Recently in South Korea and throughout Asia, the enthusiasm and passion for K-pop have dramatically increased, all thanks to a 7-member boy group called BTS. Also known as “Bangtan Boys” or “Bangtan Sonyundan,” these talented individuals debuted in 2013 to globally represent the beauty of K-pop.
K-pop, or Korean pop, has existed since the 1990’s with multiple well-known artists gaining the spotlight and globally representing the country. Although the term itself consists of all genres present in the country, the typical influences of K-Pop include dance-pop, pop ballad, electropop, R&B, and hip-hop. Other boy and girl groups, such as EXO and AOA, may have been in the lead in 2015, but Bangtan is rapidly reaching the peak of fame.
While they faced many challenges before finally gaining fame with their first winning song, “I Need You,” BTS is now globally recognized and admired by fans of all ages, gender, and race.
“My first interaction with BTS was when my friend played ‘Dope’ on my computer,” said Spencer Hurst, a freshman at a Palos Verdes high school. “Although I am very neutral towards K-pop, the more I listened to BTS, the more I started to enjoy and like them.”
In addition to Hurst, the many other “ARMY” members– the group name for BTS fans– admire these stars because of their dancing and singing abilities, as well as the deeper meanings of their songs. Bangtan Boys are also known for composing most of their songs and choreographing their own dances.
According to NamuWiki, BTS focuses their songs on giving hope to teens who are experiencing discrimination and hardships. Almost all of their contributions to K-pop have either been personal experiences about difficulties in their teen lives, such as break ups, grades, and bullying, or an ongoing issue in society they feel needs to be addressed to a greater audience. Their group name, which means “bulletproof boys,” emphasizes once more on this message they want to deliver.
“We don’t blankly want to say ‘cheer up’ or stay strong,” said Rap Monster in an interview at the 2015 BTS LIVE press conference. “We really want to comfort people in our way by producing the music and writing the lyrics ourselves, which is why 80% of our lyrics are from personal experience.”
In addition to their songs and messages, BTS is also widely recognized for their sophisticated and coordinated dance moves. Ever since their first performance, the combination of their singing and dancing has never failed to captivate the attention of many viewers.
“One of the main reasons I like BTS is because of how enjoyable it is to watch them dance,” said Hurst. “Not only are they talented dancers, but the amount of work they put into each and every move shows their dedication, which I find very respectable.”
With Rap Monster as the leader and rapper, Suga as another rapper, Jimin as the dancer and vocal, J-hope as the rapper and dancer, V as the vocal, Jin as the vocal and visual, and Jungkook as the vocal, dancer, and rapper, BTS has performed many hit songs: “Dope” (2015); “I Need You” (2015); “RUN” (2015); and “FIRE” (2016). Due to the addicting melodies of these songs, as well as the powerful choreography and hopeful lyrics, BTS has been able to show the beauty and power of K-pop.
“We are so thankful for all our fans, both overseas and within our own country,” said Rap Monster. “As much as we enjoy performing on stage and spending time with each other, we would also like to be an inspirational group to society. Just remember to always live.