Nepal | April 18, 2019

BTS: The unstoppable phenom

Himalayan News Service

Effort makes you. You will regret someday if you don’t do your best now. Don’t think it’s late but keep working on it. It may take time, but there’s nothing that gets worse due to practising. So practise. You may get depressed, but its evidence that you are doing good

— JUNGKOOK

BTS is unstoppable right now —  aside from producing bop-worthy music, being fashion icons, and dazzling everyone with their live performances, the K-pop kings also don’t have a problem smashing world records.

Not only did their single Fake Love launch at No 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, the group’s latest album, Love Yourself: Tear, debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 album chart, becoming the first ever K-pop group to achieve this feat. The most recent record is: they have become the first K-pop group to ever break the top 40 in the UK.

Their new single Idol, from their album Love Yourself: Answer, has charted at number 21 on the official chart — 21 spots higher than Fake Love, which reached number 42 in May.

With such a success, even for those unfamiliar with K-pop, BTS is hard to ignore. The seven-member boy band, which was named by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential people on the Internet, is taking the world by storm, one follower at a time.

If you are not already on board with BTS’ catchy songs, smooth moves and adorable personalities, here’s everything you need to know about them.

What is BTS?

The group’s name, BTS (also known as Bangtan Boys) is an acronym for the Korean expression Bangtan Sonyeondan, meaning ‘Bulletproof Boy Scouts’. The name was conceptualised with the thought BTS would block out stereotypes, criticisms, and expectations that aim on adolescents like bullets and protect values and ideals of today’s adolescents. .

In July 2017, BTS announced that the acronym would also stand for ‘Beyond The Scene’ as part of their new brand identity. This extended their name to mean “growing youth BTS who is going beyond realities they are facing, and going forward”.

Small debut

BTS debuted under a relatively small record label and management agency, Big Hit Entertainment. Before being recruited by the agency, rappers Suga and RM and dancer J-Hope were all part of the underground scene, while Jimin was a top student in modern dance. V wasn’t thinking of auditioning until he was encouraged by a rookie group.

Jin, who is the oldest member of BTS, was talent-spotted while attending university. The last of the seven band members, Jungkook, had failed to advance in a popular singing competition, Superstar K3. He subsequently rejected offers from major music labels to become BTS’s youngest member.

When they debuted in 2013, they were called “dirt-poor idols”, reflecting their non-traditional pathway, but quickly proved their worth through their music by tackling head-on controversial and personal topics, which makes the group a standout among the genre.

They’ve surpassed the language barrier and the usual love concept in the music industry and went for topics people relate to.

Intimate access

Part of the septet’s appeal is that they give fans an intimate access of them entertaining themselves backstage, reacting to their own music videos, opening up about their worries and thoughts and much more, through V Live channel and Bangtan Bomb web videos.

They are also known for their proactive presence on social media. Twitter unveiled its 2017 year-end roundup, revealing BTS is the most tweeted celebrity globally. They even earned a spot in the Guinness World Records 2018 edition for
most Twitter engagements for a male music group.

Being a global phenomenon

Much to the surprise of many, BTS made history by becoming the first K-pop boy group to perform at the 2017 American Music Awards, where they performed their popular track DNA from their fifth record-breaking EP, Love Yourself: Her.

Their collaboration with rapper designer and DJ and producer Steve Aoki for a remix version of BTS song Mic Drop jumped to No 1 on the World Digital Song Sales chart and debuted at No 28 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart for nine weeks, making them the highest-charting K-pop group.

In May the group announced their ‘Love Yourself’ world tour. The group also became the first-ever K-pop group to perform at the Billboard Music Awards on May 20 in Las Vegas, where they won for the Top Social Artist award

BTS also became the first K-pop group to have both tracks Mic Drop (remix) and DNA certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America, has appeared on popular American TV shows such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Late Show with James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel Live! among other.

BTS style

The septet co-writes and produces much of their output. The group’s early musical style and image was influenced by hip hop, as seen in NO and No More Dream. They later branched out into RnB and rock music with Danger and Boy in
Luv
. The members’ solo songs in Wings incorporated a diverse range of genres.

BTS has been complimented for speaking honestly about topics they deem important, even in a conservative society. Billboard magazine noted they often have recurring themes in their materials. Their school trilogy series — 2 Cool 4 Skool (2013), O!RUL8,2? (2013), and Skool Luv Affair (2014) — explored the troubles and anxieties of school-age youth. Not Today from You Never Walk Alone has an anti-establishment anthem, with messages advocating for minority groups while Wings (2016) touched upon mental health and female empowerment. The second EP, Love Yourself: Tear, was praised for its themes of dealing with the cycle of grief that lingers through a separation.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, wrote to BTS, “Each of the members sings in a way true to himself and the life he wants to live. Their melody and lyrics transcend regional borders, language, culture, and institutions”.

The BTS ARMY

BTS’ accessibility has helped them connect with fans, known as ARMY, from all over the world resulting in one of K-pop’s
largest fandoms. Professional wrestler John Cena revealed to be an ARMY in July. He even volunteered to be the bodyguard for the K-Pop group. ARMY is a big factor in his love for BTS.

Cena said, “I’m a fan of fandom. That’s why I love places like Comic-Con. That’s why I love WWE. Because people show their passion. When I became aware of the BTS phenomenon, it hit me by storm. I listened to their music. I enjoy their music.” — Compiled

Happy B’day on UK Tube!

Jungkook’s fans put up a billboard in the run-up to his big day

Commuters using the Victoria Line this week are in for a K-Pop-themed treat, as they are being greeted with a unique ad featuring Jungkook from BTS. The eye-catching duo of posters, which describe the idol as a ‘soul singer’ and ‘excellent dancer’, are not an official campaign, but part of an ongoing global birthday event paid for and
organised by his fans.

These expensive birthday billboards are common in the K-Pop world, where gifts for idols are on a whole other level.

Every year when an idol’s birthday rolls around, thousands of pounds are spent by fans on billboards and bus ads bearing a happy birthday message. More still is spent on designer clothing and accessories, furniture, and the latest gadgets for him or her. Gifts are usually presented en masse, in coordinated wrapping paper, boxes and bags.

These birthday events are the result of months of planning and coordination by Korean fansites. Every Korean idol has them — people who lug around telescopic cameras to concerts, fan meetings, press events, and airports. They always seem to know exactly where an idol will appear, and they’re adept at getting the perfect shot. Their photo websites and social media accounts are popular with other fans, and their identities are usually a well-kept secret.

In the months leading up to an idol’s birthday, fansites announce their plans on Twitter. They ask for donations, typically in set amounts (£10, £20) and in return each donor will get a gift set of postcards, glossy photo books and stickers. After the donation deadline, the fansite master buys gifts, and carefully photographs everything.

Gifts vary from the practical to the outrageous. While some idols receive phones, cameras, and furniture, Jungkook was given a 50 gram gold bar last year for his 20th birthday. Designer brands are highly prized in Korean gift giving and usually make up the bulk of gifts. Idols often wear these designer gifts at public events.

Paid advertising like Jungkook’s Tube ad is the other way fansites use the money. Jungkook’s Tube ad was organised by Jungkook China, a group of five Chinese fansites working together, and it’s just one of many they have paid for around the world in the run-up to his birthday. — metro.co.uk

Trivia

  • He auditioned for a Korean singing show and after his submission video made the rounds in the entertainment industry, he was one of the most in-demand K-pop trainees ever.
  • He appeared on the popular TV show King of Masked Singer .
  • Jungkook is still developing his sound by learning from his favourites. Just search ‘Jungkook’ on YouTube and numerous covers will pop up. A big hit was a cover of Charlie Puth’s We Don’t Talk Anymore, which Puth even
    tweeted about after he heard Jungkook’s cover.
  • He graduated this year in February. The rest of the band members celebrated BTS’ youngest member when he reached his educational milestone.
  • One of his favourite hobbies is playing video games and he’s shared quite a few videos of himself.
  • Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams is a fan of BTS, especially Jungkook. Replying to BTS Jungkook, Jimin, and J-Hope‘s ‘Idol Challenge’ post on Twitter with a string of hearts, on August 29, she prompted a fan to ask her whether she was a fan of the group. Shortly afterwards, she responded, “Yes, I stan BTS for life.” She then went on to delight fans by revealing that her bias was Jungkook

The golden maknae

Jungkook was just 15 years old when BTS debuted. The youngest member of the group, he has grown in front of the BTS’s ARMY, and is an all-round talented performer, recognised for both his singing and his dancing.

BTS debut

Born on September 1, 1997 as Jungkook Jeon Jeong-guk in South Korea, he attended Baek Yang Middle School and Seoul School of Performing Arts High School. He is the youngest boy in his family, with one older brother.

He attended an audition called Superstar K in an attempt to pursue his dream of becoming a singer, but he was eliminated before the final elimination round. After being seen in his audition, seven different entertainment agencies scouted him (including JYP, Cube, Big Hit Entertainment, Starship, FNC, and Woolim). Despite the numerous offers, he decided to choose Big Hit Entertainment after visiting the company and hearing RM, a trainee and future bandmate, rapping.

When Jungkook was 13 years old, he was sent to Los Angeles for dance training, where he learned different styles of dance. Bang Sihyuk, BTS’ producer and CEO, mentioned that Jungkook almost didn’t debut with BTS because he was shy, quiet and timid. He was so shy that when he was asked to sing, he would start to cry.

When he signed with Big Hit Entertainment and became a member of BTS, he was in the eighth grade. He went on to debut with BTS on June 13, 2013 at the age of 15.

Major works

In October 2016, BTS released their second full studio album Wings, which marks each member having their own solo track on an album together — Jungkook’s solo is Begin. Jungkook mentioned he found it difficult to express his thoughts and feelings on paper himself, so he received help from RM in writing his solo.

Jungkook wrote and produced Magic Shop, which is featured on the full-length album Love Yourself: Tear. This is the second song for him to be accredited as a producer prior to Love Is Not Over, which is featured in The Most Beautiful Moment In Life, Part, 1 and The Most Beautiful Moment In Life: Young Forever.

He may be the youngest member of BTS, but do not mistake age for inexperience. Jungkook takes the front and centre during many of BTS’ songs and as he’s grown older so have his skills.

Jungkook’s called the “golden maknae”, or younger sibling, because of his all-around skill-set. He and BTS’ Jimin are known for practising choreography together. — Compiled


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