My daughter has a near-encyclopedic knowledge of K-pop; that’s Korean pop for you mortals. She is specifically a massive fan of a group called BTS.
The group’s name “stands for the Korean expression Bangtan Sonyeondan, literally meaning ‘Bulletproof Boy Scouts’. The name was conceptualized with the thought that BTS would block out stereotypes, criticisms, and expectations that target adolescents like bullets and protect the values and ideals of today’s adolescents.” In 2017, they’ve rebranded the name as “Beyond the Scene.”
The septet consists of RM (Kim Namjoon), Jin (Kim Seokjin), Suga (Min Yoongi), J-Hope (Jung Hoseok), Jimin (Park Jimin), V (Kim Taehyung) and Jungkook (Jeon Jeongguk). I have been tested on this and have failed miserably.
They were stars in South Korea and Japan back with their debut album in 2013. But because of their music and their social media savvy, they have crossed over big time in the United States.
“Their second full album, Wings (2016), peaked at #26 on the Billboard 200 [US], which marked the highest chart ranking for a K-pop album ever. The group’s next release, Love Yourself: Her (2017), debuted at #7 on the Billboard 200, the highest rank for an Asian artist in history.”
In November 2017, the group became the first K-pop group to perform at the American Music Awards. I experienced the equivalent of Beatlemania in my living room.
“Their third full album, Love Yourself: Tear (2018), debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, making them the only K-Pop act to achieve this feat so far. Love Yourself: Answer, the repackage of that album, also debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. On November 9, 2018 Love Yourself: Answer became the first Korean album to be certified Gold (500,000+ units).”
They are not, however, just a pop band. but a phenomenon.
- Twitter’s Year-End Data: BTS Is 2018’s Most Tweeted-About Celebrity globally, “topping the tally for the second year in a row”
- BTS Voted Person of the Year in ‘Time’ Reader’s Poll. (The magazine ultimately gave The Guardians -journalists targeted for their work- the title.) In October 2018, Time Magazine featured BTS on the cover of their global edition, naming them “Next Generation Leaders”
- Janet Jackson Meets BTS Backstage at Mnet Asian Music Awards, where they won Artist of the Year, Album of the Year (LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’) and Worldwide Icon of the Year
- A K-pop ‘ARMY’ might show us a way forward in the ‘War on Media’ (no, really)
- YOUTUBERS REACT TO BTS (K-Pop), July 2017
If I said I totally “got” it, I’d be stretching the truth. But I try. Since I foisted the Beatles and Motown on her, I attempt to understand the appeal of BTS and the other K-pop groups she follows.
Fake Love; peaked at #10 on 6.2.2018, certified gold
IDOL, Featuring Nicki Minaj; Peaked at #11 on 9.8.2018
MIC Drop – Featuring Desiigner; Peaked at #28 on 12.16.2017, certified platinum (1,000,000+ units sold) in the United States
DNA – Peaked at #67 on 10.14.2017, certified gold
Waste It On Me – Steve Aoki Featuring BTS Peaked at #89 on 11.10.2018
Most Viewed K-pop Music Videos (All time); #1 is Gangnam Style – PSY; BTS is 4, 6, 10, 12-14, 19…