The crowd at the Billboard Music Awards began fan-chanting the band members’ names as BTS took the stage: “KIM NAMJOON! KIM SEOKJIN! MIN YOONGI! JUNG HOSEOK! PARK JIMIN! KIM TAEHYUNG! JEON JUNGKOOK! BTS!”
BTS had just broken Justin Bieber’s six-year winning streak for Top Social Artist (a people’s choice award), becoming the first Korean pop group to ever win the title. In just five years, BTS became a worldwide sensation and a major presence in the western music scene. Despite this popularity, some are still wondering: “Who is BTS, and why have they become so popular all around the world?”
BTS is made up of seven members: RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. They debuted on June 13, 2013 with their unconventional hip-hop song “No More Dream.” The group also produces, composes and writes their lyrics themselves, something that few South Korean pop idols do.
According to a recent article on Vulture, BTS has become famous in the U.S. because of the funny and cute pictures and videos they post on their Youtube channel and Twitter. Thanks to their fanbase, the BTS A.R.M.Y. (Adorable Representative MC for Youth), they have over 10 million followers on Twitter and over a billion combined views on their music videos. In November, they made their American debut with performances on “The Ellen Show,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” and the American Music Awards. BTS has shown that there are no boundaries in music, and that it is possible to have a massive fandom in a English-speaking country.
Here are the top three reasons you should listen to BTS.
1. They incorporate serious issues into their music.
“Disobey the hell-like society...Become the subject of your own life, away from suppression.” These are BTS’s lyrics from their song “No More Dream.” Like most of their songs, “No More Dream” is about not following society’s expectations and following your dreams. This is unlike many American pop songs that deliver unhealthy messages about clubbing and drugs. “They talk about more real things and they're a little bit more artistic than American pop music,” said 14-year-old Natalie Boyd, a new A.R.M.Y. member.
2. They are fun to follow.
In addition to making music, BTS posts short videos that show off their personalities. Their Youtube videos are known as BANGTAN BOMBS. They also post vlogs, lip syncs, and backstage glimpses. “English time with BTS,” fan-made compilations of clips of the BTS members speaking English, is also a popular video series. “I finally looked up "English Time with BTS" and that's what sparked my curiosity,” said Ms. Chu, a Donald McKay School, City Year Corps member. “Then I saw one BANGTAN BOMB, then that started the spiral.” BTS makes sure they are updating small clips to bring themselves even closer to their fans.
3. They partner with UNICEF to help young people.
After releasing their “Love Yourself: Her” album, BTS announced on October 31, 2017 that they would partner with UNICEF on a new project called LOVE MYSELF. It’s an anti-violence campaign that focuses on stopping sexual assault and school and domestic violence against young people. According to Billboard, BTS will be donating just under $450,000 to the campaign over the next two years, and will also donate 3 percent of their “Love Yourself” album sales income.
These are three of the million reasons why you should check BTS out. I highly recommend starting out with their music videos for “Blood Sweat and Tears” and “I NEED U”—the song that started everything for BTS. If you want to get to know the BTS members even better, introductions to all seven members can be found on Squishy Min Yoongi’s Youtube channel. Through their music and their online presence, BTS connect with people around the world.
3 MORE FUN FACTS ABOUT BTS
1. BTS stands for four things: Bangtan Sonyeondan, Bangtan Boys, Bulletproof Boy Scouts, and their recent add, Beyond The Scene.
2. On their previous album “WINGS,” all seven members composed solo songs, which were included on the album.
3. RM has an IQ of 148 and was in the top 1 percent of the nation preparatory university entrance exams for language, math, foreign language and social studies in South Korea.