What makes the South Korean pop group BTS one of the most popular boy bands in the world today? Is it their great sounding music, their music videos, their good looks or their lyrics targeted at teens? It would be an amalgamation of all this as it is difficult to pinpoint the real reason for their immense success. But watching the band grow so big in barely five years, it is their unity too that has survived their hectic schedules.
After the dance single Gangnam Style (2012) from Korean pop singer Psy that took the world by storm, it is time that a boy band made it big showing the world that K-Pop has a huge following not only in their homeland South Korea, but also around the world.
BTS (Bangtan Boys in Korean) perform a blend of energetic dance-pop and hip-hop that has helped them build a global following while also becoming the most successful K-pop act in U.S. chart history. The fact that they were one of the performers at this year’s Billboard Music Awards, performing and winning Top Social Artiste for the second year in a row, was enough to show the magnitude of their popularity and how far their music has reached. The band garnered 300 million votes in the first year.
The tongue-twisting septet’s lineup includes team leader and rapper Kim Namjoon a.k.a. Rap Monster, singer Kim Seokjin a.k.a. Jin, rapper Minyoongi a.k.a. Suga, rapper and choreographer Jung Hoseok a.k.a. J Hope, singer and choreographer Jimin Park, singer Kim Taehyung a.k.a. V, and singer, rapper, and choreographer Jungkook Jeon. The group members also produce, compose and write their lyrics themselves in English and in Korean. Their music is a combination of love ballads and rapping with topical lyrics.
BTS debuted in 2013 with the first installment of their School Trilogy series and their debut single 2 Cool 4 Skool. A few months later, they released No More Dream that did not take off, but when they released part two of the saga, the EP O!RUL8,2,?, it clicked on the Asian charts. The trilogy’s final installment, Skool Luv Affair, was released around Valentine’s Day in 2014 and was a stupendous hit instantly. The year ended with BTS bagging a host of awards in their home country. But the big bite across Asia and the world was still to come.
Later that year, BTS judged a K-Pop cover dance competition at the Bridge to Korea festival in Russia, an event aimed at promoting tourism between the two countries, and also performed on stage, showcasing their talent to the world. A month later they attended KCON (an annual Korean wave convention held in different locations across the world) in Los Angeles. On their return, they released their first Korean studio album Dark & Wild which peaked at No. 2 on the Gaon Chart and sold over 200,000 copies. Things were looking up for them and supported by two singles: Danger and War Of Hormone, BTS was looking at conquering the charts in the U.S. The band ended the year with their first Japanese studio album Wake Up that peaked at No. 3 on the weekly Oricon Albums Chart selling 28,000 copies.
PLUS! Everything you wanted to know about Jin, Suga, Jungkook, J-Hope, Jimin, V and RM!