Updated: Jul 30, 2019
It is nearly impossible to be on social media and not see material about BTS(also known as Bangtan Seonyondan or Bangtan Boys), a seven member Kpop group, that dominates almost every social media platform. The group consists of seven members which include three rappers -J-Hope, Suga and RM(the leader of the group) and four vocalists- Jin,V, Jimin, and Jungkook.
The group has broken countless records, one of which includes holding the Guinness World Record for most Twitter engagements and in a recent study done by Hyundai Research Institute found BTS is currently worth more than 4.1 trillion won (US$3.63 billion) annually, the same as 26 mid-sized South Korean companies.
Engagements for BTS's twitter account in 24 hours are around 15.3 million, and is facilitated by their dedicated fanbase named A.R.M.Y. The name stands for Adorable Representative MC for Youth and is the driving force for BTS's current state. ARMY's are an active fanbase that support the band and often create trending hashtags for the band. Twitter had to create a specific code for BTS so that they could provide accurate trending hashtags otherwise, BTS would trend every day from the numerous amount of engagement.
Part of BTS's success comes from the message that their music sends to audiences in which they speak on mental health issues, socio economic issues and have lyrics that often criticize the norm that is placed on young people in South Korea. BTS's message in their songs is what makes them stand out from the rest of the Kpop industry in which they speak on problems that are "taboo" to speak of in South Korean culture.
Love Yourself:Her was the first album of the Love Yourself trilogy, released on September 18,2017. The remaining albums of the trilogy are Love Yourself:Tear and Love Yourself:Answer which each showcase different ways that people perceive love and continues the storyline present in all BTS albums. The BTS storyline is a complex coming of age story that outlines the members going from youngsters to adulthood. An essential part of the storyline depicts different obstacles and connects all of their previous albums with those of the LY trilogy (Love Yourself).In order to fully understand the storyline in their videos, click here for a breakdown of the storyline. The BTS storyline can be seen throughout BTS's music video and the full storyline was published recently.
Essentially, the Love Yourself trilogy depicts the evolution of how the idea of love is not what the general media depicts as being "in love" with another person but instead that true love starts by loving oneself. Throughout the trilogy the members are seen trying to hide their true selves in order to get other people to love them as seen in their song The Truth Untold,
"I’m so afraid
That you will leave me again in the end
Once again I put on a mask and go to see you"
A mask is often used in BTS's songs to represent the hiding of ones true self and depicts the mask that we use against others to protect ourselves from those around us. The trilogy explores the different ways that people believe that love is represented however in the end it depicts that the only way to begin to love others is for us to begin with loving ourselves as seen in the last song of the Love Yourself trilogy Answer:Love Yourself,
"Loving myself might be harder
Than loving someone else
Let’s admit it
The standards I made are more strict for myself
The thick tree rings in your life
It’s part of you, it’s you
Now let’s forgive ourselves
Our lives are long, trust yourself when in a maze
The me of yesterday, the me of today, the me of tomorrow
(I’m learning how to love myself)
With no exceptions, it’s all me"
BTS is using their influence as artists to send a positive message to people in their 20s-the people who are most inclined to self-hatred- to belt out lyrics saying that true love starts with them.Their sold out concerts depict ARMYSs yelling out that they love themselves and spread their message of love to different parts of the globe. A percentage of The Love Yourself trilogy's sales go towards BTS's Love Myself UNICEF campaign, in which BTS are ambassadors. The Love Myself campaign focuses on helping children and teens exposed to violence and carries their message “Find love in myself, embrace people and society in a larger sense with love.”The amount raised from the Love Yourself campaign is ₩ 1,797,650,047 KRW ($1,574,301.02) and counting.
As the Love Yourself era comes to a close, a new era for BTS has risen and was announced at the United Nations conference when BTS's leader,RM, spoke on their new UNICEF campaign. BTS helped launch the United Nations' Generation Unlimited campaign, an education and employment program for young people.
BTS' leader,RM, the only member fluent in english ( which he learned from watching the tv sitcom Friends) gave his speech on empowerment and love. His speech also announced the next era for BTS titled, Speak Yourself
"We have learned to love ourselves, so now I urge you to 'speak yourself.'"
The Speak Yourself era represents the next step in BTS's message and their upcoming album is set to release on April 12, 2019. The album "Map of the Soul:Persona", will continue BTS's message and is being positively received by fans with pre-orders currently at 3,021,822. BTS has proven that music has no language while sharing love across various nations.Their upcoming stadium world tour,Speak Yourself, sold out all stops only a couple of hours after being announced and will begin touring in May.
If you weren't able to snag tickets to their tour or are thinking of purchasing their next album, take a listen to Persona(and turn CC on for the english translation), the first song to be released from the album in which RM raps about his struggles with figuring out who he is.