First solo album from member of BTS, J-Hope

Taleise Lawrence, Assistant Editor

“Jack in the Box” is a studio album created by J-Hope, a rapper from BTS. This is his first ever studio album, though he did release the mixtape “Hope World” in 2018. The album is just over 20 minutes long, with 10 songs featured on it.  

“Jack in the Box” has a more serious feeling than what fans expect from J-Hope. Fans sometimes refer to him with the nickname “Sunshine.” He wanted to show a different side of himself this time around and show his aspirations to keep growing as an artist.  

The reception was amazing. “MORE,” one of the singles on the album, became the second best-selling digital song in the country with 4.6 million streams and 12,000 copies sold during its tracking period. Metacritic, a website for professional critics, rated the album 87/100.  

In June of 2022, BTS announced that they would be taking some time to pursue solo projects. J-Hope was the first of the group to release an album after that. Not only was he the first in his group to perform a solo concert, he also became the first ever South Korean artist to headline a main stage at a large U.S. music festival. 

“Jack in the Box” starts with a nod to Greek mythology, referencing the opening of Pandora’s Box that released hope into the world. The album then goes on to describe J-Hope’s journey as an artist: his difficult past, his worries for the future and his passion for creating.  

Really, I could talk about this album for hours. When it first came out, I listened to it back to back to back. Every song is a hit, perfect for blasting during a drive in your car. My top two recommendations from the album are “MORE” and “Arson.” Both of these songs were released as singles with music videos.  

“MORE” came out before the rest of the album. In it, J-Hope says how he puts everything into his music; he “crashes and falls” to make art, but it’s worth it when people enjoy what he’s made. At the same time, he says that awards aren’t everything. He already has money and trophies, but he wants to work even more.  

The music video is very desaturated, contrasting drastically with J-Hope’s previous colorful works. It’s dark and almost emo. The song heavily features drums and guitar with a fast tempo, making it very easy to headbang along.  

My second recommendation is “Arson.” The last song on the album, J-Hope wanted it to serve as a period at the end of a sentence. It’s about how his passion has led to his success in the music industry. The music video starts with everything around J-Hope burning. Ultimately, the fire catches up to him and he burns as well.  

“Jack in the Box” is a great album, even if K-pop isn’t your go-to genre. It’s short and sweet, with plenty of catchy beats. There was clearly a lot of thought and effort put into the whole project, from the music videos, to the lyrics and even the production. “MORE” and “Arson” are my two favorite songs from the album, but I recommend listening to them all.