If K-POP and it’s corporate take-over of the global music industry passed you by WHOLE_istic Media’s 16 yr old expert is here to enlighten. ‘bangtan_army2013’ kicks off with the biggest boyband in the world > BTS > Over to you my ‘purple-heart’ A.R.M.Y comrade >
BTS are a 7-membered South Korean idol group who debuted on June 13th 2013 under BigHit Entertainment with their title song “No More Dream.” At the time the youngest of the group was only 15 years old and the oldest was only 20. The group was originally formed in 2010 with leader RM being just 16 years old and the original first member of the group. Then came J-Hope, Suga, Jin and Jungkook who joined from 2010 to mid-2011. The final member Jimin has the shortest trainee time at just one year, joining the company in 2012 and V, sub vocals member in 2013.
At the time BigHit was facing bankruptcy and did not have very much money and some of the members had left the company but returned shortly after. For their debut stage, the boys wore $5 sweaters and tops and wore their names on the front and said they would do so until people remembered their names. Their debut stage was not even theirs as they only had it because another group cancelled their appearance. BTS were not given much attention due to the company they came from as it was not one of the ‘Big 3’ – the top companies in Korea, or a successful company as their label did not have many artists. BTS write their own songs and also help to produce them but they never got the recognition for it.
The group started gaining attention globally after the release of the “Most Beautiful Moment in Life” albums which came in 3 parts and were released in 2015-2016. From here they really started to take off with the release of the “Wings” album also in 2016. 2016 was also the year when BTS got their first Daesang (Artist of the Year) at the Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMA). This is the highest award you can get and it was a big shock to the group and they were the first ever non-Big 3 (YG, SM, JYP) artist to take the award.
In 2017 the group released their “You Never Walk Alone” album and also released the album “Love Yourself: Her” the first of 3 to be released and also began their Love Myself campaign with UNICEF Korea which is a campaign to help end violence towards children. To date, the campaign has raised almost $2 million. The Love Yourself albums serve the message of learning to love, being hurt and healing and learning to first love yourself before you can love someone else. The title song of the “Love Yourself: Her” album, DNA broke them into the Billboard charts in the US and gained them a huge amount of attention from US media. At the time the DNA music video became the most viewed video by a Korean artist ever. They were invited to the Billboard Music Awards where they broke Justin Bieber’s’ 4 year streak and took the title of ‘Top Social Artist’ which they would later take again in 2018. They also got invited to perform DNA at the MTV VMA’s 2017 as well.
2018 was an even bigger year for the 7 boys with the release of the final 2 “Love Yourself” albums titled “Tear” and “Answer” and the beginning of the Love Yourself tour which completely sold out worldwide and is still continuing into 2019. The music video for “Fake Love,” title song of the “Tear” album became the most viewed music video in 24 hours with 45 million views beating out Taylor Swifts “Look What You Made Me Do” music video. The album was also the first album by a Korean group to take the number one spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
With the release of the final album of the series, “Answer” came the title song “Idol” with an extravagant music video aimed to use all of the big flashy effects that the western world criticises K-Pop artists for using. This song gained further attention with this album and had a second number one album on the Billboard 200 albums chart. They were invited to perform on America’s Got Talent, Good Morning America, Jimmy Kimmel and more.
Their success is down to their dedication and hard work but it gets stressful and in early 2018 at the peak of their popularity when the world had their eyes on them, the idol group even considered disbanding as they had a lot going on and felt that the pressure was too much. However they all decided to stick together and signed a further 7 year contract with BigHit.
“FYI BTS global fans are officially known as A.R.M.Y which is an acronym for ‘Adorable Representative M.C for Youth.’ Last year I watched an illegal stream on YouTube of BTS at a London concert that bangtan_army2013 was at (hoping to see them in the crowd.) It was a dream come true for our newest and youngest WHOLE_istic Blogger. This ‘old’ person, by comparison, was riveted and enchanted along with between 100-150,000 others watching the same live stream.
I was honoured to be in the A.R.M.Y. that night. The stream kept crashing (due to thousands of comments streaming alongside.) Not one of the thousands of young people from all over the world became impatient. The love and support they all gave each other as they cried, sang, supported and counselled each other (exam pressure, teenage concerns, life, kindess and compassion) throughout was an eye-opener and (I admit) a bit of a choker. I was impressed, touched and full of admiration for these kids. They’re ‘on a mission’ and every song holds deep meaning for them with social responsibility at its heart.
They don’t listen to politicians they turn to and inspire each other to ‘be the change.’ Whatever your view on the ‘corporate’ vibe of the way Asia has conquered pop music, maybe hold your judgement and look further. These young people are serious about their game-changing. The future of our planet may be in safer hands, after all. I “purple heart you” (FYI: bangtan A.R.M.Y code for ‘Namaste’) Ed”WHOLE_istic Media Editor the_BLOG
NEXT TIME > Rumour has it that a K-POP girlband is stealing BTS’s crown as the biggest band from Asia. bangtan_army2013 is going to their concert in the UK this May. Hold on to your hearts – BLACKPINK up next time in our K-POP series on the_BLOG. Here’s some homework in the meantime.
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