BTS: Putting the D in Dope!
Fierce. Angsty. Insane.
That’s how I would describe these kids. With their average age being 21.7, they’re basically my younger brother’s BFFs. I could totally imagine these boys coming over to my house and goofing around with my brother. Bangtan Boys, more popularly known as BTS, are Jin (24) Suga (23) Rap Monster (22) J Hope (22) Jimin (21) V (21) Jungkook (19). Before you raise your eyebrow, let me tell you what their name stands for. Bangtan Sonyeondan (방탄소년단) means “Bulletproof Boy Scouts”. It’s a pretty cool name, IMO, especially when other K-POP groups have ridiculous acronym and abbreviated names that don’t really mean anything.
Now, I’ve been out of touch with K-POP for more than a year now. I took a break from my K-POP addiction when I realized the saccharine, sickly, high-pitched wailing and auto-tuning was getting a bit more humdrum. Moreover, the fact that these small entertainment agencies in Korea kept on spewing out one “idol group” after the other made it impossible for me to keep up. The fact that they all looked the same to me made me turn my back on K-POP and shut it out of my life for some time.
BTS entered the K-POP scene back in 2013, under the entertainment company Big Hit. Their debut song “No More Dream” earned them a few “New Artist Of The Year” awards from Melon Music Awards, Golden Disk Awards and the 2014 Seoul Music Awards. These boys have worked extra hard to put their name, and their company, on a pedestal. If you’re a K-POP fan, you would know about the three big names in the music business – SM, JYP and YG. Thanks to groups like BTS, small and unknown companies like Big Hit get to have a fair shake against the top dogs.
A good friend of mine recommended me to listen to their first mini-album, “O! RUL8,2?” and that was where it started. From the moment I heard the head bang-inducing “Intro”, by the incredible rapper of the group, Rap Monsta, to the extremely catchy and rhythmic “Satoori Rap” where the boys were basically having a rap battle using the different dialects in Korea and figuring out which is the best, showing how proud they are of their respective provinces. From start to finish, the album was jam-packed with fast, rhythmic, hip-hop and dance beats, with a bit of rock, that put me on the edge of my seat. The fast paced and heart-pumping “N.O”, the head-bobbing track “We On”, the hilarious skit “R U Happy Now?” where they talked about random stuff and the romantic pop-ish tune “Coffee” all made me embrace K-POP again.
Despite having mostly hip-hop and RnB tracks in their first album, the boys showcased some slow, mushy ballad tunes in their more recent albums. It was fine by me; they were pretty good tracks, however, I’m not really a fan of the “romantic guy” side. I prefer the wild, crazy, angsty teenagers belting out head bang-inducing, hip-hop songs. So they can sing, dance and rap. What sets them apart from the other K-POP groups out there? I have to say it’s the perfectly synchronized, off-the-hook, jaw-dropping dance moves. In all my years as a K-POP fan, I’ve already seen a pattern when it comes to these groups. There would be some dance choreography to accompany their catchy tunes, which could be sick and hard-to-copy or cute, funny and easy-to-remember. It’s what makes it even more exciting to watch them perform on stage. It's the trademark of most K-POP songs.
Their choreography for “N.O” and “Boy In Luv” were pretty cool, “I Need U” was impressive, but it was “War Of Hormones” that got me hooked. It was intense, jaw-dropping and highly entertaining. I remember watching every performance and even their dance practice video, meticulously looking for mistakes and inconsistencies. There were none. They were damn good. Their latest hit song, “Dope”, from their album “In The Mood Of Love, Part 1”, sent shivers up and down my spine. Not because of the fact that the hook sounded a bit like Flo Rida’s “GDFR”, but because of their dope dance moves. I swear, no matter how many times I watched their performances; all I could say in the end was “Woah”. There is no appropriate word to describe it. It was aptly titled “Dope” because it was indeed dope! Seeing these boys dance made me question how someone like me couldn’t even follow simple Zumba dance steps.
Plagiarism issues aside, “Dope” is a pretty cool song that will stay stuck in your head whether you like it or not. It has all the markings of a perfect K-POP song, from start to finish, plus a bit more. In fact, “Dope” is so dope that it had over a million views in less than 15 hours on YouTube. It also jumped up to the number 3 spot on Billboard’s World Digital Chart. The song is not just catchy, it’s addictive. It’s something I could play on loop for hours and never get tired of. The fact that the boys have fierce and sick dance moves to go along with the song made it even more enjoyable.