January 31, 2023

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J-Hope’s Jack in the Box is an intoxicating

[Source: Indian Express]

BTS’ J-Hope’s latest album Jack In The Box delved into different facets of his personality and sensibility, exploring the real Jung Hoseok, rather than just the person we’ve seen for the past decade.

BTS’s rapper and lead choreographer J-Hope (born Jung Hoseok) utters these words in low and menacing tones as he stumbles past flames in his new track, Arson, perhaps the most profound song in the album, Jack In The Box.

The expression is gaunt, the atmosphere is grey and it’s just his words that reverberate throughout the music video.

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Powerfully addictive with a peculiar siren in the background, J-Hope transitions from low undertones to a ringing urgency, a contrast to his other cheery album, Hope World.

It’s done, he says as he lies down amid flames. With Arson and Jack In The Box, J-Hope burns down his old image and the expectations he has been carrying for years and we see Jung Hoseok, a more powerful and intimidating figure.

It’s Chapter 2 as BTS promised, and it looks like it won’t be anything like what we’ve seen before. We don’t know where the boys go from here, but we are in for the ride.

In the past few years, BTS has evolved into an unstoppable force. From the boys who started in 2013 with messages on mental health and societal pressures using hip-hop, went on to explore new musical styles, ranging from wistful to peppy, hopeful and fun pop songs like Butter, Permission To Dance and My Universe collaboration with Coldplay signalling the end of the pandemic.

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They escalated the astronomical heights of fame, winning the Grammy night with an electric performance of Butter and continued to top Billboards.

They had changed the face of K-Pop, and they knew that, but it wasn’t enough. They had come a long way from where they began, but the dreariness was seeping in. While their songs and albums received much love from ARMY, the band themselves wasn’t quite happy and growing exhaustion brewed, as clear from RM’s explanations at the Festa 2022 dinner.

Feeling that they had lost their way and the burden of being a K-Pop idol, he said that they needed to step back and understand what their message should actually be and J-Hope agreed that it would be healthier for them.

So, they decided to also focus on solo careers. In retrospect, it seems like a sensible decision, because we got to see J-Hope’s growth as an artist and his attempts at testing his own limits.

He led the charge with a new album that brought out a completely different side to him.