BTS at the 31st Golden Disk Awards. From left to right: RM, Jimin, Jin, V, Jungkook, Suga, & J-Hope.

BTS- Are they the next big boyband?

In 2016, anyone who has social media probably didn’t expect to see a bunch of Asian boys on their Instagram pages or under a trending hashtag on Twitter. Imagine our surprise when going through our social media pages or Twitter accounts and seeing pictures or videos of these mysterious boys being posted on accounts with names like “jiminsblackgf,” “jungkook.fanpage,” or “army.forever.” First of all, who’s Jimin? What about Jungkook? Why are y’all having fan pages about armies? Aren’t those people who fight in the military?

Well, our questions were soon answered in 2017 when all we heard about were people talking about these boys who apparently were members of a band named BTS. They had just gone viral since last year following their release of their hit song, “Blood, Sweat & Tears,”and from their second full-length album “Wings.” Interested in all of the hype about them, we decided to check out their songs.

In Nikole’s perspective, she listened to their music during school in May 2017, and almost cried at how good the songs were. For Enma, she discovered them by watching a “YouTubers React to BTS” video on the FBE Youtube channel. In her initial reaction, she thought that even though she didn’t know what they are saying, these boys can really sing.” The songs were good, but when we watched the music videos, our hearts were entirely into it. She thought their dance moves were amazing and they were always in sync.  

BTS performing the dance routine to one of their hit songs “Dope,” which is about unbearable circumstances Korean students have to go through in order to achieve their dreams.

You bet that we definitely knew who Jimin was now; his beautiful face and sweet, yet powerful voice enchanted our screens.

Park Jimin of BTS, lead dancer and vocalist.

Of course, it wasn’t just Jimin who caught our eye. The entire band did. J-Hope with his dancing, Jungkook with his lustful gazes, V with his soulful voice, RM with his distinguishable looks and amazing rapping, Suga with his self-proclaimed “swag”, and Jin with his perfect face that matches his perfect voice. All of them have unique talents that contribute to the style of the group as a whole, and the group wouldn’t be as good if even one member wasn’t a part of it.

Despite the talent that they have, they weren’t successful for the first two years after their debut. They barely had money for food, their entertainment company was small and wasn’t expected to bring BTS success (nor was the band itself expected to succeed), and they were almost going to disband in 2014. The members were very poor, and were worried about the future of the dream that they were trying to live.

BTS when they first debuted. Despite looking happy because of fans, they were struggling greatly financially. From left to right in their signature standing positions: V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook. RM, Jimin, and J-Hope.

The members are very close with one another, and went through their struggles together. Jin would borrow ingredients from his mother to cook for the members, drive Jungkook to school, and act as a parent to the members. The members would keep company each other company on days off, and grieve together when they reached lows too unbearable regarding their public or personal lives.

When they won the Artist of the Year Award at the MNET Asian Music Awards, they cried on stage and huddled into a group hug. The success they have gotten means a lot to them, and it’s evident they are grateful for it. Many people didn’t think BTS would ever become famous, and part of that is not only because of their talent, but also support from their fans.

Their fans propelled them to fame, and they are known as “A.R.M.Y’s” (Adorable Representative MCs of Youth). Do those army-related usernames that we mentioned in the beginning make sense now?

A.R.M.Y’s were there for BTS when no one in the K-pop industry was, and they still stand by BTS through any problems they’ve had in the entertainment industry as a whole regarding racism, rumors, and On social media, they vote for and publicize the group. Plenty of fans agree that fan-voting awards are a key way in making sure BTS gets the recognition they deserve because of their talent and hardwork.

The coolest aspect of their fanbase is that it involves people of all ages, from adults to children. Teenagers are the biggest age group in their fan base, and they are definitely the loudest of all the fans in terms of their support for BTS.

An iSchool freshmen Chi-Chi Ezekwenna said, “I like BTS because their music actually has meaning. I’m not saying that songs with the classic theme of love and stuff like that are bad, but their lyrics really hold meaning and some of their songs can relate to people worldwide. Also, they are just extremely talented, funny, attractive, and amazing. BTS FIGHTING!” as you can tell she’s an A.R.M.Y.

Sofia Coulibaly, a fellow A.R.M.Y, elaborated upon Chi-Chi’s statement. “I think that they’re kind-hearted and don’t act fake like a lot of Western artists do. Since [their] debut, besides growing in physical appearance, they’ve grown in their music by creating their own unique vibe despite Western influence on their music.”

Even non-BTS fans have a say in their success. Tom Jones, an English teacher at the iSchool, seemed to have positive remarks about BTS. “If the fans are receptive to the message, I think any musician should make most of the attention they’re already getting, I applaud it. It’s about time Asian artists get recognition in the Western industry, and it should happen with more regularity.”

In terms of the Western-influence that people talk about, they all have the same context: BTS is getting a lot of recognition in the Western music industry, more than any K-pop group has ever gotten. On top of being the first Asian artist to win a Billboard music award (they won it for Top Social Artist, a fan voted category with over 200 million votes in favor of them), they will be the first K-pop group to perform at the 2017 American Music Awards. Also, they are the highest charting Korean artists in Billboard history, and their newest album, “Her,” got over 1 million pre-orders.

Their success is all well deserved of course, as they made a name for themselves, and no one else besides fans were attributes to their upcoming. From a small company in South Korea to the top of the music charts, they use their fame wisely and still remain humble, they even started a project with UNICEF to end violence. They serve as role models to many aspiring performers, a characteristic that iSchool music teacher Mr. Paris had input on.  

“I think that artists have responsibility to act as agents of change and to not just create music that is fun to listen to but also to create music that has meaning and an impact on our community and our world. Especially when they are able to reach a large audience there is the opportunity to do real good.”

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