Concluding the narrative arc kicked off with 2017's Love Yourself: Her and continued with 2018's Love Yourself: Tear, K-pop boy band powerhouse BTS complete the story with the third and final installment, Love Yourself: Answer. Taking the crucial highlights from Her and Tear and adding a handful of new songs, the Love Yourself saga reveals itself to be a fully realized progression through the highs and lows of love, closing on Answer's powerful and comforting note. Divided neatly into three sections, Answer shimmers to life with the previously released single "Euphoria," a bright tropical-house gem that finds Jungkook singing about the joys of new love. The first of three new rap "Trivia" tracks -- "Just Dance" by j-hope -- carries the positive mood into Jimin's "Serendipity," presented here as the "Full Length Edition," nearly double the length of the original found on Her. After Her hit single "DNA" and "Dimple," Answer takes a turn into Tear territory as things begin to fall apart. Following RM's solo "Trivia" entry, the jazzy "Love," the BTS rappers join forces for "Her," diving further into heartbreak with V's aching "Singularity," which highlights his smoky R&B vocals. Tear's big moment, "FAKE LOVE," and the Steve Aoki-assisted "The Truth Untold" find new life here, serving as the climactic peak before Suga seizes the moment to get off the endless back-and-forth on the aptly titled "Seesaw." From there, Answer takes a final cathartic break with the angry, biting "Tear" before a solid run of increasingly uplifting new songs. Jin takes center stage on the lovely "Epiphany," a standout ballad that realizes the trilogy's entire message: finding strength within and loving yourself. The empowering "I'm Fine" soars on a skittering breakbeat, amplifying the overall energy until album single "IDOL" explodes with power and confidence. It's one of BTS' best singles -- as monstrous as "Fire" and "Not Today" -- and receives a bonus Nicki Minaj appearance on the second disc (which includes other Her and Tear highlights, as well as some remixes). BTS end on a high note with the uplifting "Answer: Love Myself," a moving pop/rock confection that neatly closes the Love Yourself story with V, Jimin, and Jungkook triumphantly declaring, "I'm learning how to love myself." When all is said and done, after the passionate highs and heartbreaking lows, we only have ourselves to love. And for BTS, that's enough. For a pop band to display such thematic consistency, depth, and maturity is a wonder, making Love Yourself: Answer BTS' most definitive statement to date and a snapshot of the group at the top of its game.
AllMusic Review by Neil Z. Yeung
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2