The men of BTS have always liked allegory and myth. Consider their early albums, riffs on Jungian philosophy. Consider “ON,” their 2020 single, rife with biblical references and callbacks to apocalyptic movies. For Jack in the Box, rapper J-Hope’s first official solo album, he doubles down on Greek mythology and the concept of hope, aptly enough.

This is the first individual project released after BTS announced in June they would be focusing more on their solo careers. Jack in the Box is also a more serious follow-up to J-Hope’s uplifting 2018 mixtape Hope World, as well as a kind of mission statement and candid reflection on the pressures, concerns, and ultimate ambitions that drive him. It addresses where BTS has been—and suggests where they might be going.
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Returning to his—and BTS’—roots

The album opens with an English voiceover telling the Greek myth of Pandora, in which the beautiful but ill-fated lady opens a box of mysteries and releases into the world all manner of bad things. (The god Zeus warned her not to, but her curiosity cannot be quashed.) The silver lining of the incident: hope, the last thing that flutters out of the infamous box. “Hope gave people the will to carry on living amidst the pain and strife,” the narrator intones in the intro track.

The rapper is, clearly, not aiming for subtlety when it comes to his intentions and his belief in the power of his own work and influence on his fans. Nor is he trying to downplay the impact that BTS’s outsized success has had on him—as an artist and an individual. With Jack in the Box, though, he returns to his roots as a serious rapper, and to BTS’s roots as an act focused on shedding light on the fears that drive us. The album is mostly in Korean, with no features. The first half is tinged with darkness in its beats and its focus; the second half a bit lighter, with some R&B moments.

J-Hope is not concerned with making a play for chart status; there are no songs of the summer. Unlike BTS’s most recent releases, many of which leaned into bright pop and were sung in English, his Korean rapping is foregrounded, with a few English lines thrown in for emphasis. This feels like early BTS: experimental, influenced by classic hip-hop, unapologetic. (He even …read more

Source:: Time – Entertainment


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