What's up with K-pop?

One woman's experience of becoming a "K-pop fangirl".
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Created by Carol

Published on Sep 29, 2021

From Facebook to Twitter, “BTS” is mentioned throughout timelines and hashtag trends almost every day. They are also topping the music charts, not just in Korea but worldwide!

BTS is among the few Korean bands to gradually dominate Western countries, where their popular breakthrough and economic success have grown. With their Love Yourself album series, they have earned international acclaim and have reached new career heights. Their fans (a.k.a ARMYs) around the world request their songs on the radio, despite the lyrics being in another language. Their dance routines, fan chants, and aegyos (Korean term for cute gestures) have successfully won over millions of fans worldwide. In short—they're everywhere! 

My journey to becoming a certified ARMY

Tired and uninspired, this pandemic really took a toll on my academic outputs and mental health. There was no reason to be inspired nor was there anywhere to get inspiration from! There were tough days I slept through the whole day, with nothing but demotivation coursing through me. In short, as cliche as it sounds, BTS found a way to inspire me through their upbeat and comforting songs and their journey of persevering to get to the top. Perhaps, this might be a confession from a normal girl turned into a k-pop fangirl.

My closest friends kept on gushing about how cute they are, but to be honest I didn’t really get it at first. As days passed by, I had a nagging curiosity to check out who “BTS” was. As I was scrolling through Youtube, there was a video of theirs recommended to me. Well, there was no harm in watching BTS’ videos, right? I thought, “Ok, let’s see if they are really good…” Watching that video was the start of being an ARMY. Quick fun fact: That performance, particularly Jimin’s, was trending for weeks and was recognized as valuable media from people around the world. Apart from being interviewed by the media, Jimin was honored by the 3rd Kim Baek Bong Fan Dance Preservation Society of Intangible Cultural Heritage with an appreciation plaque. He was given the prize for his contribution to the globalization of fan dancing. How amazing, right? 

After that ~first fangirling moment~, I began researching BTS's other members' profiles, BTS trivia, and anything else linked to them. After acquiring information, I couldn’t help but fall in love with their distinct personalities. I officially started “stanning” them (a lingo for being a fan) and watched their variety shows like Rookie Kings, RUN BTS, In The Soop, and more. Behind their oh-so-perfect personas, they are really sensitive, caring, and humble through their journey of being the top boy group in the world. 

BTS’s road to success

So who is BTS? RM, Jungkook, Jimin, Suga, V, Jhope, Jin or collectively known as BTS, is a South Korean singing group, Founded in 2010. They started in Seoul with a music taste that spans a wide range of genres. From Hip-hop to Pop, these seven performers got you! Not only they’re known for their catchy English songs like Dynamite and Butter, but they are also recognized for songs that aim to address mental health problems, the path of success, loving yourself, and being the best version for yourself. 

Their climb up to the top of the charts, local and international, has been rapid, especially with their recent songs. BTS’ recent single, “Butter”, was the song of the summer after releasing other groundbreaking No.1 hits. These chart-topping singles in the United States are major achievements for BTS. The band has worked for years to get to this position, gently but steadily dominating the American music industry with each new milestone. They've collaborated with notable musicians like Ed Sheeran, Nicki Minaj, Halsey, and more. 

When the group was originally created in 2010, the members were stylized as youthful and charmingly naive in the band's early promos. Their first concept was keeping the prevalent "schoolboy" idea of male K-pop idol groups. However, when the group made its musical debut in June 2013, it did so with a harsh style that paid tribute to old-school gangster rap. Their debut hit, "No More Dream," was a rebellious tribute to youthful indifference.

According to Forbes, BTS is the highest-paid K-pop group, with pre-tax earnings of $57 million in 2019. On the Celebrity 100 list of the world's highest-paid performers in 2019, they ranked at No. 43. The group's massively successful "Love Yourself: Speak Yourself" international tour provided a large portion of the group's profits. 

Finally, BTS has received a number of important foreign accolades throughout the years, including a nomination in Grammy Awards, MTV Music Awards, and more notable music awards from the western industry. They are the first South Korean act to sell more than 20 million records, making them the country's all-time best-selling artist.

KPOP’s impact worldwide

Over the last few years, K-pop has dominated the music interests of Gen Z as well as Millennials. A number of groups from K-pop's first and second generations displayed remarkable abilities from vocals to dancing. For example, Big Bang, 2NE1, Super Junior, Girls' Generation, 2PM, and EXO. Now on its 3rd and fourth generation of Idols, BTS, Twice, and BlackPink continue to dominate the world with their unstoppable charisma! Perhaps, we can say “KPOP in your area!” (if you know, you know *wink*)

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