Ever since seven-member K-pop group BTS debuted in 2013, no one expected less from them. We can only expect surprises from the Bangtan Boys as they always bring something new to the table. Their accomplishments over the years have (literally) brought them to different places, performing in different countries both in the East and West. Although they didn’t sing one of their songs, they made history when they became the first K-pop group to perform in the 2020 GRAMMY Awards. Back in 2018, they were the first K-pop group to debut an album at No. 1 on the US Billboard 200 chart and the first to have a single land at No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.
BTS is big news everywhere, and they deserve every bit of praise and accolade. They can campaign for Volvo’s backhoe loaders, and their fans will line up to get one. But their rise to fame was not an easy climb. Amid all the crowd cheers and screams, BTS was also surrounded by harsh criticisms. They were being demeaned for expressing who they are. Now that the boys’ hard work has paid off let’s look take a step back and review what still makes the group special.
BTS’ artistic freedom
Compared to other big idol groups in South Korea, BTS is entirely different. It was formed by songwriter and music producer “Hitman” Bang, who also struggled to find his place in the Korean music industry. He eventually formed his own company, BigHit Entertainment, that veered away from the toxic culture heavily rooted in the industry. BigHit defied the standards and changed them. BigHit had a different approach to how it shaped the careers of rappers RM, Suga and J-Hope, and vocalists Jimin, V, Jin and Jungkook.
BTS stands out because the members are immersed in the music-making process from writing to producing them. In an article by Vulture, writers analyzed that “BTS’s music comes across as organic because it is a natural output of the members’ minds.” Initially beginning as a hip-hop group, BTS is flexible in exploring other music genres. They wrote songs about love and girls, as expected of a boy band, but their songs also evolved. Their music is more focused now on self-love, being more socially conscious about how the South Korean society negatively affects who they are. Their artistic freedom has allowed them to be more honest through their experiences, which contributed to their image.
BTS’ ARMY of fans
BTS fans are called ARMY, who are loyalists to the group. Because of BTS gaining fame around the world, the ARMY fanbase grew multifold. What’s amazing about the impact of BTS is that anyone knows them, regardless if one is an ARMY or not. It’s perhaps as big as the impact that The Beatles brought when they first visited America. The Bangtan Boys never fail to be thankful for their fans and part of the group’s success is the unwavering support of the people who enjoy their music. The ARMY of fans, as The Guardian described them, “flag the music and lyrics as the reason they have connected so deeply.” For simply being relatable is the positive influence of BTS.
Like every other artist, K-pop or not, BTS has its unique features. The message they carry around their songs bring hope to the youth, given that it is the largest sector of the group’s fanbase. The young people are also the most inclined to inflict self-hatred and BTS is more admirable for taking the role to teach them about self-love.