On August 19, 2014, BTS released their first studio album through the Big Hit Entertainment label. This song featured 14 tracks and became the 14th bestselling album in South Korea for 2014. The album was nominated and awarded the award for best album in the 2015 Golden Disk Award ceremony.
The album starts off with the “Intro: What am I to You” track, which starts of with a softer rap and string accompaniment. About halfway through the song the beat picks up and there is more of a hip-hop feel. The focus on the rappers in this piece allow the rap line to shine. Then, the song that follows that is “Danger”, a track that has a heavy beat and focus on rap. This piece is a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, since it features both rapping and vocal pieces (as well as dancing in the music video). The shift between the rap sections and the vocal sections is a bit choppy initially, especially since you’re going from hardcore sounding rap to soft, angelic vocals. The transition is smoothed out as the song proceeds. The dancing in the music video is not nearly as intricate as some of the dances featured in later works, but it fits the song really well.
The third track of Dark and Wild is “호르몬 전쟁 (War of Hormone)”, which had quite a bit of controversy surrounding it. This piece, with its classic DJ turntable sound mixed with Mario-like noises was definitely a song that made you pause. It’s unclear to many whether the song was just about objectifying women or whether it was just the hormonal monologue of a group of young men. Who cares though? With the black and white, splotched with red, music video and great sound, it’s a good song all around. “힙합성애자 (Hip Hop Lover)” is a hard edge rap song with a mix of R&B vocals. Normally, Rap Monster is showcased stronger than anyone, but this track allows the others to have a chance to take the stage.
The fifth song on the track list, “Let Me Know”, brings a soulful element to the album and helps express how diverse BTS is able to be. From hardcore gangster sounds to soulful and jazz themed sounds, this album has it all. Speaking of jazz, “Rain” seems to have been influenced by the genre, with a breezy piano accompaniment and far more mature sound than previous songs on the album. “BTS Cypher Pt. 3: Killer” is a hardcore rap, through and through. There is minimal focus on the background music and a heavy emphasis on the rap skills of the group. This is definitely a fast paced song rap, despite the beat being slower, with quickly spouted lyrics and a head-bobbing beat.
If you want to experience a momentary 90’s flashback, check out track 08, “Interlude: What are you doing now”. The flashback is followed by “핸드폰 좀 꺼줄래 (Could you turn off your cell phone)”, which has an easy beat and catchy chorus. BTS continues to show their diverse talents in “이불킥 (Embarrassed) ” which has more of a laid back, jazz style. The particular track made me think of those typical ‘romance’ songs or ‘couple’ songs just based on sound alone. The vocals are whimsical and pleasant to listen to and paired with the background horns, it’s the perfect mix. “24/7=Heaven” features probably the most seamless mix of vocals and rap overlapping each other.
The twelfth track on the album, “여기 봐 (Look Here)” incorporates themes from the blues genre. This upbeat song definitely made me think of the Cosby show for some reason. Taking a completely different turn, “2학년 (So 4 More)” features a fun addition of gunshot noises and incorporates a gangster rap meets pop sort of sound. Finally, the album ends with “Outro: 그게 말이 돼?”, a sultry R&B piece with deep, soul stealing vocals.