BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan) is a seven-member male kpop group. As a growing global phenomenon, BTS has achieved new heights unheard of for kpop acts, buoyed by their loyal ARMY (BTS’s fandom). Unfortunately, with their successes comes a lot of unfounded hate. Today it’s time to fully unleash Jessica’s Rant Mode—so buckle up and prepare for the ride.
“Kpop groups only perform flashy, shallow songs about love and heartbreak.” Today, pop music in general seems to revolve around lyrics professing undying, unrequited love. That’s okay. But BTS holds a special place in my ARMY heart for using music as a way to communicate meaningful themes. Yes, it’s not unusual to hear a BTS song about love, heartbreak, and dating—their early era and even the recent Love Yourself: Her mini album reflects this. But it’s equally as common to hear BTS songs about the pitfalls of Korea’s education system, mental health issues, female empowerment, the crippling grip of eating disorders, the trials and tribulations of youth, self-confidence, and BTS’s own very raw (and very real) personal struggles.
“BTS doesn’t actually get a say in their music.” THIS IS THE BIGGEST LIE EVER, I CAN’T EVEN—let’s stop before I get carried away. Amongst kpop groups, BTS is regarded as an anomaly. Despite being signed on to a small, unknown (at the time) record label, BTS has made it just as far as groups under one of The Big Three of the Korean entertainment industry (YG, JYP and SM).
BTS’s label (BigHit Entertainment) differs from other labels in many ways: they’re small, they put health and safety before success, they give their artists relatively free reign, and they pour most of their resources into polishing a few strong acts, rather than dabbling in multiple trivial ones. As such, BTS has been allowed to help produce, compose and write their own lyrics; you can verify that members have been credited in over 90% of their songs.
“BTS is fake and uncandid.” You can identify any non-ARMY if someone truly believes this. In their music alone, it’s heartbreakingly obvious that many of the stories they tell are based off of personal experience. It’s most obvious in their album Wings, where every member helped create their own solo—and the result was glorious. Jungkook’s Begin was a warm “thank you” to the older members; Jimin’s Lie finally opened up about his struggle with body positivity; Stigma was a tribute to V’s late grandmother, a lullaby to his siblings and a song meant for family; First Love made me cry about how Suga used music to combat his worst times; Reflection showed us just how difficult it was for RM to handle the leader’s role; MAMA was J-Hope thanking his mother for everything she’d done; and Jin’s Awake was a beautful ballad about fear of success. Everything they’ve done has been from the heart, be it off screen or on paper.
“BTS doesn’t care for their fans.” No, they don’t, which is why they feed us a steady stream of Tweets, always say “Thank you ARMY!” when accepting any award, dedicate every album to ARMY first, allowed Suga to give away 300 presents to ARMYs who came to wish him a happy birthday, have perfected fan service and aegyo against their will, and are moved to tears at concerts—completely unashamed. Yes. This is why BTS definitely doesn’t care for us.
And there we have it! One of my longest published rants to date, and one that I most definitely could have dragged on for the next 1,000 words. Hate will never disappear, but so long as BTS remains conscious of the love they get, and respectful of the critic they recieve, haters will never understand what they’re missing out on. For a great Billboard article on BTS’s latest interview/photoshoot, check out this.