Welcome, Guest!

Register now and join in with other ARMYs! If you have trouble with the validation email please use the Contact Us form to send a message to the admin and we'll manually validate you account! If you have any problems with that form then you can send an email to bangtanbaseforum@gmail.com. We hope you to see you soon!
Sign in to follow this  
Maphisto40

article [TIME] How BTS Is Taking Over the World

Recommended Posts

How BTS Is Taking Over the World
Raisa Bruner  4:26 PM ET

The boy band hails from Korea and achieves continued chart attention in the West

{see source article or next post down for video interview}

It’s early on a Monday night in September at a lavish top-floor suite of the Ritz-Carlton in Los Angeles, and Jimin, one-seventh of BTS, the most popular boy band in the world, is napping upright in front of an illuminated dressing room mirror.

You can’t blame him for being exhausted. Exactly 24 hours earlier, Jimin, 22; Jin, 25; Suga, 25; J-Hope, 24; RM, 24; V, 22; and Jung Kook, 21, were warming up backstage at L.A.’s Staples Center, prepping to perform their fourth and final show of a sold-out stretch at the 20,000-seat arena. Each night is a marathon of sharp dance choreography, music-video interludes and indoor pyrotechnics—all backgrounded, of course, by the roars of screaming fans. “It’s a real honor,” says J-Hope, via a translator. “We’re proud that everything we do is giving off light.”

Like The Beatles and One Direction before them, BTS serves up a mania-inducing mix of heartthrob good looks and ear-worm choruses, alongside dance moves in the vein of New Kids on the Block and *NSYNC. But the band—whose name stands for Bangtan Sonyeondan in Korean and Beyond the Scene in English—is also breaking new ground. Not only is BTS the first Korean act to sell out a U.S. stadium (to say nothing of the records they’ve set across Asia), but they’ve done so without catering to Western audiences. Only one of their members, RM, speaks fluent English, and most of their songs are in Korean—even more proof that music “doesn’t have to be English to be a global phenomenon,” says Steve Aoki, a U.S. DJ who has collaborated with BTS. The group is also preternaturally adept at leveraging social media, both to promote their music and connect with their fans.

But for now, at least, they may need sleep. “I’m still trying to get over my jet lag,” deadpans Suga, one of the group’s three rappers.

***

Since its genesis in the ‘90s, Korean pop—or K-pop—has become synonymous with what studios call “idols”: a cadre of young, polished, perfect-seeming pop stars whose images are often rigorously controlled. (They’re often discouraged from discussing their dating lives, so as to seem available to fans.) But even as K-pop matured to a nearly $5 billion industry with fans around the world, its biggest stars—including Rain, Girls’ Generation and Big Bang—largely failed to gain traction in Western markets. The outlier was Psy, a South Korean rapper whose “Gangnam Style” became a viral hit in 2012, though his comic, outlandish persona was an unlikely (and some critics argue, problematic) herald for the genre.

bts.jpg?w=560&quality=85&h=747
Photograph by Nhu Xuan Hua for TIME

When BTS arrived in 2013, it was clear they would play by new rules. They were formed by Bang Si-hyuk, a K-pop renegade who left a major label to start his own enterprise. He chose young stars that appeared to have an edge, beginning with RM, who was initially a part of Korea’s underground rap scene. And although BTS has idol elements—the slick aesthetics, the sharp choreography, the fun-loving singles—they also embrace their flaws. Their first release, “No More Dream,” took on the ways Korean kids feel stymied by societal expectations; RM recorded a song with Wale that alludes to the importance of activism; Suga released a mixtape addressing his depression. “We started to tell the stories that people wanted to hear and were ready to hear, stories that other people could not or would not tell,” Suga says. “We said what other people were feeling—like pain, anxieties and worries.” They convey these messages in their music videos, loaded with metaphors and cultural references; in their social media updates; and in the lyrics of their music, which fans translate and analyze on message boards, group chats and podcasts. “That was our goal, to create this empathy that people can relate to,” Suga continues.

It helps, too, that their sound is broadly appealing, fusing hip-hop with EDM and pop production. Recent collaborators include Desiigner and Nicki Minaj, who added a verse to their latest single “Idol,” whose lyrics wink at their place in the K-pop firmament. “You can call me artist, you can call me idol,” they sing. “No matter what you call me, I don’t care… you can’t stop me lovin’ myself.” RM says that mantra—love yourself—is core to BTS’ identity; it’s even incorporated into their most recent album titles. “Life has many unpredictable issues, problems, dilemmas,” says RM. “But I think the most important thing to live well is to be yourself. We’re still trying to be us.”

This combination of traits has resonated with fans, especially on social media, where BTS has amassed millions of devoted followers. They call themselves ARMY, which is both an acronym for Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth and a nod to their organized power. In 2017, BTS fans made headlines for lifting the group to the top of Billboard’s Social Artist chart—which incorporates streams, social-media mentions and more—and besting the likes of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. Since then, the ARMY has catapulted both of BTS’s latest albums, Love Yourself: Answer and Love Yourself: Tear, to the top of album charts in the U.S., South Korea and Japan. “Even if there is a language barrier, once the music starts, people react pretty much the same wherever we go,” says Suga. “It feels like the music really brings us together.” Adds Jimin: “We give energy to our audience members and listeners, but we also draw energy from them.”

***

Back at the Ritz, a makeup artist wakes Jimin from his nap. Nearby, V sings a bar of music as his bleach-blond hair gets blown out. Jung Kook stretches his neck as a makeup artist applies concealer. RM chats with a manager. Suga slips into loafers. Jin, who goes by the fan-given moniker of “Worldwide Handsome,” lets a wardrobe assistant tie his necktie. J-Hope’s laughter filters through the door.

It’s a rare moment of downtime for the boys. Over the coming weeks, they will perform another 11 sold-out shows, appear on Good Morning Americaand even help launch a youth empowerment initiative at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, at which RM spoke about self-acceptance: “No matter who you are or where you’re from, your skin color, your gender identity, speak yourself.”

A schedule like this might seem daunting. But for BTS—and their ARMY—it’s an encouraging sign of what’s to come. “I’m just throwing it out there,” Suga says, “but maybe we could perform at the Super Bowl someday.”

source

Edited by Maphisto40

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Only in those past 2 days i have read so many interviews or articles about them and most of them are repetitive if not offensive, i can't believe it's so hard to find ONE good article that is not full of cliché.:unimpressedmoni:

I'm glad this one seems to know more about them and their career before USA.

side note: for someone who is fighting the jet lag Yoongi sure talked a lot on this interview lol 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Cypher• said:

Only in those past 2 days i have read so many interviews or articles about them and most of them are repetitive if not offensive, i can't believe it's so hard to find ONE good article that is not full of cliché.:unimpressedmoni:

I'm glad this one seems to know more about them and their career before USA.

side note: for someone who is fighting the jet lag Yoongi sure talked a lot on this interview lol 

agreed!

the only thing i really cringed at was the ARMY acronym. i was hoping that would fade into oblivion, but apparently they researched quite deep

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, sungel said:

the only thing i really cringed at was the ARMY acronym. i was hoping that would fade into oblivion, but apparently they researched quite deep

I just find it funny that they know what it stands for, but still somehow think we as a fandom collectively decided to call ourselves that. :unimpressedmoni:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@sungel lmao

me when someone says what ARMYs stands for:

200.gif

don't get me wrong i'm very proud of being an ARMY but i rather not try and explain what it means.

3 minutes ago, Maphisto40 said:

I just find it funny that they know what it stands for, but still somehow think we as a fandom collectively decided to call ourselves that. :unimpressedmoni:

maybe i'm wrong cause i don't know anything about western celebs but maybe it's because in the case of believers, little monsters and all those other fandom names the fans are the ones that start calling themselves like that. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

People don't kill me but before this article I didn't know what ARMY stands for. :hurhur:I thought the term was created because in the past BTS logo were the bulletproof vest and those were usually used by polices/soldiers which formed a kind of army...so this is completely new. I'm certainly not an adorable representative of youth! :perV:

I hope we can see more of that video someday. I think it's going to give a better insight if we also know the context of their rise of popularity in SK, though I'm not sure we will get much since these interviews seem focused on their popularity in the Western industry.

Also, keep the predictions coming, Yoongi. Super Bowl and Grammy, what's next?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm fine with "Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth" because it's a disarming contrast to the militant meaning of the word ARMY and I find that very amusing. 

Yooo, BTS at the Superbowl would make me finally watch it for the first time in my life. 

I look forward to seeing more pictures. At least I hope more pictures are going because this photo shoot looks pretty good. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Cypher• In my case I rarely get into a fandom so I'm not familiar with the names. Those that I know are relatively simple imo (like BLINK for BLACKPINK?) so I don't bother to research further. I also thought that official fandom names are always made by the artists themselves or their agency, so I didn't know there are some who come up with their own names.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Vii yeah tbh i know that most companies give explanations as to why they choose an specific name but if i'm not in the fandom i just don't care to search for it. 

7 minutes ago, Vii said:

I also thought that official fandom names are always made by the artists themselves or their agency, so I didn't know there are some who come up with their own names.

oh no don't take my word on it, i don't know how fandom names work with western singers. And for k-pop it's always the company even if fans can suggest namesm the final word is from them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know the interview is going to be interesting when Yoongi talks a lot. I really like his insights, so invite those boys at the Superbowl (but give them a Grammy award first :perV:)

And yeaaah about that acronym, I've read this quite a few times and always found it cringy... glad to know I'm not the only one haha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, movietvdrama said:

I'm fine with "Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth" because it's a disarming contrast to the militant meaning of the word ARMY and I find that very amusing. 

Yooo, BTS at the Superbowl would make me finally watch it for the first time in my life. 

I look forward to seeing more pictures. At least I hope more pictures are going because this photo shoot looks pretty good. 

I feel the same way. In many ways, BTS are a contradiction themselves. They have an identity that is sometimes opposite to what people expect. I think it's really funny and we are M.C.s for youth(Unicef continues to work with BTS and us for a reason), and in my humble opinion all ARMYs are really adorable, so even if I cringe a little bit it's cute :')

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Vii said:

I hope we can see more of that video someday. I think it's going to give a better insight if we also know the context of their rise of popularity in SK, though I'm not sure we will get much since these interviews seem focused on their popularity in the Western industry.

To be frank, the rise of their popularity in SK to the position they are now is because of their international success. SK treated them like any other small company idol (not good) until they exploded overseas and started getting results that couldn't be ignored. Now you can see a lot of scrambling happening, like networks finding long "lost" footage of them in older shows (that they actually just either cut out or didn't bother posting before), etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Maphisto40 said:

To be frank, the rise of their popularity in SK to the position they are now is because of their international success. SK treated them like any other small company idol (not good) until they exploded overseas and started getting results that couldn't be ignored. Now you can see a lot of scrambling happening, like networks finding long "lost" footage of them in older shows (that they actually just either cut out or didn't bother posting before), etc.

:sipstea:

(Also, I want to buy this cover so much. It doesn't seem to be available on either the US or the Asia site yet. T_T)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Maphisto40 said:

To be frank, the rise of their popularity in SK to the position they are now is because of their international success. SK treated them like any other small company idol (not good) until they exploded overseas and started getting results that couldn't be ignored. Now you can see a lot of scrambling happening, like networks finding long "lost" footage of them in older shows (that they actually just either cut out or didn't bother posting before), etc.

See, this is what I'd love to see being explored more, as negative and hurtful as it is. As a newbie to the fandom and not from SK, the change in SK is invisible to me. It sounds ironic that they seem to conquer the world before their own homeland because of the local prejudices. I guess that becomes their fuel to grow stronger and bigger, to keep on inspiring being the underdog they are.

I can only pray that the boys will be strong enough to push through the boundaries and not fall down to the pressure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this