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BTS’s J-hope “Jack in the Box’ promotional image. Photo: Handout

BTS’s J-Hope delves into his darker side with first solo album ‘Jack in the Box’

  • The album is the first formal solo effort released by any BTS member since they announced last month that they would focus on individual projects
  • Full of drama, with ambient rock and intense raps, ‘Jack in the Box’ is dark but also contemplative
Tamar Hermanin United States

The world is undeniably in a bad way, in pretty much every region and country. Political unrest and violence are rampant. Leaders are resigning or being assassinated. The Covid-19 pandemic still rages, with new variants and a new potential pandemic in the form of monkeypox burgeoning daily.

Amid it all, the only thing the average person has is hope.

And on his new album, “Jack in the Box”, BTS’s J-Hope leans into this, exploring the darkness on his own terms in singles More and Arson, as well as the B-sides.

With a stage name inspired by the myth of Pandora’s box, Jung Hoseok, better known as one-seventh of history-making recordmakers BTS, dropped his first album on Friday.

“Jack in the Box” is the first formal solo album from any BTS member, and follows a series of solo mixtapes including J-Hope’s own 2018 release “Hope World”, released only digitally.

While Hope World and other solo efforts by J-Hope have been more overtly bright and effusive in musical styling, “Jack in the Box” takes the BTS member, who was a well-known hip-hop dancer before joining the K-pop group, out of his comfort zone.

Like what Pandora released, J-Hope’s version of coming out of the box is dark, but it’s also contemplative – and fittingly retains his ambitious, insightful form of hope that has won fans across the world.

Full of drama, with ambient rock and intense raps overflowing throughout, “Jack in the Box” is said to reflect J-Hope’s “agony, passion and aspirations” according to a press statement.

“Jack in the Box” is the first album from a BTS member following the group’s release of their “Proof” anthology album, accompanied by an announcement last month that they would spend time focused on individual projects.

Other members have also kept busy since the news of BTS’s temporary break from group projects.

Jungkook recently collaborated with the American songwriter Charlie Puth on his new song Left and Right, while V is appearing in one of the new BTS-featuring Disney+ shows, In the Soop: Friendcation, a travel show featuring the BTS member and some of his celebrity pals.