A loaded question that can’t be summarized in a single sentence. BTS have broken barriers on a global scale, and over recent years have amassed a series of awards and accolades, both in their home country, continent, and the rest of the world. Much can be said, so let’s delve into a couple of reasons why BTS is so popular.
Since pre-debut, BTS has been involved behind the scenes, with writing and producing music and choreography, some of these posted on social media. They also posted logs about their experiences and general musings in the lead up to their debut which gave the audience a feel of their personalities and what was important to them. Their debut song, ‘No More Dream‘ asked some questions that appealed to the youth of their generation. They didn’t shy away from topics reflecting their lives and the current situations in their communities.
They are open about embracing their roots. From ‘Satoori Rap‘, which discusses the dialects from the district each member originates from; to ‘IDOL‘, this theme has continued in its various forms. ‘IDOL’ receiving praise as BTS used their global stage to showcase Korean traditional culture and appreciation of African cultures.
Their music takes the listener on a journey as they develop and discover themselves through their youth and the message is a hopeful one, reminding youth of the bright future they have. Encouraging them to step out of the shadow of the expectations of the previous generation and consistently doing so. The members regularly host live-streams, some of them following the album releases and give more insight into the thought process behind the production and songwriting.
The Korea Music Copyright Association promoted Suga to a full member of the association and listed over 90 songs credited to him, as songwriter and composer. The rap line (RM, SUGA, and J-Hope) is also attributed to several songs within the group’s discography as well as music with other artists and on their mixtapes. More recently the vocal line (Jin, Jimin and V) has begun to release their music, with Jungkook teasing his solo releases along the way.
The BTS members have been vocal about their struggles, especially regarding mental health and have been very candid with ARMY regarding this, being role models and comfort to youth through their journey and experiences. They are ambassadors for UNICEF’s #ENDViolence through their Love Myself campaign, which led to them attending the United Nations General Assembly and RM giving the speech on behalf of BTS.
The members are known to write deep and introspective messages about their musings and self-reflection. Suga openly discusses his struggles with mental illness and fame through his words and also his music, most recently doing so in the lyrics of ‘Suga’s Interlude’ featured in Halsey’s 2020 upcoming album Manic.
The connection they have with ARMY is strong as they have followed the journey with the group. Even if BTS isn’t able to communicate face to face with every single one of their fans, they connect through being themselves and providing messages of encouragement and support across all their platforms and all aspects of their artistry.
They also host a variety show Run!BTS, a reality travel show Bon Voyage and release behind the scenes content on social media (such as Bangtan Bombs and Episodes on BANGTAN TV) and through physical releases, such as Burn The Stage and Bring The Soul. They have harnessed social media to their advantage on a global scale.
As BTS has grown in popularity, fame and wealth they have been genuine and honest about this, the impact the fame has had on them and how they stay grounded, reminding themselves of where they began and the reason why they continue on this journey. This solidifies their connection with ARMY who can relate to them, and there is a real sense of unity between the fans, BTS, and their message which sees ARMY taking part in various projects to carry on this message.
It would only be apt to mention CONNECT, BTS which launched this week, taking their connection to another level and it has only just begun.
It is no secret that BTS is talented, and consistently hardworking, originating from a company that was still finding its feet within the huge industry, wearing knock-off designer brands for their debut concepts. It has been said that their debut stage was possible because they replaced another group, there is speculation that Suga referenced this in his verse of ‘Sea’ from Love Yourself: Her.
Countless people get cut from broadcastSuga in SEA [Hidden track in Love Yourself: Her]
But someone’s empty spot is our dream
They say some of these kids can’t make it cuz their agency is too small
Their journey has been far from straightforward and they didn’t receive their first music show win until ‘I Need U’, two years after their debut. The group is known for their synchronization and polished perfect choreography, difficult choreography which unites all the members with their various dance styles, this being evidenced even pre-debut when the members released dance practice videos on their YouTube Channel, BANGTANTV.
The members have been vocal about their experiences with practicing and learning the different choreography for each concept, not an easy feat but they consistently pull through to the point where the performances are seamless. They evaluate their performances and discuss how they can be improved.
Their concepts are multi-faceted and tell a story, both fictional and other thoughts are intertwined with the members themselves, providing another dimension to their artistry. ARMY can choose to engage with the fictional world of BU and the theories surrounding this. Bangtan Universe (BU) is a fictional world revolving around the music, music videos, books and now a WEBTOON which was released in 2019, linking the members together in an intricate story.
The concepts are well put together, thought-provoking and connect ARMY with all forms of art and mediums. All aspects are considered, down to the art direction, the costume design and the album packaging which was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2018.
Through these concepts, ARMY has explored various aspects of the arts including literature, psychology, mythology, religion and contemporary art. There is more than one way to support BTS and interact with their artistry for all types of fans.
The first schedule in the lead up to their upcoming comeback dropped last week with the release of ‘Interlude: Shadow‘, which has raised hopes that this comeback will be a step up from all previous releases. ‘Interlude: Shadow’ has earned the most views out of the comeback trailers within the first 24 hours.
The first single ‘Black Swan’ was released on Friday, with an accompanying art film and a classical arrangement of the track, the studio version featuring a more trap heavy beat. The single reached #1 in over 90 countries, this has set a precedent for the next stage of their careers. Read more about their first single release here.
….I began to listen to their music and listen to the message they send to their fans. And it’s one of self-love and self-reflection and being confident in yourself even though you may be different. So not only is the choreography and the development of personalities and the whole entertainment they put on spectacular. Young people are listening to their music and they’re sending a good message through their music…when you have popularity and you choose to use your voice for something good, I think that’s a plus.John Cena, The Late Late Show with James Corden
Featured Image Source: Kevin Winter/Getty Images