K-Pop band BTS, a sensation larger than life

BTS zooms to zenith of pop world


December 16, 2020

/ By / New Delhi

K-Pop band BTS, a sensation larger than life

BTS members have catapulted into the international spotlight, rather than adapting to western styles

There is more to BTS than just music. The Korean pop sensation is about their native culture, novelty and most importantly, their humility and honesty, according to the BTS fans.

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“This is all because of you Army. You made this.”

BTS’ grateful words rang true with its fans worldwide, whom they refer to as ‘Army’, after TIME magazine declared the Korean band ‘entertainer of the year’. Last year, their album, Map of the Soul: Persona, topped the UK album chart in April 2019, making them the first Korean group to do so.

BTS on time magazine

TIME magazine declared the Korean band ‘entertainer of the year’

“BTS hits the expected high notes of traditional K-pop: sharp outfits, crisp choreography and dazzling videos. They’ve matched that superstar shine with a surprising level of honesty about the hard work that goes into it. BTS meets the demands of Top 40’s authenticity era without sacrificing any of the gloss that’s made K-pop a cultural force. It doesn’t hurt that their songs are irresistibly young, polished and often confessional; that sit comfortably on many youngsters’ playlists,” says Yuvnal Dhaka, a US-based Indian student and BTS fan.

BTS isn’t just the biggest K-pop (Korean pop culture) act on the charts. They’ve become one of the biggest bands in the world. Between releasing multiple albums, breaking every type of record and appearing in these extemporaneous live streams in 2020, BTS ascended to the zenith of the pop world.

The group got its start in 2010 after K-pop mastermind and Big Hit Entertainment founder Bang Si-hyuk recruited RM, 26, from Seoul’s underground rap scene. He was soon joined by Jin, 28, Suga, 27, J-Hope, 26, Jimin, 25, V, 24 and Jung Kook, 23. They were selected for their dancing, rapping and singing talents.

Carrying the Korean culture

What makes BTS special is that while they’ve catapulted into the international spotlight, rather than adapting to western styles, the artists have made an effort to share Korean culture through their music and visuals.

Their 2018 hit Idol is a perfect example of this. The song highlights the words eolssu and jihwaja, which are recurring lyrics in a musical spoken word tradition unique to Korea called pansori. The composition itself incorporates gukkaki, Korean traditional instruments, giving their track a bright flare.

Their music videos and stage performances include Korean traditional clothing called hanbok, and architecture, hanok, showcasing the beauty of Korean artistry. “The fact that the artists of the band are using their global platform to celebrate Korean culture is truly remarkable,” says Dhaka.

What makes BTS different

“Their advocacy for self-acceptance and speaking for oneself resonates with most. BTS calls audiences their ‘biggest voice,’ but they have, in fact, given voice to people like me who may not have had the proper avenues to overcome insecurities and embrace who we are,” says Garima Jha, a Delhi-based engineer and a die-hard BTS fan.

“The boys’ genuine determination to stay grounded while being bombarded with constant fame is also worth admiring. Both BTS and ‘Army’ motivate each other to be the best versions of themselves, and BTS creates a sense of community between their fans and with the members that make these concerts even more special,” she adds.

BTS’ connection to their audience

“Even while performing the same setlist for each show, the members keep it fresh with fun quips for the city they’re in, heartfelt speeches, and spontaneous twists to their songs and dances,” Jha explains.

She goes on to say that the BTS fans come from all corners of the world and all walks of life. Before anything else, it’s BTS’ fresh sound, honest stories and carefully composed music, meaningful lyrics that draws people in.

BTS live concert

always take a moment at the end of each show to address the audience, reflecting on how much they love what they do & how grateful they are to be able to share it

“But above all, the effort and care BTS put into creating and performing music with deep-rooted, healing messages that preach self-expression and self-love, autonomy and breaking of boundaries,” Dhaka adds.

BTS’ popularity cannot be compared to a ‘boy band craze’ say fans, who are enamoured by how they light up the room with their life-loving, positive energy and adore the group’s strong bond, as well as their individual, charismatic personalities.

They always take a moment at the end of each show to address the audience, reflecting on how much they love what they do, and how grateful they are to be able to share it. They constantly thank the ‘Army’, reiterating that they could not have made it so far, as artists and as people, without such unwavering support.

Inspite of their stardom, their honesty, concern and carrying of the original Korean culture makes them a sensation. It is their fan-artist bond, along with BTS’ humble reckoning of every milestone and ability to portray a wholesome human connection through their music, that has them soaring to new heights every day.” Dhaka says.



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