In 2015, BTS entered an era they called “The Most Beautiful Moment In Life.” That title referred to that period of young adulthood when everything feels possible and full of potential, but crippling insecurities and insecurities linger around every corner as you try to live a life of responsibility and caring for yourself. Six years later—older, wiser, and further removed from the intensity of that transition period—the Korean group returns to that description.
This time, however, “The Most Beautiful Moment In Life” has evolved. It is no longer just fixated on a particular stage of life or even anchored in the present. On ‘Yet To Come (The Most Beautiful Moment)’, the lead single from BTS’ new anthology album ‘Proof’, it is simultaneously tinged with nostalgia and brimming with optimism for the future. “Yes, the past was honestly the best / But my best is what comes after,” V sings early, his voice rich and luxurious in tone, and confident in demeanor.
“Proof” — which largely contains the songs that propelled BTS to the dizzying heights they now occupy (or demos and alternatives of those songs) — is a moment to take stock and reflect, and “Yet To Come ‘ immediately dives into mode. Across the track, a poignant slice of alternative hip-hop, the seven members weigh everything from the accolades bestowed upon them over the years, their purpose, and their future.
“That awkward title we got one day / We’re still ashamed to be called the best”, Suga raps as the gliding melodies of the exciting chorus are immersed in super-low-frequency bass. The humble spirit the group is still known for colors their musings, often shaking off the grand implications of the nicknames often used to refer to them (record breakers, history makers, and more). “We Just Loved Music / We’re Just Running Forward,” Jungkook soberly offers, while J-Hope suggests that even with the world’s lofty take on the band, there’s still work to be done: “I’ve got a lot to learn / My life, I’ve got a lot to accomplish.”
The musings on ‘Yet To Come’ not only take a look back at the past, but also tackle some of the themes that have remained constant in BTS’s work thus far. As they rap and sing their story, they touch on the idea of having a dream (“Do you have a dream? What is the end of that path?”), youth and growth (“Towards the Day / More Like Ourselves”†
Musically, the song also focuses on what preceded it. It breathes the same emotional vibe as 2017’s “Spring Day,” one of the group’s best songs, while throwing things back even further. Between the track’s layers, there’s a faint, high-pitched sound that nods to the chipmunk soul-sampling style of hip-hop in the early to mid-nineties. When RM raps “We’re going to touch the sky for the day we die”feels not just as a reference to Kanye West’s ‘Touch The Sky’, but as a subtle, clever nod to that entire era.
The single isn’t the only fresh material on ‘Proof’ and the other new tracks from the record continue their practice to wrap up this chapter of BTS’ story. Previously unreleased tracks ‘Quotation Mark’ and ‘Young Love’ cut flowing grooves and dripping soul respectively, while ‘Run BTS’ returns to the septet’s hip-hop roots in its infectious, rousing rhythms. ‘For Youth’ envelops these gems in emotional form, sampling 2016’s ‘Epilogue: Young Forever’ before paying tribute to the ever-growing fan base that has stood by their side since 2013. “Yes, you are my youth / And my spring / My grateful friend / My pride, my heaven and love,” J-Hope half croons.
When an era comes to an end there is often a sense of finality that accompanies it and that is the case with ‘Proof’. But, as the saying goes, when one door closes another opens and there are enough moments in these rousing songs that allay any fear that this is it forever. As ‘Yet To Come’ tells us, the most beautiful moment in life will continue to turn into new peaks and, like Jungkook’s silky vow of “Promise we’ll keep coming back for more” suggests, BTS won’t be far away.
BTS’ new compilation album ‘Proof’ is now out