“Love myself, Love yourself”: How BTS’ message is shifting the western music market, one song at a time


Siannah Santos, Staff Writer

BTS. I’m sure you’ve heard of them. Whether they’re trending on twitter, topping the Billboard charts, or selling out stadium shows, they are always the talk of the town. Recently, the western world has seen K-Pop slowly take over, and have grown a more accepting and positive perspective towards it, and this can be credited to none other than BTS themselves.

BTS are seven member group originating from South Korea. They consist of the members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. They’ve been self producing and creating music since 2013, but it took them quite some time to make a splash all around the world. In their earlier stages, they focused on hard hitting and powerful HipHop dominating tracks, with a fierce choreography to follow. This type of music was popular in South Korea at the time, but that doesn’t mean BTS were. BTS has to overcome adversity against their own people, to prove that they were more than just a rookie group. “Life has many unpredictable issues, problems, dilemmas,” said RM, to Time Magazine in 2018. “But I think the most important thing to live well is to be yourself. We’re still trying to be us.” And they maintained their message of being true to one’s self, and to do what makes you happy. In 2015, BTS received their first music show win for their single “I Need U”, an emotional and passionate r&b infused track. It was from here that BTS were finally going to soar. After this win came their first daesangs, or “Korean Grammys”. They quickly began to show their country what they were capable of.

  In September of 2017, BTS released the album “Love Yourself: Her”, the first album in their “Love Yourself” trilogy. Alongside the album’s release was a vibrant and vivid music video for the title track “DNA”. The album showed great variety, with softer, smooth ballads like Jimin’s solo song “Serendipity” , to party anthems that question authority, like we see in the song “GoGo”. We even got to see trap infused to their sound with the song “Mic Drop”. This album is what got me into BTS, and it’s also what got BTS to slowly become household names. “DNA” charted at number 4 on the iTunes charts, and they were the first K-pop group to chart their music video and album on the world charts simultaneously. To date, “DNA” is BTS’ most viewed video, with over 900 million views. 

“Love Yourself: Her” opened up the gates for BTS to make history in the western world. In 2018 alone, they dropped two albums, “Love Yourself: Tear” and “Love Yourself: Answer” , which featured big names like Nicki Minaj and Steve Aoki. Both albums charted at #1 in 50+ countries on the iTunes charts, as well as their singles being included in Billboard’s top 10. They were the first group to have 3 albums hit number 1 on the Billboard charts since the Beatles. Yeah you heard right, the Beatles. They attended the Billboard Music Awards, where they received Top Social Artist. They performed for a sold-out area tour that crossed the United States. Then, they were able to sell out Citi Field, becoming the first korean act to do so. I was in attendance, and it was the most awe inspiring and vibrant concert I have ever been to. They are truly are born performers.

If you thought 2018 was a whirlwind, just wait until you see their accomplishments for 2019. They attended the Grammys, becoming the first K-pop group to do so. I know, they do a lot of firsts, legend behavior. In April, they dropped their highly anticipated album, “Map of the soul: Persona”, a new chapter in BTS’ story. This album takes inspiration from Carl Jung’s famed book of the same name, that questions one’s self, and looks deeper into their persona. The lead single, “Boy with Luv”, a collaboration with Halsey, broke the youtube record for most viewed youtube video in 24 hours, with 72+ million views. Crazy, I know. This album was number #1 on iTunes in 80 countries, and broke the record for most pre orders in history, with 3 million+. They then embarked on their sold out “Speak Yourself” tour that spanned through several states. “The music helped me sympathize with our young generation and also empathize with them. I’d like to create and write more music that represents them.”, says J-Hope, BTS’ main dancer and part of the group’s rap line. BTS continues to show that even with nothing, you can become something that may seem so out of reach, but is definitely possible. They have gone through moments when times got rocky. “Effort makes you. You will regret someday if you don’t do your best now. Don’t think it’s too late but keep working on it. It takes time, but there’s nothing that gets worse due to practicing. So practice. You may get depressed, but it’s evidence that you are doing good,” says Jungkook, BTS’ youngest member. It is their drive and passion that has gotten them to the point that they are at now, and it is their amazing fanbase, ARMY, that keeps them afloat. And as an ARMY, BTS help me stay afloat too. Their music helps heal, helps restore, and helps improve one’s perspective of themselves. I advise that you put away the stereotypes that you have in your head about them, and give them a shot. Their music proves to be for everyone, whether you’re young or old. 

BTS is coming back after almost a year with the album “Map of the Soul: 7”, which will be released on February 21st. The album has already amassed 3.42 million pre orders in its first week, the first in history to do so. And BTS know that title all too well, as they are truly history makers, and will continue to be.