Physical album artwork
Top row: Versions “Y” and “O”
Bottom row: Versions “U” and “R”
Singles from Love Yourself: Tear
Released: May 18, 2018
Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’ (stylized as LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’) is the third Korean studio album (sixth overall) by South Korean boy band BTS. The album was released on May 18, 2018 by Big Hit Entertainment. It is available in four versions and contains eleven tracks, with “Fake Love” as its lead single. The concept album explores themes relating to the pains and sorrows of separation. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, becoming BTS’ highest-charting album in a Western market, as well as the first K-pop album to top the US albums chart and the highest-charting album by an Asian act.
- 1 Background and release
- 2 Promotion
- 3 Critical reception
- 4 Commercial performance
- 5 Track listing
- 6 Charts
- 7 Release history
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Background and release
Love Yourself: Tear was first announced on April 14, 2018, following the release of a nine-minute short film entitled “Euphoria: Theme of Love Yourself 起 Wonder” on April 5. The video included a new single, also named “Euphoria”, recorded as a solo by member Jungkook. The song was produced by DJ Swivel, Candace Nicole Sosa, Melanie Fontana, Bang Si-hyuk, Supreme Boi, Adora, and BTS’ leader RM, and was complimented for its synth-pop style and tropical house elements. Tear was designed as a follow-up to BTS’ 2017 EP Love Yourself: Her, with “Euphoria” serving to connect the two releases.
On May 6, the trailer for the album, featuring a new song entitled “Singularity”, was released. The neo-soul solo was performed by member V, and serves as the intro track for the album. “Singularity” was produced by British composer Charlie J. Perry, with lyrics also provided by RM. The trailer was commended for its sensual, dream-like atmosphere, use of symbolism and contrast, and charismatic performance by V. The song itself received compliments for its haunting tune, jazz elements and themes of desperation, with V garnering praise for his rich, expressive voice and quiet, confident delivery. Promotional concept photos presenting four different themes were released on May 8, for the “O” and “R” versions, and May 10 for the “Y” and “U” versions. The official track list of eleven songs was released on May 13, revealing a second collaboration with Steve Aoki, as well as a track titled “Airplane pt.2”, said to be an extension of J-Hope’s song, Airplane, from his mixtape Hope World.
On May 14, the first video teaser for what was revealed to be the first single, “Fake Love”, was released via BigHit’s official YouTube channel. The song has been described as “an emo, hip hop genre track with a grunge rock guitar sound & groovy trap beat that creates an odd gloominess”, and lyrics that “clearly represent the theme of the album by realizing that a love that was thought to be fated was actually a lie”. The Billboard Music Awards released a short, sneak peek clip from the music video on May 15, which showed part of the new choreography and teased a line from the song’s chorus, “I’m so sick of this fake love”. BigHit released the second and final video teaser on May 16. On May 18, the album was released, along with the music video for “Fake Love”.
On May 18, 2018, two hours prior to the album’s release, a “Comeback Preview Show” was broadcast live from Los Angeles on Naver’s V LIVE broadcasting site featuring BTS discussing the new music. It garnered over 3.3 million viewers. “Fake Love” made its worldwide television debut on May 20, when BTS performed it live at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards.
As was previously done for Love Yourself: Her, a special “BTS Comeback Show”, hosted by Mnet, was broadcast live worldwide on May 24, featuring performances of “Fake Love” and several B-side songs from the album. The group revealed behind the scenes images of comeback preparations and presented a special video specifically for their fans. The show was broadcast simultaneously online via Mnet Japan, YouTube, Facebook and Joox. BTS also performed “Fake Love” on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on May 25, marking their second appearance on the program.
Love Yourself: Tear received positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 74, which indicates “generally favorable reviews”. Neil Z. Yeung from AllMusic gave the album four stars out of five stating that “stylish and yearning, Love Yourself: Tear is BTS at a polished and focused peak, cohesive enough to feel like it was conceived in one particular period rather than cobbled together like some of their previous releases”. Blanca Méndez of Spin stated that “whereas the first installment of the series seemed uneasy and disjointed in its span of styles, Love Yourself: Tear’s genre-hopping sounds like the group is simply having a good time”. Sheldon Pearce of Pitchfork wrote that the album “formula is a slick, loosely thematic album about love and loss, with a stronger focus on rapping than ever before” and that “Tear aims for cohesion and produces fun, prismatic songs in the process.” Jess Lau of The 405 noted that “Love Yourself: Tear shows off each individual member’s qualities fairly and acts as a well-structured introduction to a wider global audience that is all too eager to pick out negatives”. Elias Leight from Rolling Stone stated that “BTS’ Love Yourself: Tear is K-Pop with genre-hopping panache” and noted that “throughout it all, the members of BTS affect melodic sincerity, singing with intensity and melisma, rapping in tones that show their effort and strain, as if caring never went out of style”.
Crystal Tai of the South China Morning Post said, “On Love Yourself: Tear, the band also known as the Bangtan Boys, reveal that they are boys no longer, instead embracing a mature sound that is as dark as it is real”. Jeff Benjamin from Fuse TV pointed out that “while the lead-up to the album release saw BTS shifting expectations for Korean-pop acts, the music itself positions them away from any dismissive boy band or pop star labels”. While, Hong Dam-young of The Korea Herald revealed “BTS’ focus has always been on connecting with listeners and using its members’ own stories as leverage. And the group has not deviated from that in its new album Love Yourself: Tear” describing, “Musically, the fully packed 11-track album is admirable, as it seamlessly shifts between genres ranging from emo hip hop and Latin pop to pop ballads. Unlike the group’s previous socially conscious hip-hop works, Love Yourself: Tear is overtaken by dark tunes and complexed feelings of love” adding that, “The key factor behind the album’s explosive success doesn’t lie solely on its musical versatility and extravagance, but also in its overarching message: What truly matters is to deliver messages that can truly touch a listener’s heart”.
Alexis Petridis of The Guardian, however, gave the album a mixed review, writing that “On the plus side, they’re very good at ballads, performing them with a breathy intensity that’s genuinely affecting and powerful…” but “there is also stuff that you struggle to recall the second it finishes: in one ear and out the other it goes, leaving no recognisable trace. It’s not that it’s overly saccharine, which is the charge regularly levelled at K-pop; it’s just commonplace”. Petridis pointed out that “the phenomenon of BTS seems more interesting than the music at its centre, although Love Yourself: Tear is certainly good enough to keep the phenomenon moving smoothly”.
Between April 18 and 25, 2018, the first six days of the pre-order period for Love Yourself: Tear, IRIVER reported that the album had sold more than 1.44 million copies domestically, surpassing its predecessor Love Yourself: Her as the most pre-ordered album in Korea, and making BTS the first K-pop group to have two consecutive albums exceed one million pre-orders. On May 24, news media revealed updated numbers showing that pre-orders had actually crossed 1.5 million copies. After its release, Love Yourself Tear sold over one million copies during its first week, around 250,000 copies more than Love Yourself: Her, with BTS becoming the first K-pop artist to achieve this on the Hanteo chart since its inception in 1993, and making them true “double million sellers” (pure, without repackage).
On May 27, 2018, the album debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200, earning 135,000 album-equivalent units (including 100,000 pure album sales), becoming BTS’ highest-charting album in the US, as well as the first K-pop album to top the US albums chart, and the highest-charting album by an Asian act. It is also the highest sales week for both BTS and a Korean act in the United States, and the first album primarily in a non-English language to top the Billboard 200 since Il Divo with Ancora in 2006.
Credits adapted from the Korean Broadcasting System’s approval for public broadcasting and the liner notes of the physical album.
- “Fake Love” Music Video on YouTube
- Skool Luv Affair
- The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1
- The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 2
- Love Yourself: 承 ‘Her’
- The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever
- 2 Cool 4 Skool
- “I Need U”
- “Blood Sweat & Tears”
- “Spring Day”
- “Mic Drop”
- “Don’t Leave Me”
- “Fake Love”
- 2015 BTS Live Trilogy Episode II: The Red Bullet
- 2017 BTS Live Trilogy Episode III: The Wings Tour
- BTS World Tour: Love Yourself
Campaigns and projects
- Love Myself
- Big Hit Entertainment
- iriver Inc
- Kakao M
- Pony Canyon
- Universal Music
- Def Jam Japan
- RED Distribution
- Awards and nominations