- On first glance, the release of such a Lighter and Softer album like LOVE YOURSELF: Her (with tracks like "DNA" and "Best of Me" having somewhat of a Broken Base) might seem odd for a group who is known for social commentary, having previously had Darker and Edgier releases such as WINGS and The Most Beautiful Moment in Life. However, a closer look into the songs (as well as Word of God) indicates otherwise, especially with the release of LOVE YOURSELF: Tear:
- LOVE YOURSELF: Her as a whole has a Tone Shift, fitting the development of a relationship. The first half has only songs related to love, but even those get a bit... odd. It starts with "Serendipity" (a Sweet Dreams Fuel song about finding love), followed by "DNA" (about predestined love), "Best Of Me" (about needing the other person to become a better person), "Dimple" (about being head over heels in love/obsessed with someone's physical trait)... and "Pied Piper" (about fandom obsession, equated with falling under the control of the piper's flute). Love, then, because deeper, and deeper, and deeper, turning into obsession.
- The second half starts with the Billboard Skit, followed by "Mic Drop". This changes tone and topics, leading into "Go Go" (a song about spending all your money on simple pleasures, as current pressures and economic circumstances don't allow nor motivate young people to save up for the future), ending with...
- "Outro: Her", which might be the most somber in the album, and ties to the overall theme of the LOVE YOURSELF series: the person starts hiding their weaknesses and "uglier" side, putting on a mask to become the one the other loves and make them happy (w. This theme continues in the hidden tracks, which bring up the controlled, cleaned-up nature of BTS as idols (which was already implied in "Outro: Her"), and the desire to show them their true selves and their hardships.
- LOVE YOURSELF: Tear details the consequences of the above: Loss of Identity, the realization that it's fake love (as the other didn't love your true self), the end of the relationship, and the anger and pain that's left afterwards, ending with the possibility of a slow process of healing and becoming who you truly are.
- The series, therefore, is meant to be listened to as a whole, with Her being about finding love and putting on a mask to maintain it, and Tear about that love falling apart and the mask finally breaking.
- As stated in the Tear Jerker page, the overall message of the LOVE YOURSELF series is that, if you're not true to yourself, hiding the bad side of yourself from the person you love, the love won't last. This message, as revealed by closer reading of the lyrics of songs such as "Outro: Her", "Best of Me", "Fake Love", and the hidden tracks in LOVE YOURSELF: Her, also applies to the relationship of Kpop idols with their fans.
- Korean idol companies in general create an idealized, cleaned-up version of their idols through make-up, editing, and control of their image by Contractual Purity, with idols having to go to great lengths to maintain it in order to make their fans happy. Image is particularly important in Korea, especially for idols, as any misstep (even minor perceived "wrongs" like cursing or dating) could easily lead to backlash, losing fans, being criticized by or even dropped from media, and possibly end careers.
- So, what about BTS? One of the hidden tracks in Her explicitly states that, while the members try to be as honest with their fans as possible and develop a close relationship with them, their image is still filtered and (as Suga puts it) wrapped-up nicely in order to show their better side to people. While BTS try to be outspoken, the judgmental nature of the public and media - especially with the sociopolitical context of South Korea note - also limits their ability to speak up openly about certain topics, and means they have to constantly watch their own behavior.
- However, they still try. Their posts in social media, sharing both ; the incorporation of their personal story and struggles in their songs, both in regular albums and in solo mixtapes, the latter of which were released for free; the fact that they try to act as authentic as possible in Bangtan Bombs, variety shows, and interviews; all the times they openly mock each other and their CEO; all of those point to the fact that, despite being idols, they go out of the way to be true to themselves and to the fans. In turn, as [ARMYs] try to promote among themselves, fans love and support all seven members for who they are, living both good and bad times together and building what "Magic Shop" describes as a mutual relationship of comfort. So unlike in LOVE YOURSELF, it's not fake love.
- Another element related to the above that's Fridge Brilliance: the Reality Show Burn The Stage - meant to present a "rawer" side of themselves by showing both good and bad moments behind the scenes of the WINGS Tour, from members goofing around, interacting with fans or getting achievements to getting angry at each other or almost passing out backstage - was released between the releases of LOVE YOURSELF: Her and LOVE YOURSELF: Tear. Presumably, any true fan who watched the series would have remained for the release of Tear, in which the mask constructed in Her breaks. Its theme song is even "Outro: Her!"
Fridge / BTS