BTS has released the first comeback trailer for upcoming album Map of the Soul: 7. “Interlude: Shadow” comes only two days after the group surprised everyone with the album’s announcement. Whereas the Love Yourself era gave us all vocal-line intros, it seems Map of the Soul‘s will be going to the rap line. For “Shadow,” it’s Suga who takes center stage.
The three-minute trailer opens with the rapper standing in front of a door at the end of what appears to be a hotel corridor. Along the way, six hooded figures are facing three doors on each side. Suga starts rapping in English, “I wanna be a rap star, I wanna be the top, I wanna be a rockstar, I want it all mine, I wanna be rich, I wanna be the king…”
Some fans noted the similarity between this door and Anish Kapoor’s art piece, Svayambh, in which a block of paint travels through a series of arches that get smaller the farther it travels. As the block is too big to fit its path, it has to lose some of itself to get through, leading to speculation that “Shadow” carries the meaning that when someone goes through the door where Suga stands, they inevitably leave a part of themselves behind.
“Interlude: Shadow” is to “Intro: O!RUL8,2?” what “Intro: Persona” was to “Intro: Skool Luv Affair.” With a soft rap that speeds up as it goes into the pre-chorus, the song has a pleasant melody that’s almost soothing if you don’t pay attention to the lyrics. Perhaps the most surprising part is when Suga starts singing, not because we haven’t heard him sing like this before, but because it changes the mood of the song. Up to this point, the lyrics talk about how he wanted to become a star, get to the top, and be famous. However, when his dreams become a reality, he starts to see the darker side of success. There are no surprises here; we’ve seen various artists, including BTS themselves, talk about how fame comes with many downsides.
The song then turns into a plea: “Don’t let me shine, don’t let me down, don’t let me fly,” Suga sings, but who is he talking to? Is he asking other people to hold him accountable? To keep him grounded? Or is he pleading with himself to not let fame get the best of him?
BTS began their Map of the Soul era with last year’s album, Map of the Soul: Persona, inspired by a map of the same name created by psychologist Carl Jung that is made up of a few components that will help you uncover your true self. The most prominent are persona, shadow, and ego. Ego is our ideal self — the person we aim to be in life; and persona, the different personalities that we show the world, was embodied by RM’s “Intro: Persona.”
Shadow, as explained in Map of the Soul Persona: Our Many Faces by Murray Stein, is hidden entity within ourselves; our evil twin who shows us our dark side and is often depicted as a hooded figure. The more you try to suppress this shadow, the stronger it becomes. That might be why in the lyrics Suga says there is a shadow at his feet that’s gotten even bigger.
The music video follows the BTS rapper from scene to scene — in some, he is trying to escape these hooded people, while in others, there are hands that are trying to grab him. We soon see the rapper on an elevated platform resembling that of a concert stage with a crowd pointing their phone cameras at him. If the hooded figures seem familiar, it’s because we’ve seen them in other BTS music videos, the most recent being “Intro: Persona.”
At one point, we finally see the hands catching Suga. Does it mean that he feels like his shadow self has taken over and now he’s battling to get himself back? Or is fame his shadow? There might not be a concrete answer just like we didn’t get a concrete answer to RM’s “Persona.” All we can conclude is that BTS, both the artists and individuals, are trying to figure out who they are just like the rest of us. They’ve chosen to share this journey with Map of the Soul: 7, which will be released on February 21.
We can’t wait to see what BTS will reveal next with Comeback Trailer: Ego and the rest of this album.
What did you think of Suga’s intro, “Shadow”? Let us know in the comments below.
Cover Image: Suga of BTS (BigHit Entertainment)
Written by Dianelys Fuentes