BTS pays tribute to their past and looks forward to a bright future with ‘Proof’


Yaiza A Hernandez

Beginning in 2013, when the South Korean group, repped by a small, virtually unknown label, burst onto the scene with their song “No More Dream,” being constantly told they didn’t have what it takes to succeed. 


Still, they kept running to their first Korean Number One, to the top of the Billboard charts, and eventually to the world stage. Proof, the group’s latest release, is its most ambitious yet, but not necessarily in the way many would expect. Over a three-volume anthology, BTS not only chronicle their tireless, ultra-successful journey thus far, but also give listeners an intimate look into the hard work that has gone behind it. 


You know you’ve made it big if, after less than a decade in the game, you have enough of a discography to release an anthology album with more than forty-five songs and still leave out a few masterpieces. BTS’ Proof serves as a nostalgia trip for long-time fans and a summary introduction for the curious. With thirty old songs, three completely new tracks, and eleven new versions of well-loved classics, this album marks a satisfying closure to their first nine years for the group.


Proof isn’t just a celebration of BTS ‘vast discography, years in the business or significant achievements. It’s a detailed tracklist made in three acts where the group takes a simpler picture of the sound evolution of BTS and a reminder for an industry that didn’t want to believe in them.


While time has passed, BTS’ lyrics’ messages and emotions delivered through their songs has stayed consistent for the past nine years, the band has stayed on a single path of its own. “Proof” is the evidence of BTS’ unwavering pursuit of its dreams, which it promises to continue doing in the future.


Looking back on BTS’ anthology through “Proof” and its lead single, it leads to the message that however far BTS has come in terms of musical growth and success, the seven are still the same and will continue to be so. Through the lyrics of “Yet to Come,” the members acknowledge the weight of their accomplishments they have achieved, yet speak honestly about feeling burdened by them. What really strings the three-CD package, and the anthology of BTS, together is the core message the band has continued since their debut: Following one’s dream, striving tirelessly for it and never losing the self-trust and faith in the world.


The first CD chronicles the highlights of the band’s expansive career from the band’s title songs to their biggest hits. The 19-track record starts with “Born Singer,” which voices their honest emotions following their debut, and ends with “Yet to Come,” promising more to come in the future. 


The second CD shows the seven musicians in greater focus, with each of the members selecting solo and unit songs that are of special significance to them. Kicking off the second part of the album is another new song, “Run BTS,” reminiscent of their hip-hop roots. The lyrics are a hard-hitting retelling of the resilience and survival they have gone through in the nine years. 


The third part of the album is a gift for the fans, filled with unreleased demo tapes and never-before-heard versions of past songs available only on the physical CD. Marking the finale of the pack is the last new song “For Youth.” The song starts off with what sounds like an audio clip of what BTS members picked as their most memorable moment: when 90,000 fans sang along to “Young Forever” at London’s Wembley Stadium in 2019. After three years, the members finally returned the overwhelming emotion and gratitude they had felt then to fans with “For Youth.“ 


The real message delivered through the album becomes evident. It’s BTS’ gratitude to its fans, the Army, who have been with them the whole time from the start until now. Every moment BTS and Army were together has been the best, yet the future to come is even brighter.