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Take your mind off 2020 with “Dynamite” — BTS’ first English release

BTS at the MelOn Music Awards courtesy of TV10 via Wikimedia

Ladies and gentlemen, get your five-inch platform boots and roller skates out onto the dance floor because BTS (also known as Bangtan Boys or Bangtan Sonyeondan), the South Korean boy band, is stealing our American hearts once again as they release an all-American song titled “Dynamite.” With a groovy and funky theme to the deluxe single, this eccentric seven-member boy band has gone above and beyond to not only ensure that with this single our moods will be uplifted — but also provide glimpses of hope and happiness in our daily lives, despite the uncertainty we all face with the current state of the world.

“Our message to ARMY, which is to cheer up during difficult times is in the song as well,” J-Hope said in an interview with Melon. With the appreciation and respect of BTS’ massive fanbase, referred to as ARMY (Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth), fans throughout the globe have continued to give this band a massive platform and rise to the top of the entertainment industry. With their new release, BTS has not only surprised their fans and outdone their lyrical work, but gained an even bigger fanbase through reaching a wider audience.

As much as I have respected the South Korean entertainment industry for their groundbreaking and innovative music full of hardworking performers, if you had asked me about BTS years ago, I honestly wouldn’t have batted an eye. But it wasn’t until this year — which I’m sure many others can attest to this — that with more time on our hands for self-discovery, I have developed an adoration for BTS. And this speaks volumes because I am usually not one to “fangirl.” However, after seeing this boyband emerge from being South Korea’s “underdogs” of the music industry, their hard work, quirky attitudes, and love for authenticity has gained so much respect and appreciation among fans all over the world.

Whether it’s the artists breaking out of stereotypical gender norms or their authentic personalities via vlogs and on the stage, perhaps what has gravitated me the most towards them is their encouragement towards their fans to speak up for themselves and find their voices.

“BTS became the first K-pop group to speak at the United Nations on Sept. 24, in an effort to empower young people,” said Caitlyn Kelley in an article about BTS’ presence at United Nations.

During this speech, the leader of the boyband Kim Namjoon (also known as RM on stage) emphasizes the importance of finding one’s authentic self and to speak their truth, as they’ve partnered with UNICEF’s “Love Myself” campaign for ending violence and empowering young people to live authentically. Kim Namjoon opens up about struggles he went through, and viewers of the speech learn about his emphasis on how much it feels to “be a ghost in the background,” and to have one’s voice taken away. Despite the trials and even almost giving up in their early years of debut, the main safe space Kim Namjoon found, along with the rest of his band members, was of course, through their music. And it is through their strong collaboration, original storylines, and original lyrics produced by members Jung Ho-Seok (J-Hope), Kim Namjoon (RM), and Min Yoon-gi (Suga) that fans are able to listen to their sincere intentions of connecting with listeners and letting them know that they are heard. 

This message of self-love is further amplified with their new single as the boyband continues to devote their efforts to give their fans what all of us in 2020 needed: a shining light of love and hope to keep us going. Even more so, their profound talents for vocalists and rappers uniting as one to create “Dynamite” proves how hard they work to ensure not only connecting with a broader audience, but dipping their toes in something completely new, and accepting the challenges head-on, rather than staying comfortable with their lyrics and musical production. Perhaps listeners and lovers of BTS can all learn that this song can be a vessel towards continuing to spread perseverance, living in the present moment and taking in all the beauties that pausing in 2020 has done for us.

Following the boyband’s journey in 2020, the artists discussed new upcoming releases, movies, and even potential online and offline concerts. But what has shocked and taken the world by storm was their single “Dynamite,” as it was sung in all English — something that BTS has never done before. The music video — synchronous with the song’s upbeat pop melodies—thrives on an old-school, groovy 70’s vibe. These artists not only overcome the big challenge of having their lyrics sung in English but also provide their fans and listeners worldwide with reassurance to combat struggles that occurred this year.

In a formal interview with Melon, BTS member J-Hope describes the song, “Dynamite is a very bright song. It is in the disco-pop genre, with upbeat rhythms and happy lyrics.”

With all the determination of BTS performing something completely out of their comfort zone, it has definitely paid off and even exceeded everyone’s expectations. Not only did their music video for Dynamite break records by hitting 100 million views within the first 24 hours, their song being #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, but they also had an opportunity to perform the song at this year’s Video Music Awards.  

During Dynamite’s countdown release with the artists, BTS discussed their personal thoughts about the single and specifically the outcome that they wanted to bring to listeners for this single. Park Jimin stated that he wanted “Dynamite” to be “an elaborate amalgamation of a kaleidoscope of emotions,” while member Kim Seok Jin stated that it is a “hopeful song to present you hope and happiness.” 

If we’re having a heart-to-heart moment here, we all know how unexpectedly scary, stomach-churning and rough 2020 has been. For this multi-talented singing and dance group to release a single in all English and to combat the negative events that we’ve endured in 2020 must not have been an easy feat, but nevertheless they persisted to deliver work that is nothing short of amazing to their fanbase. What continues to amaze me the most about BTS was that during multiple interviews, when brainstorming for “Dynamite,” I saw how much they wanted to send out deep intentions of love and awareness to fans, letting them know that they are not alone and whatever trials they’re going through, they want members to be uplifted and united through this song. Personally I used to be one of those judgmental women who would look at BTS fans and wonder, what could be so amazing about this band? What is a bias? What are these “rap lines”? But after researching the hard work, dedication and commitment this group has pursued to make their fanbase happy, I was more than hooked. I was even more hooked when they tried to reach an even bigger audience with an all-English song.

Whether it is about battling mental health issues or societal pressures, this boy band never stops to let their fans know that anyone who struggles is heard, cared for and can be uplifted. Personally I think releasing something unexpected like “Dynamite” not only made me adore BTS more but perhaps even develop a new level of respect, as their commitment to deeply connecting with their fans through innovative lyrics full of meaning and explosive performances, while maintaining confident yet humble personalities, is exactly what keeps me coming back. From being underdogs after debuting in 2013 to having concerts filled fluorescent ARMY bombs (official light sticks of BTS) and thousands of screaming fans filling the concert arenas with intense emotions of love, tears and happiness, BTS has taken the world by storm — dedicating their music to uplift listeners through trials and triumphs that are faced daily.