Jack In The Box Review: BTS’ J-Hope’s soul bearing attempt is soft in the feels but rough around the edges
The BTS member has combined his Jung Hoseok, J-Hope and Hobi aliases.
BTS member J-Hope has always been an ace, this time around- even more so. How?
Jung Hoseok, born on February 18, 1994 is a South Korean rapper, singer, dancer, songwriter, record producer and the absolute source of everything bright and hopeful for his fellow members of the iconic septet BTS as well as their unimaginably large throng of fans, ARMYs spread around the world. But that’s all the information we already know of.
Making his first full length album release and being the first from his group to officially do so, J-Hope dropped ‘Jack In The Box’ on July 15. A couple of weeks since its release and the album has broken multiple records, understandably so. Today, we take a look at the many reasons why it works with a track by track breakdown of this 10-song record.
Intro: It is unbelievable if any other start to the album could be as perfect as this one, as it very obviously traces back to the roots of what being J-Hope stands for. Taking a page from the tale of ‘Pandora’s Box’ where ‘hope’ is the last remaining item, a woman’s voice reads out the story. It is genius and very reflective of the contents of the album.
Pandora’s Box: Right on cue, this track meets the audiences as a scroll from the past. J-Hope’s existence is painted over his will to go back to his basics to open his own box that reveals a token his moniker.
MORE: The pre-release single saw J-Hope taking on a challenging and effective peep into his journey as an artist and a thirst for even ‘MORE’. With old school hip-hop beats he admits to self-learning and his readiness to fail in the process of creating art.
STOP: The Korean name for the song translates to ‘There Are No Bad People In The World’ and it is depictive of J-Hope’s beliefs. A world riddled with sad happenings is still a world full of people who never wish to be bad. The artist’s humane tendencies rumble through the softer tones of the track where asks people to stop fighting, it’s more hopeful than decisive.
= (Equal Sign): The song is deep rooted into J-Hope’s understanding of people. He desires an equal stature and belts out the many reasons why he thinks it makes the perfect sense. “Hate'll paralyze your mind/ Gotta see the other side”, hopeful indeed.
Music Box : Reflection: It is the perfect breather to go over the class change in style of music that J-Hope has presented so far. The audio is that of an eerie music playing from the toy that the album’s art is based on.
What if…: The hip-hop industry’a attention was brought to this track particularly because of the presence of R. Diggs and R. Jones from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan in the credits. Interestingly J-Hope also has their song ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ sampled for ‘What if…’. Lyrically, it’s a sharp breakage of J-Hope’s many fears. He talks to his own self as two different entities questioning the other’s existence and his desperation to be in the game.
Safety Zone: The most surprising one on the album, J-Hope once again lays himself bare with his inner thoughts of having no home to call his own while also having the privilege of being a star. In a life that’s a paradox, he wonders if there really is any ‘Safety Zone’ of his own.
Future: Much like the title, the artist raps of his many wants and haves. He counts the numerous steps that took to be where he is today and looks at the scary future lying ahead of him. It seems to be an almost acceptance of the struggles that he has so far chanted over the course of the album.
Arson: The title track for ‘Jack In The Box’, J-Hope recounts the many aspects of being himself and letting go of any inhibitions by burning them as a celebration of his glory. While the fire he lit to keep himself going has turned to an ‘Arson’, he wonders if he should keep going or stop.
Ahead of his monumental performance at the Lollapalooza music festival, we walked with J-Hope, through his many facades that he has to keep up for survival and his real self that wants nothing but to reveal itself. Breaking away from the expectations of a K-pop idol and putting himself to a test, J-Hope has hit quite the challenge for himself with this release. ‘Jack In The Box’ is brave and nerve-wracking but applaud worthy at the same time.
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