Review: BTS' J-Hope debuts different persona in new album 'Jack in the Box'

Anna Gabrielle Cerezo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2022 04:06 PM


Although J-Hope, born Jung Hoseok, stepped into a darker persona in his first official full-length album “Jack in the Box,” he also emerged brighter than ever. 

The 10-track record, released on July 15, shows off J-Hope's versatility as an artist. 

He had always been involved in the creative process of every BTS album in last last nine years. In fact, he is one of the most credited artists by the Korean Music Copyright Association. “Jack in the Box,” however, allowed the rapper to freely explore new music avenues and create music that's solely and unapologetically his. 

While J-Hope was never afraid to introduce a new sound with the band’s discography as seen in the septet’s rap-rock title “Dionysus” from “Map of the soul: Persona,” here he is bolder than ever as he experimented with various genres. 

In the album anchored largely on old-school hip hop that mingles with elements of emo and rock, J-Hope swapped the bright colors and energy he was associated with for rebellious grunge-punk stylings complete with a renaissance for rock guitar. 

“Jack in the Box” is a strong argument that there’s a lot more than meets the eye with J-Hope. Labeled as the group and ARMY’s “sunshine,” the hitmaker appears as BTS' most upbeat and carefree member, but J-Hope shatters that notion throughout the album as he gets introspective raps about his anxiety about the future, his craft, insatiable passion, and personal pronouncements. 

More than a commercial release, the record comes off as a personal statement, where the hitmaker breaks out of the box that limited him to bright and joyful things. But although “Jack in the Box” marked the artist’s departure from an image he has been tied to for nearly a decade, it also has seemingly brought him closer to his fans. 

“Jack in the Box” includes tracks “Pandora’s Box,” “MORE,” “STOP,” “= (Equal Sign),” “Music Box : Reflection,” “What if…,” “Safety Zone,” “Future” and “Arson.” 

The lead off single “MORE“ released on July 1, peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Twitter-powered Hot Trending Songs chart (for the tracking period dated July 16). 

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J-Hope is the second BTS member to have a solo single top the chart and the fifth to land atop the Emerging Artists chart.

He is the first BTS member to release a solo project after the group took an indefinite break to focus on their respective careers. “Jack in the Box,” however, is a good signal that the best of the septet is yet to come.