meta-scriptBTS Announce New Album 'Map Of The Soul: 7,' Out February 2020 | GRAMMY.com
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BTS performs at New Year's Eve 2020 celebration in NYC

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BTS Announce New Album 'Map Of The Soul: 7,' Out February 2020

The K-pop superstars return with a follow-up to their 2018 album, 'Love Yourself: Tear'

GRAMMYs/Jan 8, 2020 - 04:48 am

Coming off a major New Year's Eve performance at "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve With Ryan Seacrest 2020" in NYC last month, BTS are back in a big way in 2020. The K-pop megastars today (Jan. 7) announced, via Twitter, they are dropping a new album this year: Map Of The Soul: 7, out Feb. 21 via Big Hit Entertainment.

The forthcoming release marks the group's first full-length project since their 2018 album, Love Yourself: Tear, which topped the Billboard 200 chart and solidified BTS as the first K-pop act to accomplish that record-setting feat. It's also the second installment in the South Korean boy band's ongoing Map of the Soul series, which launched with the chart-topping Map of the Soul: Persona EP last April.

According to Billboard, a spokesperson for the group said, via an official statement announcing the new album, "Global fans are eager to discover how the story will continue on from the previous installment [of the Map Of The Soul series], which explored the message of finding joy in love and reaching out to the world."

The new album comes on the heels of a massive, recording-breaking 2019 for BTS, which saw the group collaborating with Juice WRLD, who passed away last month; visiting GRAMMY U Chicago students; performing on "The Late Show With Stephen Colbert," "Good Morning America" and "Saturday Night Live"; and presenting at the GRAMMYs.

Read: BTS' 2019 GRAMMY Suits On Display At GRAMMY Museum

After being named one of Time magazine's "most influential people" for 2019, BTS took a break last August, which saw the group "going on an official and extended period of rest and relaxation," according to their management team. Their new album now marks their return to the scene and (hopefully) the stage.

Pre-orders for BTS' new album, Map Of The Soul: 7, begin Thursday, Jan. 9. 

Why is K-pop's popularity exploding in the United States?

NMIXX perform at KCON 2023 in Los Angeles.

Photo: CJ ENM

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KCON L.A. 2024 Returns: Get Ready With This Playlist Featuring NCT 127, Zerobaseone, ENHYPEN, Zico & More

The ultimate K-pop festival-convention returns to Los Angeles July 26-28, featuring a star-studded lineup with over 20 artists — including ENHYPEN, NCT 127, and Jeon Somi — interactive experiences, and unforgettable performances.

GRAMMYs/Jul 23, 2024 - 01:50 pm

Ever since it first began in 2012, KCON has been a delightful surprise for attendees. Turn right on the convention floor, you might receive a goodie bag filled with high-quality skin care products. Turn left, and you could stumble into the first-ever performance of a K-pop group in the U.S. All this happens before the main concert even begins at night.

Returning to the L.A. Convention Center and Crypto.com arena from July 26-28, this year’s hybrid South Korean pop culture festival-convention event will host over 20 artists. 

The line-up ranges from popular acts around like ENHYPEN and NCT 127 to '90s K-pop legends g.o.d and hip-hop icon Tiger JK (aka Drunken Tiger), plus burgeoning acts, including the newly formed seven-member girl group, IZNA, from the TV competition show I-LAND 2. KCON L.A. 2024 offers an array of musical exploration for anyone enraptured by the South Korean music scene. 

Read more: 11 Rookie K-Pop Acts To Know In 2024: NCT Wish, RIIZE, Kiss Of Life & More

After days of meet-and-greets, showcase performances, and a special KCON Stage, each night of this year's KCON will culminate in a full-blown concert that will air in South Korea as part of the M Countdown music show.

Whether you’re a fan of soloists like Taemin, Zico or Bibi, girl groups like Kep1er and NMIXX, or boy bands like Zerobaseone and TWS, this KCON is undoubtedly for you. There are also surprises for anyone intrigued by changing entertainment technology, like Apoki, a virtual singer designed as a bunny from outer space. 

While you may not (yet!) be a fan of all these artists, familiarize yourself with all that they have to offer with this playlist featuring some of their most popular and newest songs ahead of this year’s KCON L.A. 

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ATEEZ performs in Los Angeles
ATEEZ performs in Los Angeles

Photo: KQ Entertainment

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ATEEZ’s First U.S. Stadium Show Was A Triumph & Testament To Their Growth

During two performances at L.A.'s BMO Stadium, the fast-rising K-pop boy group dazzled audiences with drama, dance, and a deep appreciation for how far they've come.

GRAMMYs/Jul 22, 2024 - 04:51 pm

On July 20,  K-pop boy group ATEEZ stepped foot onto one of their largest stages yet for their first U.S. stadium show. The scene at Los Angeles’ open-air BMO Stadium was a far cry from the group's L.A. performance in 2019 — their first tour stop ever — at the petite Globe Theater, a former movie palace with a tenth of BMO’s capacity.

Even then, as a five-month-old rookie group, fans (called ATINYs) saw a remarkable promise in Hongjoong, Seonghwa, Yunho, Yeosang, San, Mingi, Wooyoung, and Jongho. In the years since, ATEEZ has developed a growing presence in the States, even being the subject of a first-of-its-kind GRAMMY Museum pop-up. If the BMO Stadium performance was any indication, ATEEZ have officially hit their stride.

Read more: Inside The GRAMMY Museum's ATEEZ & Xikers Pop-Up: 5 Things We Learned

The nearly sold-out July 20 show felt like a level up, and not just because of the size of the venue. "As we performed, I really felt like ATEEZ has grown so much," singer Yunho said near the end of the night. He’s not wrong: they’re undoubtedly more confident than ever. Perhaps that’s because the octet made history earlier this year as the first K-pop boy group to perform at Coachella. Regardless, ATEEZ's growth in both production and showmanship was palpable. 

If you missed ATEEZ’s two nights in L.A., don’t worry: K-pop’s resident pirate kings (more on that title later) have more up their billowy sleeves. In the spirit of their never-ending grind, the Towards the Light: Will to Power tour has nine more North American stops, including New York’s Citi Field. Read on to find out why you won’t want to miss these fast-rising K-pop idols.

The Members Are As Good Apart As Together

ATEEZ’s motto is "eight makes one team" for good reason. Individually, their talents and tastes are prismatic, yet complement each other perfectly — a fact that comes into startling clarity midway through the show, when the group breaks off into units and solos.

Equal parts erotic and controlled, trap banger "IT’S You" gives Yeosang, San, and Wooyoung room to deploy their enigmatic charms as a trio; ATEEZ’s purveyor of belted high notes, Jongho, dips into his deeper register on solo ballad "Everything"; diametric duo Hongjoong and Seonghwa spit fire about the rapport that arises from their differences on red-hot cypher "MATZ": "M-A-T-Z like allergy, we don’t really fit together / Yeah, yeah, but on stage, reacting to that synergy."

Then there’s the wistful "Youth" from dance class pals Yunho and Mingi. The two go way back — something they reminded audiences of by acting out a fictionalized version of a real phone call they shared the day before auditioning for KQ Entertainment. "Imagine us taking the stage together someday," Yunho said. "Sounds amazing, right?"  

Read more: ATEEZ Are Here To Win The Hearts Of K-Pop Fans

ATEEZ Know How To Turn Up The Drama

ATEEZ's lore runs deep. In their conceptual universe, what began as a swashbuckling tale of pirates in search of treasure evolved into an anarchic manifesto about toppling the world order. Recently, in a Wild West turn, they’ve been masquerading as cowboys dedicated to the daily hustle.

Every ATEEZ performance has a story; on this tour, the theme is light. But, as always in ATEEZ’s oeuvre, that light can’t exist without a darkness seeking to quash it. The way they convey this narrative — acting, stage decoration, extras — is a masterclass in drama, fit for the theater as much as a stadium. 

Watch: Global Spin: Watch Ateez Represent South Korea With Kinetic Performance Of "The Real"

They’re In Their Element Onstage

The success of ATEEZ’s storytelling is bolstered by the group’s unearthly stage presence. In that regard, Seonghwa led the pack, moving like a man possessed. Whether crawling on his knees, rolling his eyes back, or slinging a sword to symphonic backing, the lithe dancer never let the air-tight facade slip — except, of course, when it came time to offer a couple of warm words to fans.

Like Seonghwa, the rest are also shockingly versatile. San effortlessly switches between agile body rolls and thigh caresses in the dangerously sensual "Cyberpunk," then vigorously glides his arms through air at the climax of "Say My Name," a gesture that has only grown in power and potency over time.

ATINYs Do Their Best To Match ATEEZ’s Energy

"There [are] more than 20,000 singers in here," Hongjoong said as the lead-in to the soaring "Dance Like Butterfly Wings." "Can you show me your singing?" 

Sing they did: All night, the crowd brought an energy as fierce and passionate as ATEEZ, especially when barking at charismatic rapper Mingi, much to his apparent enjoyment.

But the single noisiest moment came during "Guerilla." At a certain point, Yunho shouted a  ferocious "Make some noise!" as a cue and ATINYs know it’s time to warm up their vocal chords; while Jongho belts some of his highest notes yet, fans roared "Break the wall!" at the top of their lungs, loud enough to rise above the stadium enclosure.

Fan chants and cheers are a mainstay of K-pop shows in South Korea, but due to differences in concert etiquette and language barriers, most don’t make their way overseas. ATEEZ and their fans broke that wall, and built a bridge in its place.

It’s A Full Circle Moment In Their Career

That ATEEZ chose to drop anchor in Los Angeles for their first U.S. stadium show feels especially momentous. The band has history in Southern California, having trained at L.A.-based dance studios Movement Lifestyle and Millenium Dance Center prior to their debut. ("Our second hometown!" San said during the show.)

"Even though it was six years ago, it feels like just yesterday," Hongjoong said in his encore speech. "It’s absolutely an honor to be right here, now, in such a big venue." 

That’s a short time to come as far as they have, without slowing pace. "But, you know, it doesn’t stop," Hongjoong continued. "We will keep going to the next step and the next step, with you. Let’s keep making moments to shine even brighter, together." And if these three hours are any indication, ATEEZ has a light that won’t soon be dimmed.

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Jimin

Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

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5 Takeaways from BTS Jimin's New Album, 'MUSE': A Bold Exploration Of Love And Inspiration

Jimin's second solo project, 'MUSE,' showcases his artistic growth and versatility, featuring a blend of nostalgic sounds, personal reflections, and standout collaborations.

GRAMMYs/Jul 19, 2024 - 05:45 pm

K-pop juggernauts BTS are still on hiatus due to military enlistments, except for Jin, who was discharged last month. Yet, all members remain booked and busy in their solo endeavors.

Documentaries, travel shows, special singles — you name it, they carefully prepared it before starting their duties. And after new records from j-hope (HOPE on the Street) and RM (Right Place, Wrong Person) this year, the next in line is Jimin, who dropped MUSE today.

The album comes almost a year and a half after his debut EP, FACE, which placed Jimin as the first South Korean soloist to top Billboard's Hot 100 chart. In it, the Busan-born star proved his versatility and prowess standing on his own, captivating audiences old and new with his sensitive charisma.

In MUSE, Jimin introduces a new facet of his musical identity: bolder and more confident, but still a big softie at heart. To celebrate the beginning of a new era — and to ease the wait until his discharge next year — here are five key takeaways from Jimin's latest release, MUSE.

It's Another Jimin-Led Production

FACE was a proper introduction to Jimin's artistic vision, with him contributing to every aspect of the project and co-writing all of its tracks, minus the instrumental "Interlude: Dive."

Now, he takes it up a notch for MUSE, showcasing his growth by co-writing six out of seven tracks, and co-producing two of them: "Rebirth" and "Interlude: Showtime." Once again, Jimin had a hand on all of the album's components, including its concept and visuals, and bore down another layer of his ever-evolving skills.

If FACE introduced us to a vulnerable and sometimes desperate Jimin, MUSE charges forward with main pop boy energy, tender but commanding, sweet but sassy. It works both as a gift to fans and a tool to get to know Jimin even deeper.

He’s Still In Search Of His Muse

"We never met, but she's all I see at night/ Never met but she's always on my mind/ Wanna give her the world/ And so much more/ Who is my heart waiting for?" Jimin sings in MUSE's track, "Who." As the lyrics suggest, MUSE's main theme is Jimin's journey to find the source of his inspiration — his muse.

The album's seven tracks are all interconnected by love and longing, with Jimin searching for the one but getting lost in the way, and back at it once more. Through this perspective, he continues his path of self-discovery. After looking at his own FACE in the mirror, who else does he see? Who else instigates him enough to make art?

A Stellar Team Backs Up The Effort

To write and produce MUSE, Jimin enlisted longtime collaborators Pdogg, Ghstloop, Evan, and Supreme Boi. They have also been working with BTS for years, and know just what Jimin wants and needs in his songs.

But to make this album even more special, Jimin also collaborated with a fresh crop of professionals. Lead single "Who" was co-written and co-produced by Jon Bellion, Pete Nappi, and Tenroc, while Ayo the Producer and Kofo co-signed the fan-dedicated "Closer Than This." OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder helped pen "Be Mine," and Tommy Brown has writing credits on "Rebirth" and "Smeraldo Garden Marching Band (feat. Loco)."

Aside from Korean rapper Loco, MUSE also features American actress and singer Sofia Carson on the smooth duet "Slow Dance." Together, these names assembled a cohesive, yet diverse LP, brimming with influences from several decades, genres, and countries at once.

The Smeraldo Flower Makes A Comeback

Back in 2017, when BTS was in their LOVE YOURSELF era, they also introduced to their lore a fictional blue flower named Smeraldo. Symbolizing "a truth that cannot be told," its legend was better explored in the track "The Truth Untold (Feat. Steve Aoki)," and offered important clues to understanding that era's messages.

However, as years passed, the Smeraldo flower was largely forgotten from BTS's new works — until MUSE. Here, Jimin brings back the blue flower as one of the albums' visual concepts, and as the main motif behind pre-release "Smeraldo Garden Marching Band (feat. Loco)."

According to a press statement, the track's lyrics "express the longing to confess and find love on behalf of those unable to articulate their feelings," hence the use of Smeraldo. As for its curious title — loosely inspired by The Beatles' 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band — it came first as a casual nickname between Jimin, Pdogg, Ghstloop, and Evan while they worked together on FACE, and eventually became real.

It’s Packed With Nostalgia

If you miss Justin Timberlake's Justified sounds and other early-2000s gems, MUSE is here to take you on a nostalgic trip. Inspired by pop, R&B and hip hop from that era, Jimin gave his latest album a vintage, cozy veneer.

These references are predominantly visible on "Who" and its delightful guitar strums, but "Slow Dance (feat. Sofia Carson)," for example, sounds like an updated version of Usher and Alicia Key's "My Boo," and "Be Mine" could be the 2020's lovechild of Santana's "Maria Maria" and Sean Paul's "I'm Still In Love With You."

Another strain of references can be seen in "Smeraldo Garden Marching Band (feat. Loco)," which extends The Beatles' inspiration to experimental samples and marching band percussion, and creates a quirky piece that strays away from any current trends. "Interlude: Showtime" drinks from the same source, featuring a circus brass and drum line that introduces us to the singularity of "Smeraldo Garden."

While infused with nostalgia, MUSE still appeals to today's tastes, and offers a seamless, polished listen. It stands as a testament to Jimin's artistic growth, and while he might not have found his muse yet — he is certainly a source of inspiration for many.

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Childish Gambino at the 2024 BET Awards
Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) at the 2024 BET Awards.

Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

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New Music Friday: Listen To New Releases From Childish Gambino, JT, Rauw Alejandro & More

With July being more than halfway through, take a look at the new tracks, albums, and collaborations from Alessia Cara, Joe Jonas and more that dropped on July 19.

GRAMMYs/Jul 19, 2024 - 02:24 pm

This summer continues to dazzle us with an electrifying array of music, with new releases arriving from Jimin (MUSE), Ivan Cornejo (MIRADA), Koe Wetzel (9 Lives), Denzel Curry (King Of The Mischievous South Vol. 2), and Adam Lambert (Afters), and many more this week. From eagerly awaited comebacks to iconic collaborations, July 19 has an abundance of new music to offer across all genres.

As you continue shaping up your summer playlists, be sure to check out the following 11 new songs and projects.

JT — 'City Cinderella'

Following the release of "The City Cinderella Documentary," which chronicles JT's inspiring journey from overcoming challenging circumstances to embarking on a solo career, the rapper unveils her highly-anticipated 16-track mixtape, City Cinderella. The project is a showcase of talent and growth, featuring powerhouse collaborations with DJ Khaled and Jeezy, the latter of whom features on a remix of her hit "OKAY."

City Cinderella is JT's first project since parting ways with her former City Girls cohort, Yung Miami. Speaking to Paper Magazine about her new venture, JT explained that the inspiration for the project was simple: "I just wanted to authentically be myself and make music."

Rauw Alejandro — "DEJAME ENTRAR"

Puerto Rican star Rauw Alejandro has been a song machine since his Sony Latin/Demars Entertainment debut with 2019's Trap Cake, Vol. 1. He'll be releasing his fifth album in five years later this year — and judging by his latest release, it may be his sexiest yet.

"DEJAME ENTRAR" sees Alejandro getting close to a woman who once was just a crush, but has now turned into his latest love affair. The singer debuted the sultry, pulsing track with a smooth performance on "Today" on July 12; one week later, the song's official release also included the official video, which co-stars actor Adrian Brody. 

Though Alejandro hasn't revealed a release date for his next project, he teased on "Today" that it will hopefully be done "soon." "These songs [are] too good to be inside the studio," he said.

Childish Gambino — 'Bando Stone & the New World'

Just two months after re-releasing his 2020 project, 3.15.20, under the new title Atavista, Donald Glover is back with another Childish Gambino album, Bando Stone & the New World. The LP features stylistic musical choices that parallel Gambino's past albums, including 2011's Camp, 2013's Because the Internet, and 2016's "Awaken, My Love!," as well as features from Amaarae and Jorja Smith, Flo Milli, Fousheé, and Yeat.

As Glover revealed in April, Bando Stone & the New World will be his last album under the Childish Gambino moniker. But he's going out with a bang: along with a massive world tour, Bando Stone & the New World is accompanied by a sci-fi film titled Bando.

According to a recent interview the New York Times, it seems Glover feels a sense of completion with the project, too. "Success to me is, honestly, being able to put out a wide-scale album that I would listen to," he said. "For this album, I really wanted to be able to play big rooms and have big, anthemic songs that fill those rooms, so that people feel a sense of togetherness."

'Twisters: The Album'

Nearly 30 years after the 1996 release of Twister, the blockbuster finally gets a sequel with the highly anticipated Twisters — and an equally exciting accompanying soundtrack. The sprawling Twisters: The Album features some of the biggest names in country music today, with tracks from Luke Combs, Lainey Wilson, Jelly Roll, and many more.

Combs was the first to tease a taste of the soundtrack with his gritty, uptempo tune "Ain't No Love In Oklahoma," which was released alongside a music video that featured clips from the movie. Scenes from the film can also be seen in the clip for Jelly Roll's "Dead End Road," which arrived the day before the album's release. 

But there's so much more to discover across the soundtracks 29 songs, from Megan Moroney's "Never Left Me" to Charley Crocket's "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky." And though the track list is stacked with country stars, there's a few gems to enjoy by hitmakers from other genres, too, including Benson Boone ("Death Wish Love") and Leon Bridges ("Chrome Cowgirl").

Alessia Cara — "Dead Man"

It's been two years since we last heard from Alessia Cara, but she's ready to begin her next chapter. The GRAMMY winner unveils "Dead Man," the lead single from her forthcoming fourth album — and if the kiss-off track is any indication, Cara's in her fearless era.

Backed by crisp drums and harmonious saxophones, "Dead Man" is an edgy ode to someone she's cutting off because he's no longer serving her. "If you really care, then why am I feeling you just slipping through my hands?," she questions in the chorus. "If you're really there, then why can I walk right through ya?/ Talkin' to a dead man."

James Bay feat. Noah Kahan & The Lumineers — "Up All Night"

In the folk-pop collaboration that dreams are made of, James Bay teams up with longtime friend Noah Kahan and genre giants The Lumineers for "Up All Night." The track boasts a vibrant instrumental layered beneath the harmonious blend of each artists' vocals — a perfect soundtrack for warm, starry summer nights.

The week "Up All Night" arrives also marks a full-circle tour moment for Kahan and Bay. Five years after Kahan first opened for Bay on the "Let It Go" singer's Electric Light Tour in 2019, Bay is now opening for Kahan — at New York City's Madison Square Garden and Boston's Fenway Park, no less — on the We'll All Be Here Forever Tour.

Sueco — 'Attempted Lover'

After four years and two projects with Atlantic Records, Sueco unveils his first independently released studio album, Attempted Lover. Across 12 tracks, the L.A. native delves into the complexities of love and relationships, while navigating the tangled emotions that accompany these themes.

Sueco set the stage back in March with the project's lead single, "Drama Queen" — a raw, high-energy track that drew in both new and loyal listeners. He soon followed up with "Mulholland Drive," a stripped-down acoustic gem, showcasing the impressive range of musical styles that Attempted Lover has to offer. 

In celebration of the release, Sueco will embark on the Attempted Lover Tour in Sept. 13, kicking things off in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, and hitting 32 cities in North America until Nov. 2.

KALEO — "USA Today"

During a short break from their Payback Tour, KALEO is back with new music — and making a statement and an impact with their latest release.

The rock band deliver the emotionally charged "USA Today," a reflection on gun violence in America. Though frontman JJ Julius Son first wrote the track in 2019 with Shawn Everett and Eddie Spear, he felt compelled to release the track after an innocent bystander was killed during the attempted assassination of Donald Trump on July 13.

"So here we are/ Fighting for america/ Fighting for a new day/ Trying hard to change/ USA today," Son sings over gritty guitar riffs and dark synths. KALEO invites listeners to join the movement, pledging to donate a portion of the proceeds from the song to the gun violence advocacy group Everytown.

"USA Today" is the second track KALEO released from their forthcoming fourth album, which is due later this year; it follows the acoustic lead single, "Lonely Cowboy."

Avery Anna — 'Breakup Over Breakfast'

After being named an Artist to Watch by Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, and CMT in 2023, country newcomer Avery Anna further displays her promise and prowess with her debut album, Breakup Over Breakfast. The Arizona native co-wrote all 17 tracks on the project, including standout track "girl next door," a powerful ballad that puts Anna's golden vocals on display.

"These songs mean the world to me. It's a little bit of rock, country, acoustic, pop, and everything personal," the singer/songwriter wrote in an Instagram post. "I really wanted to give you guys an album that you can confide in. I carefully chose the songs and track listing, and creating it was an adrenaline rush / a relief all at the same time."

Role Model — 'Kansas Anymore'

With his 2022 debut album, Rx, Role Model dove deeply into themes of love. Two years later, the rising bedroom pop star offers a different take on that same topic, grieving the very relationship that inspired Rx with Kansas Anymore.

Along with offering a different take on love and relationships, Role Model's latest effort is also inspired by his longing for his native state of Maine. Drawing inspiration from artists like Zach Bryan, the War on Drugs and Caamp, Kansas Anymore chronicles Role Model journeys back home, attempting to fill the void created by leaving his East Coast roots for California. The project represents a mature step forward, navigating the rollercoaster of heartbreak and homesickness — and moving listeners in the process.

Joe Jonas — "Work It Out"

Since releasing his first solo album, Fastlife, in 2011, Joe Jonas has been plenty busy, from landing a megahit with his pop-rock group DNCE to bringing back the Jonas Brothers with his siblings Nick and Kevin. Thirteen years later, the singer makes a solo comeback with "Work It Out," the bouncy lead single from his sophomore solo album, Music for People Who Believe in Love, due Oct. 18.

"This album is a celebration of gratitude, hope, and love. These songs reflect on my life from a bird's-eye-view acknowledging the many blessings around me," Jonas shared on Instagram, referencing both his own experiences as an individual and as a recent father of two. "I hope it brings you as much joy as it brought me creating it."

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