Just a month after issuing their Japanese-language Face Yourself, K-pop boy band BTS issued their third official full-length, Love Yourself: Tear (Bighit Entertainment). Capturing contemporary pop trends, Tear employed tropical house, sleek synth atmospherics, and smooth R&B-inspired singing that was relatively more subdued -- for BTS -- than their prior output. Even the Steve Aoki collaboration "The Truth Untold" traded that DJ's trademark bombast in favor of a sweeping, piano-driven ballad of sorts, more fit for waving lighters (or mobile phones) in an arena than bringing the house down with big drops. "134310" infuses a hip-hop lounge vibe with a jaunty flute sample, while the sleek electronics of the MNEK-assisted "Paradise" slide and glide. "So What" is the closest the boys come to anything as rousing as "Not Today" or "Fire," but the track leans more toward pure rave bliss than boot-stomping aggression. Stylish and yearning, Love Yourself: Tear is BTS at a polished and focused peak, cohesive enough to feel like it was conceived in one particular period rather than cobbled together like some of their previous releases. ~ Neil Z. Yeung
Rolling Stone - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Throughout it all, the members of BTS affect melodic sincerity, singing with intensity and melisma, rapping in tones that show their effort and strain, as if caring never went out of style."
Spin - "On 'Singularity,' the album's introduction, singer V slinks in with a quiet confidence that sets the tone for the rest of the record. His rich, expressive voice blooms and lingers, like the smoke rising from a candle after it goes out."
Pitchfork (Website) - "The latest album from the masters of the K-pop formula is a slick, loosely thematic album about love and loss, with a stronger emphasis on rapping than ever before."