By Reina Manabe
This year, a Korean boy group, BTS, was nominated for their song, “Butter” for the Grammy Awards 2022 for the second time ever. The first nomination was last year for “Dynamite”. BTS is the first K-pop artist to be nominated for the Grammy Awards, as well as the American Music Awards and the Billboard Music Awards. As you can tell from their records, there are a large number of fans not only in their home country but all over the world. Of course, the members of BTS are all Korean, thus most of their songs are in Korean, so not many people in the world understand the lyrics. Despite that, a lot of people listen to their songs regardless of the languages they can understand. What makes the Korean boys group successful around the world?
Firstly, their songs don’t have a specific genre. Instead, they create all avenues of genres, from Latin American vibe music to ballads. There are three members of the rap line, and four members of the vocal line, so it is possible for them to cover a variety of genres. The versatility of their songs allows more and more people to enjoy their music. In addition, their song lyrics have strong messages. Although most of their songs are in Korean, the themes of their lyrics have a large influence on many people throughout their lives. For example, in the song, “Permission to dance,” there is a part of lyrics singing, “We don’t need to worry, ‘Cause when we fall, we know how to land.” Their lyrics encourage many people, especially those who are having a hard time overcoming their obstacles.
Secondly, their stage performances are extraordinarily polished. Although BTS is known for its exceedingly complex choreography, they perform it perfectly every time on the stage. As well as their dance performance, their singing skills are also amazing. They have to make complex and intense movements while performing, and at the same time, they sing perfectly in live performances. The reason why they give wonderful performances is simply that they practice a lot. They have been known for how hardworking they are. Jimin, one of the BTS members, revealed that before they debuted, he used to sleep only for two hours and devoted all of his time practicing after school.
And lastly, in my opinion, the biggest reason why they are loved all over the world is because of their messages, such as “stay strong, and love yourself,” that they send not only through their music but also through their actions and speeches. BTS has been sending meaningful messages since before, but they especially sent the strongest messages throughout the pandemic, when many people were having tough times. The International Labor Organization (ILO) analyzed that since the outbreak, more than 70 percent of youngsters that study or combine work and study have been badly affected by the closing of schools, universities and workplaces. Referring to the previous album series of Love Yourself, BTS eldest, Jin, summed up the group speech by inspiring online audiences to value their own happiness and mental health: “Thinking about the future and trying hard are all important,” he continues, “But cherishing yourself, encouraging yourself, and keeping yourself happy is the most important. In a world of uncertainty, we must cherish the importance of ‘me,’ ‘you,’ and ‘us.’” BTS has always used its music as a medium to give power to the people. The youngest member, Jungkook said, “If there’s anything I can do, if our voices can give people power, then that’s what we want and that’s what we’re going to keep doing.”
BTS will mark the ninth anniversary of its debut on June 13. Although there are some people that are criticizing BTS, their influence is incredible. I’m looking forward to how they are going to create more songs and inspire the world.