If you live here in Canada, or North America as a whole, it is likely you don’t know what kpop is, let alone BTS. They’re not played on the radio very often (or at all), and despite their popularity, not everyone enjoys listening to their music because they can’t understand the lyrics (even though I seriously doubt anyone actually knows what the words in “Despacito” means). You have most likely heard of them, just never really understood who they are or why they are popular and famous. By writing this I am hoping to educate people so that they can learn about BTS, who they are, and what they stand for.
Let us start with basic’s. BTS stands for many things. The acronym “BTS” is for Bangtan Sonyeondan which directly translates to Bulletproof Boy Scouts. They are more commonly known as the Bangtan Boys but they recently changed their Eenglish name to mean Beyond the Scene on July 5, 2017. The meaning behind their name is “To stop the suppression and prejudice and to defend our music and generation”.
As a hard core fan myself, I can say with absolute certainty that the BTS fandom, the ARMY, are all insane (including me). ARMY stems from the fact that BTS means “Bulletproof Boy Scouts” and it means Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth. They are a South Korean seven member boy group, with four vocalists and three rappers, formed by Big Hit Entertainment on July 13, 2013. They were originally supposed to debut as a hip hop group but the CEO of Big Hit, Bang Si-hyuk, decided to debut them as a idol group, which turned out to be the right decision. The entertainment system is very different in Korea because in order to become an “idol” you need to go through extensive training for years in areas. Training in dancing, singing, rapping, and language, before you are placed in a group and can debut. Sometimes these trainees go through years of training and never get to debut.
BTS are recognized for their catchy, energetic music that’s fun to listen to. More often than not, they use their music as a way to address different issues within kpop and our society. They write lyrics fighting the “idol” stereotypes and make many songs that confront issues such as depression, loving yourself, and accepting who you are.They even have a go at the hierarchy between those who have money and those who don’t. Songs like “The Last”, a solo song from member Suga’s (Min Yoongi, Suga is his stage name) own mixtape, “Idol” (which has a second version featuring Nicki Minaj), and “Baepsae” are perfect examples of these issues. They recently completed the last album, “Love Yourself: Answer”, in their album trilogy on August 24th, 2018. The other two albums being “Love Yourself: Her” and “Love Yourself: Tear”, all teaching the lesson of loving and being true to who you are, and self confidence. While many of their songs have a deeper meaning, there are a whole bunch that are for fun and entertainment that I literally listen to on a continuous loop. Honestly, some of them do have a deeper meaning but nobody knows what that meaning is. My absolute favourites are “Airplane Pt. 2”, “Fake Love”, and “Cypher Pt. 3: Killer”. With their growing popularity, BTS has taken part in several collaborations with well known artists in the United States, further allowing them to reach new audiences. Some of their most notable and successful collabs are “Mic Drop” featuring Desiigner (there is also another remix version with Steve Aoki, a well known producer in America), “Waste It On Me” by Steve Aoki & BTS, and “Change” which is a song with rapper Wale and RM, a rapper and the leader of BTS. another way BTS are able to broaden their viewership is by exploring different genres and trying new things. They have such a wide variety of songs it’s almost impossible to find at least one of their songs that you wouldn’t enjoy. They can range from the soft, enticing, and impactful voices of the vocal line (Jungkook, Jin, Jimin, and V) in “House of Cards”, to the hard, upbeat sounds, and swagger of the rap line (RM, Suga, and J-hope) in “DDaeng”. There’s no literally no losing with these guys.
BTS are known for their concepts. By watching their videos, you can see that their concepts and storylines are a big factor of what draws people to them. Each video has amazing production and fantastic aesthetics and style that was no slave to a budget. They tell stories throughout their videos and albums, providing puzzle pieces with each new update giving fans the chance to make up their own theories on what it could all mean. It can be very stressful and nerve wracking when you have absolutely no idea what the heck is going on (ss everyone alive and just Jin is dead, is it the other way around, or is it based off Peter Pan, who knows) but that’s what makes it even more exciting and interesting to watch. BTS has had a concept running throughout numerous albums dating a back to 2015, starting with the album “The Most Beautiful Moment In Life Pt. 1”. Though it is arguable that they have been planning their storyline since their debut based on some easter eggs in their first ever MV (music video) for their song “No More Dream”. I will not go into detail about what their story line is because I have neither the time or emotional stability, just know trying to figure it out has practically ruined my life. Many hours upon hours of watching MV’s and theory videos with no real confirmation on what it could all mean. I’ve never had to go through anything so stressful, and I took physics. Thankfully, there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and it’s name is Webtoon. Just a few weeks ago (six weeks) BTS launched a web cartoon series exclusive to an app called Webtoon explaining and going over the whole story line. It is all very exciting and it’s excruciatingly painful to have to wait each Wednesday for the next chapter the update without having to pay for more coins to purchase the next one in advance.
Their choreography is always absolutely phenomenal. Each dance I have ever seen for every single one of their songs I’ve ever listened to (which is probably pretty close to all of them) have been fantastic and it honestly makes me question what I’m doing with my life. The members are always in sync and I always get excited when a dance practice video of a song is released. I can only imagine how much they need to rehearse each and every dance to be able to do them so well and confidently. BTS are famed for their challenging and intense choreography and it becomes quite apparent as to the reason why the more dance practises you watch. A few of their more challenging dances are for their songs “Fire” which is a very upbeat and fast pace dance which makes my heart race by just watching it, and “Blood Sweat and Tears” which is slower but just as difficult. My favourite dance practises are the ones where they can let loose and have fun with the choreography. In my opinion, one of the best videos of BTS ever is their “dance practice” for their song song “War of Hormone”. There is another dance practice that they took seriously, but I love “Real War Ver.” (video title) because it really shows you what the members are like when they are just being themselves and having fun. They also made another joke dance practice for this song in which they wore Halloween costumes to celebrate the holiday. This has become an annual tradition for them and each Halloween dance practice is just as entertaining as the last.
These were honestly only a few of the reasons people love BTS so much. I would get into the other fifty reasons like how much they work, how they treat other and their fans, and of course the memes, but I’m honestly to tired. I’m also making the decision for myself to not get into how attractive they are because that’s a whole other rant all together. I hope that in the future, more people are open to the idea of listening to music like kpop and especially BTS and get passed the language barrier because they are an amazing band.