By Lola Sasturain via El Planteo. First published on December 2020.
The idea of this chronicle comes from a little boomer initiative: everyone is talking about BTS and I didn't want to be left out. Not only had I never seen or listened to them, but I didn't know where to start.
I'm thirty years old, I'm from a big city and I listen to all kinds of types of music. Not only because I like it, but also because my job demands it. However, kpop had always been an elusive universe to me: in synthesis, I was locked in the Gangnam Style joke.
At first glance, I wasn't too interested musically, beyond the hits, so I didn't understand why should I make the effort, being a world too big, too complicated, too strident to encourage me to dive into it.
I knew this from BTS: I had to dive in. It was more than songs, more than videos, more than live shows, more than the biographies of its members.
When I thought about doing this chronicle under the effects of cannabis I didn't know if I should start reading or enter in the subject randomly, wherever I felt like, whether I should start with the news about them or if it was important it was to know them beforehand.
So, I decided to ask Eugenia "Buji" Mariluz, host of QMEE on Vorterix and BTS fan. Her comments and recommendations guided this research.
BTS is a world that can seem overflowing, with multiple entry-points, its research requires a radically different exploration than the one we usually do when we want to know a music artist in the Western Hemisphere.
"Buji" told me not to approach it chronologically because I was going to get myself in a muddle. "Start with the last," said Buji from the beginning of our conversation.
What can I know about the BTS world, without previous knowledge, or judgments, stoned while following the friendly advice of a fan?
Let's start from the beginning: whatever that means.
The Necessary Data
BTS is a South Korean male pop idol group (an equivalent of Western boy bands). Their genre is k pop.
Like most idol groups, it was created by an agency (in this case Big Hit Entertainment), from which each member was carefully chosen based on their talent, looks, and stage personality.
BTS is composed of seven members: Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V, and Jungcook.
As it happens in the idol dynamic, each one fulfills a certain role not only musically but also symbolically. And each has its own fandom with its own characteristics. Thanks to a video provided by Buji, I was able to understand more or less what is the role of each one.
They debuted with the single "2 Kool 4 Skool" in 2013. Since then, they maintained a regime of one EP per year, reaching massive international success in 2015 with the trilogy The Most Beautiful Moment in Life.
With their 2018 era, Love Yourself, they became the first Korean artists to top the Billboard 200 chart, a status they maintained with the follow-up album: Map of the Soul.
They recently released their latest album, Be, with two smash hit singles worldwide: "Dynamite" (released in August, it was one of the hits of the year) and "Life Goes On." They are prolific at an unimaginable speed for Western pop.
They also star in different audiovisual products: they have a reality show called Run BTS, which has more than 100 episodes, a four-season series that accompanies them on vacation called Von Voyage, and a one-season series called In TheSoop.
In turn, several of their tours were immortalized in movies.
Today, BTS is considered a key part of the outbreak of the "Korean Wave". The Asian country is internationally fashionable and is a trend-setting platform, not only with its music but also with its cinema, fashion, skincare, and even its food.
And its fans, known as ‘Army’ around the world, proved to be a potential progressive political force, organizing themselves in various activist actions.
Disclaimer: Stoned, you won't understand a thing
If what you are looking for is not to be amazed by their choreographies, listen to their songs or marvel at the art of their videos, but to understand …