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BTS Drops 'Black Swan' — And A Lavishly Choreographed Art Film

Can your boy band do this?

The best-selling Korean sensation BTS just dropped the first single from its new album — Map of the Soul: 7, out Feb. 21 — and it's a swirl of string-swept emo-rap introspection. The song's artistic ambitions are impressive enough, but check out the accompanying art film, in which the MN Dance Company (from Slovenia, not Minnesota) interprets the song through lavish choreography, shot in what appear to be the bones of an old shopping mall.

It's a bold step for a group whose worldwide commercial dominance has only emboldened its artistic impulses. Opening with a quote from Martha Graham about a dancer's mortality, BTS's "Black Swan" film nicely reflects the song's message — about artists' fraught relationship with the work that sustains them.

Map of the Soul: 7comes out Feb. 21 viaBig Hit.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Stephen Thompson is a writer, editor and reviewer for NPR Music, where he speaks into any microphone that will have him and appears as a frequent panelist on All Songs Considered. Since 2010, Thompson has been a fixture on the NPR roundtable podcast Pop Culture Happy Hour, which he created and developed with NPR correspondent Linda Holmes. In 2008, he and Bob Boilen created the NPR Music video series Tiny Desk Concerts, in which musicians perform at Boilen's desk. (To be more specific, Thompson had the idea, which took seconds, while Boilen created the series, which took years. Thompson will insist upon equal billing until the day he dies.)