BTS: (Singing) Moment is yet to come, yeah.

HERMAN: The music video kind of incorporates elements that people would recognize from, like their older music videos. So it's kind of like this fun walk through memory lane. And I think, you know, we spend so much time looking towards the future. Everybody does, you know, no matter what. But we always are where we came from. And the moments that define us are the ones that are in our past as well as in our future. So I think this song is kind of saying, we are still BTS as we go forward, but we are still going forward, and you, like, should look forward to it. So I really like that.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOR YOUTH")

BTS: (Singing) Every time I miss you - (singing in non-English language).

HERMAN: "For Youth" - it really feels like a song dedicated to BTS's fans, army. It features not only, like, some samplings from earlier songs from their Young Forever era, but it also, like, features the voices of army themselves. And it just expresses how much BTS appreciate, you know, army giving them essentially, like, their time, like, their youth, their life, their everything, their love.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FOR YOUTH")

BTS: (Singing in non-English language).

HERMAN: A lot of fans do talk about how, like, they are going through rough times that kind of are considered, you know, the youthful areas of life. So BTS have definitely emphasized that they are a voice for youth for a lot of their careers. So "For Youth," you know, if you take out the TH, it's for you. So it's quite a cute, I think, like, a nice, meaningful song for their fans.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RUN BTS")

UNIDENTIFIED SINGERS: (Vocalizing).

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: OK. OK. Let's go.

BTS: (Singing in non-English language).

HERMAN: So "Run BTS" is, like, the lead song for the second disc, and it's - first of all, it's like a fun name because it's the name of their variety show. So like, you can watch all these episodes of BTS just having fun and, like, playing games and, like, just doing fun stuff. So the title itself is quite cute in that regard, but also, the song itself is also quite fun. It's a little bit like if "Yet To Come" is a little bit more - I wouldn't say somber, but like, more soulful in the musicality, "Run BTS" is kind of fun. And you just listen to it, and you're just like, yes, this is it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RUN BTS")

BTS: Make it move, left and right. (Singing in non-English language).

HERMAN: On first listen, you just kind of are hit with the intensity of how much they've had to go through and how much they've had to pursue this. Like, it's not an easy path that they've pursued, and they are still running with that ambition and that diligence, and they're still going forward. So I think that's the theme of the song and also the theme of the album.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RUN BTS")

BTS: (Rapping in non-English language).

HERMAN: It's not been an easy run for them, even though, you know, now it feels, oh, BTS is everywhere. If you just like, listen to what they're saying and also what they're not saying, you kind of have this - you know, everybody goes through struggles, and BTS have definitely spoken about that. You know, they've really pursued this career and given it their all, even through all the hardships, and it's quite impressive.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RUN BTS")

BTS: Tell me what you want to, tell me what you want to, whoa. (Singing in non-English language).

THOMPSON: That was Tamar Herman, who covers the K-pop industry for the South China Morning Post, talking about "Proof," the new album from BTS. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.