Review of ‘Jack in the Box’: j-hope Embraces the Darkness

“It was Hope who was kept in the innermost corner of the box. It dragged behind the miasma of darkness and mitigated the ill effects on humanity. The hope gave people the will to continue living in the midst of pain and strife. “

The introduction of j-hope’s full-length debut solo album, Jack in the Box, is a female voice that tells the myth of Pandora’s box; it is a story that j-hope, who was born as Jeong Hoseok, has long drawn towards, and a partial source of his artist name.

For almost a decade now as part of BTS, j-hope has more than lived up to the name. He has embodied it – even the epitome of it – by developing a reputation as the sunbeam of the global, record-breaking group. His energy on stage is amazing; anyone who is fortunate enough to have seen BTS at a concert inevitably walks away amazed at the seemingly endless well of passion and precision he possesses as the dance director of the group.

“My name is my life,” is the opening line of j-hope’s 2018 mixtape, hope the world, a seven-track, neon-soaked collection of bright beats and optimism. Even recently, BTS’s label BIG HIT MUSIC shared footage behind the scenes of the group preparing for their performance at the 2022 Grammy Awards. Several members became ill from COVID during the rehearsal process – j-hope among them – and when he finally returns to the gym, there is a visible relief among his members. “Now that Hobi is here, everything falls into place,” Jimin says. “Do not be sick, for my sake – my life is harder without you.”

With intimacy, however, expectations often follow, and after ten years, j-hope has made it clear that he has leaned toward another lens through which he can explore his creative identity. It has arrived today, July 15, in the form of Jack in the Boxthe first full-length solo album from any of the members of BTS, and we are certainly no longer in Hope World.

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