As K-pop is one of the big pop-culture trends in the world today, and there are a lot of good albums we have in our library collection, I would like to share the artists and songs I have liked since I started listening to K-pop as a teenager! I hope you will enjoy this music genre and culture as much as I do!
This time, I am going to introduce you to the most popular Korean boy group in the world, 방탄소년단 (BangTan Sonyeondan, which means “Bulletproof Boy Scouts” literally) BTS! Formed by HYBE Entertainment, BTS debuted on 13th June 2013, and its members include Jin, SUGA, j-hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jung Kook. According to j-hope, the meaning of the group name is “to block out stereotypes, criticisms, and expectations that aim at adolescents like bullets, to preserve the values and ideals of today’s adolescents” (Source: Affinity). The group was rebranded in 2017, adding another meaning to the group’s name, which is “Beyond The Scene”, and new logos for the group and their fan club, A.R.M.Y (Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth). BTS does not have an official colour, but they have their specific official light stick, Army Bomb.
The main music style of BTS is hip-hop. Members RM and SUGA were underground rappers before they joined, and had already released several self-written songs. Their song “Hip Hop Phile” was talking about how much they love hip-hop and shout out to those hip-hop artists who influenced them like Epik High, Nas, Eminem and much more. Since the release of the “School Trilogy Project,” BTS has broadened their music style by trying different genres, like pop rock (Spring Day), synth-pop (Dionysus) and tropical house (Save Me).
Since their debut, BTS members have written, composed and produced most of their songs, with rap line members, RM, SUGA, and j-hope participating the most in songwriting. Their creative works are well known for their poetic and literary lyrics (Author’s note: I really admire how literary their lyrics are! I will recommend: Butterfly, Serendipity, and DNA). On SUGA’s YouTube video, RM describes rap as “poetry with rhythm,” showing how the group conceives of their lyrics as contributing to the field of literature.
BTS has always tried to convey different messages to society through their songs, with each album embracing a different theme. The School Trilogy Project discusses teenage dreams (2 Cool 4 Skool), happiness (O! R U L8, 2!), and love (Skool Luv Affair). Meanwhile, in the Youth Series, BTS talk about their hopes for ‘youth’ — even with all the uncertainly and insecurity (The most beautiful moment in life pt.1), the youth who embrace the pain and bittersweetness of live and keep running (The most beautiful moment in life pt.2) are in the most beautiful moment of their lives (The most beautiful moment in life: Young Forever). They talk about love, social issues, mental health, and all the topics they believe they should share with the public.
BTS is truly a group that has brought K-pop into the next chapter, and to a whole new audience. They’ve broken many music industry records, including being the first K-pop group to hit the 1st place on the Billboard Hot 100, the first K-pop group nominated for a Grammy Award, and the first K-pop group to speak at the United Nations. Today, BTS is focusing on the members’ solo activities as they complete their military service, and is expected to reunite and come back as a group again around 2025. Jin and j-hope are doing their military service and released a single, The Astronaut, a debut solo album, Jack in the Box respectively before they proceeded with their conscription respectively. RM released his first full-length album, Indigo last December and is preparing his second solo album. SUGA just released his first full-length album under his stage name ‘August D’, D-Day in April and is doing his show on BTS’s YouTube channel. Jimin also released his first solo album, Face in March and has received a very good result. Jungkook is expecting to release his first solo album around July and V had filmed a variety show, Jinny’s Kitchen, that was on air in February.
BTS albums we have at the library
LOVE YOURSELF 結 ‘Answer’ is a repackaging of BTS’s third full length album, LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’ that released in August 2018. This album also marked the end of their “Love Yourself” series. After taking about the brightness side of love (LOVE YOURSELF 承 ‘Her’) and the pains of love (LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’), this album concludes the message that “Loving yourself is where true love begins”.
My personal picks:
This album is BTS latest anthology album and their last album before they pause their group activity because of the military service. This album contains 48 songs, including 3 new songs, their lead singles since debut, members solo tracks, subunit songs and the demo version of their released songs.
My personal picks:
Books about BTS available at the library
BTS : rise of Bangtan / Stevens, Cara J.
“This unofficial biography tells the story of BTS and their global ARMY, which helped propel them to the top of the charts all over the world. Extensively researched, Rise of Bangtan explores the lives of RM, J-Hope, Suga, Jimin, V, Jin, and Jungkook, the story behind how they all got together, and their amazing rise to fame–from their start in East Asia to their dominance across the globe.” (Catalogue)
BTS : the ultimate fan book / Croft, Malcolm
“BTS: the ultimate fan book” is a spectacular celebration of the best and brightest K-Pop group from South Korea. Inside you’ll explore the songs, the moves and the fashions that have led the Bangtan Boys to worldwide success. Beautifully illustrated with photographs that highlight the band’s kaleidoscope of personalities and passions, this is a must-read for any fan who just can’t get enough BTS!” (Catalogue)
BTS : K-pop kings : the unauthorized fan guide / Brown, Helen
“BTS: Kings of K-Pop is the must-have commemorative celebration of BTS, the Korean boy band with a global army of fans.” (Catalogue)
BTS army handbook / Smith, Niki
“There are few who have made a mark on 2018 quite like BTS, the seven member Korean K-Pop group that is singlehandedly reviving the Age of the Boyband with their electric tracks, explosive dance routines and unnervingly perfect hair. BTS may have been catapulted to international acclaim this year, but there’s still a whole world of facts and stories from the six years it took for them to become the first K-Pop act to hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts. Become a fully-fledged ARMY and learn about the members, the songs, and all of the stages along their journey from pre-debut training to global stardom.” (Catalogue)
Larger than life : a history of boy bands from NKOTB to BTS / Sherman, Maria
“Larger Than Life is a history of boy bands in popular music, from the 1990s to 2010s.” (Catalogue)
That’s a wrap for my over-sharing about BTS 방탄소년단! Tell us in the comments below if you’ve found your favourite BTS song on our list! 안녕히 가세요!