By MAYA SANCHEZ and LAURYN BEST
BTS – aka Bangtan Boys – is a Kpop boy group consisting of seven members: Rap Monster (Leader, Rapper), Jin (Vocals), Suga (Rapper), J-Hope (Rapper), Jimin (Vocals), V (Vocals), and Jungkook (Vocals). In April 2015 with the release of their mini album The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Part 1 they shot into popularity. Their song “I Need U” won five music show awards, an impressive feat not only because this was their first song to ever win an award but because they won five out of the six available. It was a huge stepping stone for BTS, lifting them up to the MAMAS and Melon music awards.
And they are back at it again with their second full-length album Wings. The title track “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” is a huge step away from their debut hip-hop style and their most recent pop sound. It draws more influences from the around the world, creating a sound that’s internationally friendly. It’s no wonder that they’re in the running for five categories for the upcoming Mnet Asian Music Awards which are commonly referred to as the MAMAs.
Their album is composed of 15 tracks, featuring seven solo tracks. This is highly unusual for Kpop group, because there is a huge emphasis on group dynamics and subunits. But this isn’t the first time that their entertainment company ,BigHit, has given them creative freedom. Members Rap Monster and Suga have both released their own mixtapes that touch on heavy topics such as depression and social anxiety.
And while their title track and other seven tracks are nothing to be pushed off, the solo tracks are where this album shines. As with all music groups there are members that tend to outshine the others and get more media attention and brand endorsements, but the solo tracks shine the light equally on every member. From their lyrics to their vocals to the composition, the songs are obviously created with love.
BTS has always been involved in the production of their music, namely Suga and Rap Monster. However the solo songs, with the exception of the youngest member Jungkook’s song, were all written by their respective artist. BTS shows yet again that they are a group made together of hard work and talent.
Having both a huge Korean and international fanbase known collectively as A.R.M.Y, BTS is topping the charts. Their music video for “Blood, Sweat, and Tears” broke records by being the fastest Kpop group to reach 10 million views by doing so in 41 hours. (They were recently topped by JPY’s TWICE, who reached 10 million views in 40.5 hours.) Their music video for Dope recently hit 100 million views.
While they’ve grown immensely and have gained even more traction on their road to international acclaim, the boys have not forgotten their original purpose. BTS has a history of releasing tracks with a message that’s different from the content of other idol groups. Their debut title track “No More Dream” sports inspirational lyrics:
“Go on your own path
even if you live for a day
Their goal when they debuted in 2013 was to make music with a message that inspired their peers to follow their dreams and keep pushing past their limits, which was all delivered with a flavorful flare that draws influence from music around the world. They still intend to keep going that route as lyrics from the last song on the Wings album Wings: Interlude convey:
“I go places they tell me not to,
Do things they tell me not to,
Want things I shouldn’t,
Get wounded again and again
You can call me stupid
Then I’ll just crack a smile
I don’t want to succeed
With work I don’t like
I push myself”
While it may seem like an overplayed concept, they believe it’s more important than ever to let young people know they have a voice in a point in their lives where it’s hard to believe that.
Wings is not only a representation of how far the Bangtan Boys have come, but a testament to how far they will go. An album that weaves important messages the members wanted to convey as individuals and as a group tied with some sick beat drops, Wings will surely stand the test of time.