The Rise of Korean-Pop Boy Band BTS

BY DANIELLE CLARK

If BTS didn’t pop up on your news feed this year, all I can say is where were you?

South Korean boy-band BTS, also known as Beyond The Scene or Bangtan Sonyeondan (Bulletproof Boy Scouts), consists of seven members RM, J-Hope,  Suga,  Jin,  Jimin, V, and Jungkook. Collectively BTS share rapping, singing and dancing duties which makes every performance captivating.  With four albums and five EP’s under their belts since their 2013 debut in South Korea,  interested listeners will gradually begin to understand the appeal and versatility of BTS. Incorporating electronic, hip hop, pop, rock and R&B genres into their music while rapping/singing in predominantly Korean with some English would make anyone question what makes them so special? I’m here to tell you that their good looks is not only the reason why “DNA” is my alarm clock in the morning.

Image Source, Billboard  - (Left to right : JIn, V, RM, Suga, Jungkook, JHope, Jin)

Image Source, Billboard - (Left to right : JIn, V, RM, Suga, Jungkook, JHope, Jin)

2017 was a big year for BTS!  Early this year, BTS dropped their deluxe repackaged version of their Wings album, You Never Walk Alone. Soon after they began their sold out U.S Wings Tour, performing five stadium shows in New York City, Chicago and L.A. In May, they attended the Billboard Music Awards where they won and accepted the Top Social Artist Award on television  beating contenders like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Ariana Grande. In September,  they released Love Yourself: Her EP, which broke all records for KPop albums with a Top 10 debut and two Hot 100 singles “DNA” and “Mic Drop Remix” featuring Desiigner and Steve Aiko. In November, BTS returned to the states again to make their T.V debut on the AMA’s performing “DNA” which was highly anticipated. Prior to their performance the guys appeared and performed on The Ellen Degeneres Show, Jimmy Fallon Live, The Late Late Show with James Corden, E! News, and more. Without a doubt BTS started to get US attention and their fanbase made sure that they would. BTS remained trending on social media and at every performance ARMY’s made sure we knew their names with ear deafening fanchants, camping overnight at events and even making sure the boys were well taken care of. America had to ask “Who the hell is BTS and who the hell is ARMY?”

Image Source, J. Merritt/ Getty Images -  (Left to Right: V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Jimin, JHope)

Image Source, J. Merritt/ Getty Images - (Left to Right: V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Jimin, JHope)

Image Source, Jimmy Kimmel  - (Left to Right: V, JHope, Jungkook, Jimmy Kimmel, RM, Suga, Jin, Jimin)

Image Source, Jimmy Kimmel - (Left to Right: V, JHope, Jungkook, Jimmy Kimmel, RM, Suga, Jin, Jimin)

(An example of ARMY caring lol)

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It's nearly impossible to talk about BTS without talking about their fanbase ARMY or (Adorable Representative M.C for Youth). ARMY are devoted fans that has played a major role in the international success of the group. Never have I ever seen a fandom that clearly is vocal, organized and supportive of an artist like ARMY.  Contrary to popular belief BTS appeals to a diverse audience, varying in age, gender, nationality and ethnicity. The success of BTS in my opinion is credited to their authentic approach and social conscious messages in their music. The group sheds light on social issues such as depression, anxiety, bullying, heartache, self love, mental health issues, the pursuit of happiness, and the trials and tribulations of the human experience. In comparison to other Kpop groups BTS has the creative freedom to write such songs and as a result fans flock because of this unique trait despite a language barrier. According to the official website, BTS had partnered with the Korean Committee for UNICEF to sponsor the #ENDViolence campaign that aims to make the world a safer place so that children and teenagers could live happy and healthy lives.

Image Source, Unicef Korea  -  ( Left to Right: V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Jimin, JHope) 

Image Source, Unicef Korea - (Left to Right: V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Jimin, JHope) 

All in all, BTS won 2017 with a standing ovation. Due to their rising popularity in the states be sure to be on the lookout for some collaborations in the New Year.