In recent days, information about BTS focusing on individual activities instead of groups has attracted the attention of domestic and international media. The major British daily newspaper – The Times also had an article about this event with the title: “Why is the world’s most famous group temporarily suspended?”.
Here, the author of the analysis who also interviewed BTS in 2018 – Richard Lloyd Parry – mentioned the difficulties the group faced when operating in the K-pop entertainment industry.
The Times Asia correspondent wrote: “They look depressed, more tired than passionate, enthusiastic. They are the most pressured dollar millionaires I have ever met.”
Redefining the unique quality in music
According to a PhD in Korean Studies and Teaching at Seoul Women’s University, Hanyang University, BTS’s future products are bland and half-hearted. Instead of making a difference to dominate their own market, the group follows trends to conquer international charts. Much of the reporting on BTS focuses on numbers, not music.
Debuting in 2013, BTS members were recruited to create the group Hip Hop. The group’s first debut stage with the debut single ” 2 Cool 4 Skool ” was full of personality of the music genre born in the 1970s.
Based on the Hip Hop platform, BTS has expanded the range with many different colors. The lyrics are self-composed by the members, expressing youthful aspirations and ambitions, upholding individualism and conveying many deep humanistic meanings.
This orientation is proven right from the debut products like No More Dream, Run, Boy In Luv, Dope or to later hits like Fire, Not Today … But the reality shows that the group is gradually moving away. typical Hip Hop quality since Butter and Permission To Dance – hits that brought BTS to international reach.
Although this change is completely consistent with the context and development of the times, for those who have followed and loved BTS since day one, they still “crave” the music with the distinctive color of the past. .
Because it is the simple lyrics and true, non-floral emotions that are the roots that bring them to BTS.
During the Festa Dinner party , RM shared that BTS decided to take a break from working together to focus on personal development. As the group’s leader, he admits he’s lost his way: “I realized the group had definitely changed. We have to accept that we have changed. For me, BTS is still within reach until ON and Dynamite . But after Butter and Permission To Dance , I don’t know what kind of group we were.”
The leader of BTS added, “Communicating messages through lyrics is an important part of my life. But right now, I don’t know what I should talk about.”
Therefore, RM as well as the members want to take time to reflect on themselves and orient their own musical identity. According to The Times , BTS needs to have their own space to create art as well as help their soul-healing music be reborn.
Get inspired with music
RM said BTS has worked hard together for 9 years and they feel exhausted.
Although each individual is talented and has a large fan base, they still put the group’s interests first. It is the collective strength that has brought BTS to the top of their career. But it is also this power that becomes a big barrier for the members to go solo.
According to The Times , the idol system abused BTS without giving them time to develop. 7 members once mentioned that they do not have time to meet family and friends, are not allowed to date, and are not allowed to rest.
Their lives are not like ordinary people. The group’s eldest brother also admitted at the Festa Dinner party, “I feel like I’ve become a machine even though I have my own hobbies and work I want to do.”
BTS is the name that has brought Kpop music to the world, contributing to the development of cooperative relationships between Korea and other countries in many fields such as culture, politics, commerce, tourism, etc. huge economic benefit to the country. However, the increasing influence of the group means that the responsibility of the group is heavier and heavier.
Talking about the pressure that BTS has to endure, the British reporter said that no longer simply working for the group’s passion or the company’s reputation, BTS now has to shoulder the responsibility of the whole country, even of a whole generation of young people around the world.
Leader RM confided, “I debuted as a singer. Things happen and I carry more responsibility to society. Then in a way, I am carrying on my shoulders the responsibility to the whole world. We probably don’t deserve so much. We’re not that special or that smart. But we have always been steadfast in our common goal with all our efforts.”
If BTS is the people who write history, then ARMYs (BTS’s fanclub) are the central characters in the glorious history they create. For the 7 members, fans are the core factor that shapes the group’s name. Because of this, they feel guilty when they say tired, exhausted.
But after all, solo activities are inevitable for the members to consolidate their roles.
Jimin confided, “We started thinking about how each person wants to be an artist to be remembered by fans. So this is a difficult period for us. BTS has entered a new phase. , a time when we were trying to find our own identity.”
Jung Kook said that the solo activities should have come earlier, but the group delayed it because they wanted to focus on promoting BTS’s name.
And most of all, they want to take time for themselves to find joy in music as well as to create a better version of BTS in the future. Only then can all 7 members continue to work together for a long time.
Maintain the heat of the name
According to Yonhap News , Soichiro Matsutani – a Japanese expert – said that the announced solo activities of the members are mainly related to the issue of military service. Although no official decision has been made, the group’s exemption from enlistment does not seem to be very positive when the Military Manpower Administration considers that their achievements are not enough to get this privilege.
Following BTS’ huge international success, legislators have submitted a bill to amend military service exemptions for K-pop groups with great influence on national standing.
In particular, the Minister of Culture is one of the supporters of this change. During the recent internal meeting, politician Sung Il Jong also submitted an exemption bill and many documents supporting BTS were passed.
However, not all government officials agree with this change. For example, Kim Yong Moo – a representative of the Military Manpower Administration – opposed the above argument by pointing out that BTS’s awards cannot be used as an excuse to be exempted.
Because awards are awarded not based on specific evaluation criteria, but mostly by fan votes or in some cases album sales.
Therefore, for him, BTS’s achievements are completely different from the criteria that are considered and used to exempt from military service today. With Mr. Kim’s immense power, BTS is unlikely to be exempt from duty. Representatives from the Military Manpower Administration had considerable influence over the review of this matter. And even if the bill is passed and becomes law, if the military doesn’t agree, there could be consequences in other ways.
In case the amendment bill is not passed, surely BTS members will enlist in the army one by one. The group’s hiatus can range from 1 to 5 years, depending on the individual’s situation and aspirations.
According to Yonhap News , the decision for the members to focus on solo activities is reasonable. This is the only way for the group to maintain the heat of the name until the time of reuniting with the full lineup.
Moreover, BTS has enough resources as well as a large fan base to develop their personal reputation. Therefore, they can shape and build an image according to each person’s personality. This also helps fans have a more accurate view of their personalities when not working with the group.
The Times commented that the moment the members come back together after all have confirmed their own qualities, they will become an even stronger and more successful team than before.