Sure, plenty of boy bands and multi-member singing groups preceded the existence of present-day pop sensations BTS, but this musical collective is special and different (and that’s according to more than just the hysterical teenage fan in your life).
WHO ARE THESE GUYS?
The Beatles were the Fab Four, and most late ‘90s and early 2000s pop groups expanded the format to five members. BTS counts a whopping seven members: Jungkook, V, Jimin, J-Hope, Suga, Jin, and RM. Also unlike the boy bands of yore, BTS doesn’t sing carefully choreographed pop written by a team of outsiders. They write some of their own material, while also injecting American style R&B and plenty of rap verses. (Suga is the group’s lead rapper.) Oh, and BTS
WHAT DOES BTS STAND FOR?
“BTS” is a compact abbreviation for “Bangtan sonyeondan,” a Korean slang term that translates, roughly to “Bulletproof Boy Scouts.” In other words, they’re tough boys…but they’re also very nice boys. Recently, in a move to acknowledge English-speaking fans, the group decided that BTS also means “beyond the scene,” meaning they want to be taken more seriously than just another band in the “K-pop” scene. (Oh, and “K” stands for “Korean.”)
This fan guide to the Korean boy band BTS—also known as the Bangtan Boys—showcases their talent, dedication, clever choreography, and catchy blend of pop, hip-hop and R&B.
STRAIGHT TO THE TOP
The world is becoming a smaller and more connected place. Language is no longer a barrier to entertainment, and BTS is one of the most successful and pioneering non-English-language acts in American pop music history. Before BTS, only four albums not sung in English hit #1 in the album chart in the United States. All those were performed in European romance languages, so BTS is the first group singing in an Asian language to go to the top of the pops.
BIGGER THAN THE BEATLES
In April 2019, BTS became only the third group — after only similar frenzy-causing acts the Beatles and Monkees did so 50 years ago — to score three #1 albums within a one-year period. As a nod to their predecessors’ famous 1964 appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, BTS performed on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert (taped at the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York) in Beatles suits (and in black white).
IT’S NICE TO BE FIRST
Among the other boundaries this K-pop group has shattered: They’re the first Korean act to win a Billboard Music Award, the first to perform on an American music awards show, the first K-pop act to perform on Saturday Night Live, and, of all things, the first Korean band to address the United Nations.
Learn even more about BTS with BTS: K-Pop Kings – The Unauthorized Fan Guide, available now from Portable Press.