Welcome, first time with BTS?
The first words you will hear when you listen to “Dope” by Korean band BTS. Also known as Bangtan Sonyeondan (방탄소년단 in Hangul) ,which literally translates to Bulletproof Boy Scouts. They have more recently been referred to as Beyond the Scene as well. If you have never heard of BTS or are just learning about them, here is a quick primer on the band.
BTS made their debut on the Kpop scene on June 13, 2013, with members Rap Monster (Kim Namjoon – now called RM) Jin (Kim Seokjin), Suga (Min Yoongi), J-Hope (Jung Hoseok), Jimin (Park Jimin), V (Kim Taehying), and Jungkook (Jeon Jungkook). Yes, there are 7 of them and as they and any fan will tell you 7-1=0. BTS released their first album June 12, 2013, titled “2 Cool 4 Skool” with its title track, “No More Dream”. This album was part one of a trilogy that was followed by, “O!RUL8,2?” in September 2013 with its singles, “N.O.” and “Attack on Bangtan” and, Skool Luv Affair in 2014 with singles, “Boy in Luv” and “Just One Day”. BTS has been known for their large presence on social media and their very personal interaction with fans. A quick note on the fandom. BTS fans are called A.R.M.Y. which stands for Adorable Representative MCs for Youth. It goes along with their concept of speaking out on topics that many youth around the world face.
BTS struggled quite a bit in the beginning of their careers as they came from a much smaller company and were not taken seriously. Their first music show win did not come until 2015 with the lead single “I Need U” from their third EP titled, “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1”. This was followed by their Gaon Album and Billboard World Album charting EP, “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Part 2”. This album’s success made BTS the first Kpop act to stay on top of the Billboard World chart for multiple weeks.
Their albums, “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1” & “Part 2” were combined into “Young Forever” in 2016 with three singles, “Epilogue: Young Forever” which became a top 40 hit, “Fire” which became a top 10 song, and “Save Me” which made it into the top 20. The album “Young Forever” went on to win Album of the Year at the Melon Music Awards. This award was the first major prize, known as a daesang, for BTS.
Their next album, “Wings” was released in October of 2016 with pre-orders surpassing 500,000 copies the first week. The lead single from this album, “Blood, Sweat & Tears” gained BTS their first “all-kill” which means it topped all of South Korea’s major music charts at #1 in both real time and daily charts. The music video for BS&T, as it is often referred to, broke a previously held record for most YouTube views in 24 hours of a Kpop music video. BTS won Artist of The Year at the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards making them the first artist not from one of the three major entertainment companies, to do so.
2017 would prove to be a year of exponential growth for the group. BTS began their world tour with “Live Trilogy Episode III: The Wings Tour” in early 2017. The February repackaged edition of “Wings” titled, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” saw preorders exceed 700,000 copies. The lead single from this album, “Spring Day” crashed Melon’s digital chart, topped many major South Korean music charts and entered Billboard’s Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles at number 15. All of this with no promotion. BTS won Top Social Artist at the Billboard Music Awards in May following PSY’s win in 2014.
“Love Yourself:Her,” the fifth album from the group, was released in September of 2017 with tracks featuring the Chainsmokers, “Best of Me” and “DNA” whose music video broke the record on YouTube for most viewed music video by a Kpop group in 24 hours with 20 million views. “DNA” also entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 85 which made them the first Kpop boy band to ever do so. The single rose to number 67 making it the highest charting song on the same chart for a Kpop group. Their remixed single “Mic Drop” by Steve Aoki and Designer was released and hit number 28 on the Billboard Hot 100. They were the first top 40 entry by a Kpop group. EVER. November of 2017 saw them become the first Kpop group to perform at the American Music Awards. BTS would go on to win their second Artist of the Year Award at the 2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards, the first act to win two years in a row. Their single, “Spring Day” won Best one of The Year at the Melon Music Awards. BTS performed on Dick Clarks’ New Year’s Rockin’ Eve as the first Korean artist to be in the show’s lineup.
January of 2018 saw BTS receive Double Platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of Japan and win the Grand Prize Daesang awards at both the Golden Disc Awards and the Seoul Music Awards. They were the first artists outside of the “Big Three” to achieve this feat. In February both “Mic Drop Remix” and “DNA” were certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America making BTS the first and only Korean artist to ever receive two certifications. Their 2017 Wings Tour documentary “Burn the Stage” debuted on YouTube Red in March followed by the release of an extended video titled, “Euphoria”. Their third Korean LP, “Love Yourself: Tear” is currently in preorder set for a May 18 release date and their next tour “Love Yourself” has been announced. BTS has once again been nominated for Top Social Artist at the Billboard Music Awards and will also be debuting their new single there.
There is so much more to their story that would take days to explain. In the effort of making this a quick rundown of their music and achievements many important moments were left out. Their stories are well worth the time of learning them. BTS started small and struggled to become the global phenomenon they are. They biggest factor to their popularity is their ability to connect with their fans. Their honest lyrics, hard work, and sincerity have made them well loved by their ARMY. The majority of their music and lyrics are composed, written and produced by the members along with their team and has the ability to resonate with so many. The demographic of their fan base is truly amazing as it spans generations, genders, and race. They have broken down walls with their music and will continue this meteoric rise for the foreseeable future. BTS is a group everyone should be watching and listening to. Their sincerity and humble nature makes it easy to love them.
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