I think it’s finally time for me to come to terms with the fact that I’ve begun to fall out of love with BTS’ music. 2020 is a year that has heralded massive success for the group and their recent success on the billboard hot 100 with August’s Dynamite is certainly evidence of that. But while their music has continued to grow in popularity, It’s personally become harder for me to enjoy. I didn’t think too highly of February’s ‘Map of the Soul: 7‘ and even the songs that I did enjoy like We are Bulletproof: the Eternal have had nowhere near the staying power I would have expected. Stay Gold and Dynamite also didn’t last too long on my playlists. Life Goes On comes as the groups fifth(!) single of the year and unfortunately shares a similar fate to its predecessors.
The last time BTS returned with a single branded under the genre of “alternative hip hop”, we got one of my favourite and most played songs of all time; the legendary Spring Day. And unfortunately, despite the massive hype and sentimental circumstances surrounding this comeback, Life Goes On is no Spring Day. Not even close really. That’s not much of a knock on Life Goes On as a song but in a comparison of promoted mid-tempo’s, such parallels are to be expected. As a song of its own, Life Goes On maintains BTS’ track record for having a notable emotive atmosphere in their more sentimental offerings. And despite the track being helmed by the producers responsible for some of the groups most successful singles, Life Goes On feels lacking. Much of this has got to do with the chorus, which ebbs and flows along on a soft, but rather unremarkable melody. The mixing here is also terribly off-putting. It might just be a personal thing but the interplay between the dominant and backing vocals just doesn’t sound pleasant to the ears. This coupled with Bighit’s now notoriously terrible vocal processing and you’ve got a centrepiece that doesn’t spark anything without the accompanying music video.
That’s quite a shame because Life Goes On has some really enjoyable verses. The more lucid, unfiltered hip-hop based structure and delivery harkens back to the groups earlier years and feels much more authentic than some of their other recent attempts. The lack of vocal processing is also appreciated. The guitar and percussion led instrumental is enjoyable, adding a more comforting atmosphere to a track that’s intended to act as a positive reminder to many during these times. This more mellow soundscape also theoretically bodes well for its longevity, something many 2020 singles, including BTS’ own, have suffered from immensely. I’m sure many fans will be delighted with this comeback but after my first few listens, Life Goes On remains another BTS comeback that fails to live up to the hype established by the biggest group in the world.
Final Rating: 7.25 / 10