BTS’s performance at the 2019 Melon Music Awards was nothing short of legendary. The iconic performance also seemed to contain multiple hints for BTS’s next comeback. ARMY immediately went into investigation mode, resembling the meme of Charlie in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia speculating about Pepe Silvia.
In all fairness, BTS left so many possible clues in their MMA performance it’s almost impossible to keep track. The members of BTS are super committed to their artistry and put a large amount of detail into each comeback.
BTS placed an emphasis on their past
For BTS’s MMA set, the group performed “Intro: Persona,” “Boy in Luv,” “Boy With Luv,” “Mikrokosmos,” and “Dionysus.” Before “Dionysus,” V, Jin, Jimin, Suga, Jungkook, and J-Hope each performed solo dance breaks to a past BTS song. Each song covered a different BTS era, starting with their 2013 debut and ending with present day.
V danced to “No More Dream,” BTS’s debut single in 2013. Jin danced to their 2014 song “Danger.” Jimin performed an extended dance to 2015’s “I NEED U” which then transformed into Suga’s dance to 2016’s “Fire.” Jungkook performed in a pool of water to BTS’s 2016 hit “Save Me” and J-Hope danced to a remix of their 2018 single “Fake Love.” RM then appeared during “Dionysus,” signaling BTS’s current Map of the Soul era.
During RM’s performance of “Intro: Persona,” the title of their first single “No More Dream” was written throughout the classroom set. Before the final chorus in “Dionysus,” BTS performed a dance break to their 2013 song “N.O” remixed with “Dionysus.” Throughout the performance, BTS managed to tie in their past with their current Map of the Soul era.
BTS will return to their HYYH story lines for their next comeback
Based on BTS’s MMA performance, it seems like BTS will be returning to their HYYH storytelling. HYYH stands for “Hwa Yong Yeon Hwa” and is BTS’s The Most Beautiful Moment in Life era. The first VCR before BTS’s MMA performance showed the members of BTS asleep in a semi-circle. This resembles the ending of BTS’s “I NEED U” music video.
“I NEED U” is the lead single from BTS’s EP, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 1. The music video for “I NEED U” is considered the first video of the BTS Universe, a series of music videos in which the members of BTS are characters connected through different story lines.
“Fake Love” is the most recent BTS music video to incorporate the HYYH storytelling, and it was the last song performed in a dance break before RM appeared in “Dionysus.” The first VCR also showed RM holding a lighter in a similar way Suga did in the HYYH era.
In the second VCR of the performance, Jungkook narrates his pondering about his past, present, and future personas. As he does, small TVs play “No More Dream,” “Fire,” “I NEED U,” “Fake Love,” “Save Me,” and “Danger.” These were all the songs performed as solo dance breaks, while Jimin performed a live extended dance to “I NEED U,” signaling the song’s importance.
“Boy With Luv” is the lead single from BTS’s EP Map of the Soul: Persona, and it is a continuation to their 2014 song, “Boy in Luv.” At the MMAs, BTS performed the two songs back to back, showing how the choreography is connected. Because the first VCR opened with the members of BTS resembling the ending of “I NEED U,” one could argue the lead single of their next album will be a continuation of that song.
BTS’s comeback album will either be called ‘Map of the Soul: Shadow’ or ‘Map of the Soul: Ego’
Going into BTS’s MMA performance, ARMY was convinced that BTS’s next album would be called Map of the Soul: Shadow. This seemed to be confirmed during BTS’s Love Yourself: Speak Yourself [The Final] concerts when the VCRs placed an emphasis on shadows, light, and time.
The first VCR for BTS’s MMA performance seemingly incorporated shadows as well. While the boys slept, their shadows appeared in the room. Each shadow glitched, revealing imagery personal to the BTS members’ HYYH story lines. For example, Suga’s shadow showed fire and Jimin’s shadow showed water.
Because the shadows glitched, some fans suspect the album will actually be called Map of the Soul: Ego. The set for RM’s performance of “Intro: Persona” also had “Ego” written several times around the room.
“someone also mentioned that the ‘shadows’ during MMA video were actually projections, as seen by the glitches. They were no actual shadows. And projections are related to the Ego, projecting a self which is then filtered by persona…,” a Twitter user wrote.
The comeback album will drop sometime in January 2020
At this point, most BTS fans strongly suspect their comeback album will drop sometime in January 2020. After Love Yourself: Speak Yourself [The Final], fans noticed the date Jan. 24 in VCRs and performances. When RM performed “Intro: Persona” at the MMAs, the date Jan. 10 was spray painted on a wall.
“bet bts is gonna drop map of the soul: shadow teasers on january 10 and album will be released on january 24,” one fan speculated.