What does it mean to BE in 2020? That is what BTS are gearing up to explore in their latest album, which is set to drop next month. According to Big Hit Entertainment, the label BTS have been signed to since their debut in 2013, the new album BE is made for the tumultuous state of 2020, arriving as a sonic declaration proclaiming: “Even in the face of this new normality, our life goes on.” Fittingly, in the first concept photo for the album revealed on Tuesday, the seven members are seen in video-call-ready looks: their upper bodies are dressed as if they’ve just finished a live show, wearing shirts and jackets that look a little ragged but still dashing, while down below they evoke a sense of cosiness in sleepwear and slippers. Anticipation is high for BE – their third album of the year, which will be released on November 20. Not only does it have the potential to become BTS’s fifth No 1 album on the US Billboard 200 charts, but it also arrives after the act have hit the top of the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart multiple times. Additionally, it will be the first release since the members became multimillionaires through Big Hit’s recent IPO, and expectations are high for them to deliver another popular release that not only makes history but moves sales, reassuring investors that they have made the right bet on the living pop legends and their company. Here’s what we know so far about BTS’s BE . BTS deliver ‘message of hope’ at UN General Assembly The latest in a busy year for BTS BE follows the release of February’s Map of the Soul: 7 and their Japanese album Map of the Soul: 7 – The Journey in July, both of which made waves on global music charts. Along with becoming their fourth No 1 album in the US, South Korea’s Gaon Chart reported that more than four million copies of Map of the Soul: 7 were sold globally, making it the bestselling album worldwide of 2020. Arguably the band’s biggest achievement of 2020 so far came in August when the single Dynamite made its debut at No 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart – it was the band’s first No 1 single in the United States and made BTS the first all-South Korean act to top the main US singles chart. Pre-orders for the first-run BE (Deluxe Edition) began on September 28. Sales are again expected in the millions of copies and to mark new heights in BTS’s historic career. What’s in a name? The title of BE is enigmatic, but BTS’ fans, known collectively as Army, have many theories about it. The most popular? BE reflects the concepts of “beginning” and “end”, with the positions of “B” and “E” in the English alphabet (B=2, E=5) adding up to the number seven, a nod to the act’s size and years together so far. The most BTS-ish BTS release yet BE’s tracklist has yet to be revealed, but the songs are again expected to express the BTS members’ thoughts and musicality. The group have shared part of the creative process with fans through their YouTube channel, revealing that each of the seven members took on different roles during the process of crafting it. The music on BE is accordingly said to offer “an even richer musical spectrum experience” than previous releases, and is the “most ‘BTS-ish’ music yet” that “reflects the thoughts, emotions and deepest ruminations of BTS” members as they worked on the album. The end of the beginning This year has seen immense wins for BTS, with release after release breaking records and bringing them to new heights, but it also signals the start of a new era for BTS: each day brings them closer to the day eldest member Jin has to begin his mandatory service in South Korea’s armed forces. BTS, SuperM keep K-pop industry rolling as smaller acts toil In the coming months and years, each member ultimately will have to take some time off from their career to fulfil their military duties. Although military enlistment has often meant the end of K-pop boy bands in the past, it is now common for acts to continue working as members rotate in and out of service. Since BTS renewed their contracts in 2018, signing on to another seven years at Big Hit, this is far from the last we’ll hear from the group, but it is currently unknown how they’re going to handle the enlistment of each member, potentially making BE the last album for some time to feature all seven members.