OPINION: Why BTS Is So Popular Globally


Rey Renick

Rey Renick, Reporter

In the past six years, the popular K-pop group BTS has taken the world by storm. In 2017, with the release of their song DNA, they gathered unbelievable amounts of attention internationally. The music video currently has over 1.4 billion views. They’ve since gone on to release 36 albums, win over 30 different awards, receive multiple nominations for Grammys, and have even spoken at the U.N. on two separate occasions. If you don’t know about BTS, I think it’s safe to assume you’ve been living under a rock. 

 One of the many things that set BTS apart from other artists is creative choreography. Most members have some sort of background in dance, including member Park Jimin, who studied contemporary dance. When it comes to this, they’re on a completely different level than the others in the industry. One of my personal favorites is their single, “Black Swan’,” which is about the fear of losing their passion for music, knowing that music is all they have. Throughout the dance, they incorporate different moves and formations that imitate the flapping of a swan’s wings as they attempt to fly away from all their fears and worries. BTS’ unique choreography brings many creative and artistic layers to their performances, which is something that isn’t seen too often.

Paired with their choreography, they always have some of the most visually exciting performances, both on and off the stage. In the K-pop industry, there is a lot of use of CGI and special effects, along with sets full of attention to detail, but I feel that BTS specifically has perfected this. Along with this, BTS has a universe/storyline in some of their music videos. Their release of the song “I Need U,” in 2015 kickstarted this storyline, which seems to have ended with the release of their album, Love Yourself :Tear in 2018. In summary, this universe was where the members played characters who met in school and became close friends, then began to drift apart as the hardships of life started to affect them. In recent years, it seems they’ve stopped developing this story, but there are so many fan theories, and it is still greatly loved in the fandom.

Besides their talents and artistic prowess, they also promote a very simple but important message, love yourself. The members themselves are very open with their own experiences with mental health, it’s also a common theme in a lot of their work, both as BTS and as solo artists. In 2017, they partnered with UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) to start the Love Yourself campaign, promoting an end to violence and a hope to make the world a better place through music. That same year, they released their first album in the Love Yourself series, titled Love Yourself: Her. This series is four albums long and spanned from 2017 to 2019. It talked about falling in love, toxic relationships, and ultimately learning to love yourself. As a group, they’ve spoken at the U.N. two times, and each time was about the importance of this concept and the importance of today’s youth, with leader Kim Namjoon even saying this at their most recent meeting: “I’ve heard that people in their teens and 20s today are being referred to as Covid’s lost generation, but I think it’s a stretch to say they’re lost just because the path they tread on cannot be seen by grown-ups eye.”

In 2016, I discovered BTS through the release of their album, Wings. During this time, I was going through many personal things and was struggling a lot. I did not have many friends and had just started therapy, that period was one of my lowest lows. Shortly thereafter, they started releasing the Love Yourself series. It sounds silly, but this had a huge impact on me and helped greatly in my recovery journey. To some, being told to love yourself and to be kind to yourself may sound simple, but it isn’t for everybody. Being told to love and accept myself by a group I admired and respected was something I needed. Although they weren’t talking to me personally, of course, this is still a really common sentiment among a lot of fans. 

There are a lot of artists that promote similar messages, but to have a group as big as BTS actively promote this is huge and so meaningful. Even though they will soon be on hiatus for mandatory military service, the world will eagerly wait for their return.