BTS’ Jung Kook and SUGA released “Stay Alive (Prod. SUGA of BTS),” a dynamic, pop-ballad track for the band’s new urban fantasy webtoon “7FATES: Chakho” in early February.
Produced by BTS rapper and producer SUGA with vocals by the group’s main vocalist Jung Kook, the official soundtrack complements the webtoon, which tells the story of seven boys, inspired by BTS’ seven group members, who are connected by fate and work together to unlock their destiny.
The storyline is inspired by “chakhogapsa,” a legendary group of professional tiger hunters deployed in the Joseon Dynasty of Korea after a series of tiger attacks, Billboard reports.Together, the seven boys create a tiger hunting group called “Chakho” to defeat the supernatural “beom,” meaning “tiger” in Korean.
“I think the song fits very well with the webtoon. I listened to the song while reading the first episode and it [transported] me into the story. The lyrics basically tell the story about how the characters have to fight to stay alive all while fighting against the beom,” sophomore journalism major Taylor Edwards said.
The group’s agency and webtoon producer HYBE said each character in BTS’ webtoon was written with each member’s personality in mind: RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook. The members' characters are as such: RM as Dogeon, Jin as Hwan, SUGA as Cein, j-hope as Hosu, Jimin as Haru, V as Jooan and Jung Kook as Zeha.
“The title, “Stay Alive,” is a nod to the characters in the story as they try to survive in a vicious world. The lyrics explore an isolated boy's earnest heart and message to himself and friends who he meets in that vicious world,” HYBE said.
The smooth melody of the song combined with Jungkook’s soothing yet emotion-filled tone gives the song a cinematic feel that complements the action-filled nature of the webtoon. Listeners of the song and viewers of the webtoon have found the dramatic, cinematic feel of the track to match the energy of the comic.
“I think it’s a perfect official soundtrack for the webtoon… When I read the lyrics, I found them to be very emotional and moving, which definitely fits the webtoon too, especially when you’re reading it,” Edwards said. “[Jung Kook does an amazing job singing as well – his voice is beautiful.”
The collaboration between two BTS members on the track has made “Stay Alive” a song that BTS fans, also known as ARMY, looked forward to.
“Anything that SUGA touches is gold in my opinion since some of my favorite BTS songs are produced by him. Since [Jung Kook and SUGA] were both working on the song, I knew it was going to be good, because of how passionate both of them are when it comes to showcasing emotion in songs,” Edwards said.
Sophomore mechanical engineering major Saba Maruf said she was drawn to the song because of Jung Kook’s solo performance, and loved it at first listen.
“I love the vibe of [the song] – I think [SUGA] did a really amazing job with the music. It’s a dramatic song – it gives me action movie vibes – and is pretty different from BTS’ other songs,” Maruf said. “[Jung Kook’s] vocals are amazing as well – I love the high notes he hits during the chorus and also the harmonies. I [also] love the classical instruments in the background, [and] the lyrics are also very pretty and well written.”