BTS Festa 2022! ARMY all around the world are yet to recover from the release of their anthology album ‘Proof’ and now it is time to celebrate the music group’s incredible journey through the nine years. ‘Yet to Come’ is another gem from
This month though has been a blast! In fact, ARMY has been the most spoiled fandom as the beloved idols have showered them with spectacular content since the beginning of this month, starting with the family portrait. Trending under the hashtag ‘We were only seven’, this year’s Festa celebration is clearly a tribute to ARMY and BTS’ bond that has only grown since 2013.
First of all, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have definitely heard of BTS, which is currently the biggest music group on the planet. But still, for those who don’t know, let me start over.
BTS stands for Bantan Sonyeondan, which means ‘Bulletproof boy-scouts’. This is an all-boys group with seven members from South Korea. There’s Kim Namjoon or RM, the leader of the group, Kim Seokjin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Jimin, Kim Taehyung, and Jungkook. Their songs have debuted at No.1 on Billboard and stayed there for months. They have now been nominated for Grammy twice. I have lost count of how many world records BTS has broken so far. They held like 25 records until last year, even breaking Micheal Jackson’s 36-year record, but I know they have already made several this year as well. BTS is now a member of the Guinness World Records Hall of Fame.
So, how do 7 ordinary boys from a small country in Asia become the biggest act on the planet? Why are they so popular today that anything they touch turns to gold? It is even more surprising when you realize that, apart from a few songs in Japanese, BTS, until two years ago, was only singing in Korean, or Hangul. Yet, their music and songs resonate with people from different walks of life from all around the world.
Besides their achievements in the music industry, they have become something of an icon for social causes. They and their music, since the beginning, have highlighted different issues like bullying, peer pressure, toxic relationships, drugs, and violence as well as oppression of some groups in the societies including women and the LGBTQA+ community. People all over the world understand these problems and have, at some point of time in their lives, faced them.
One of their most impactful messages is Self-love. They say the truest form of love is to love yourself. I think the majority of ARMY had never thought of this concept. Understanding family and friends are all just fine, but the most important person is yourself. When one starts focusing on this, life changes. That’s my personal experience, and it is also my top reason to love BTS.
Besides their amazing, inspiring music and performances, I believe, this is the message that has led BTS to have a huge fan following around the world. It is also why they have spoken at UNICEF and the UN General Assembly, as well as the White House. People often get attracted to the boys’ humble and genuine attitude and sincerity towards their fans. I have never met an artist who could make such an impact just through the screen. It’s crazy to think that for most ARMY those boys have become their everything. They hurt, we hurt. They cry, we cry. They get insulted, we get enraged. And when they smile ….we smile.
BTS has over 90 million fans worldwide and counting. These people belong to different religions, castes, genders, skin colors, and age groups. And if something is so big on a global level, India has to notice, right? India has not just recognized BTS but has embraced them completely. BTS suddenly bombarded in the Indian market over the past two or three years. There were many ARMY already in the country. I think many new ones took a liking because of the English songs.
I have met several ARMY in my own locality and workspace. So, I decided to contact some of the true Indian ARMY to get their view on why BTS is special.
ARMY In Her Prime
Talking about BTS reaching the White House, an ARMY in her early forties gushes of being overwhelmed. The resident Bengaluru, who did not want to be named, says that she is way past her teens and early 20s to see the boys from a romantic perspective. However, she can’t help but feel proud of these young men. She says, “When I heard the news, it literally brought tears to my eyes! I feel as if I’m watching my own children accomplish the impossible. My heart fills with pride and joy for them.”
She tells me how she discovered the group during their Dynamite-era and unknowingly fell down the rabbit hole that is the BTS world. She says the group’s message of ‘Love yourself’ resonated with her the most as she was having problems in her married life. Kim Namjoon’s speech at UNICEF is what hit her in the heart. “When I started prioritizing myself, things started becoming clearer. You know what they say? You don’t find BTS, BTS finds you when you need them the most. That is exactly what I experienced.”
A Passionate Teenager
Prisha Karia is a relatively new ARMY as she only started exploring BTS when she fell in love with their Grammy Nominated song Butter. She too once, like many other Indians, was someone who held prejudices and disliked them without understanding anything. But after Butter she got curious and discovered there was much more to the boys than what met the eyes. Now she feels guilty for judging them without any base and hopes others give BTS a chance as well.
Prisha talks passionately about BTS’ songs, saying that while the group’s English singles are impressive, their Korean songs have such special meanings. “I’m OT7 but I like Yoongi a lot. Answer: Love Myself is my favorite song, “ she says. Depth and sincerity in their Korean songs is unmatched. Being a teenager, she says she can relate the most with their messages.
Speaking about BTS’ achievements, Prisha says the boys deserve everything and more. “They are so hardworking, sincere and …they truly care about their fans! They truly deserve everything..White House and all.”
Meet young Niva Doshi from Ahmedabad. She and her friends are all huge fans of BTS. Her passion for the band is such that it has even passed down to her 3-year old nephew. Niva, who is a Jungkook-bias, says she was introduced to BTS by her friends. She says she loves the band’s style and dancing very much. Niva’s favorite song is ‘Life Goes On’ and she listens to it while falling asleep at night. Getting excited about BTS and K-pop in general, Niva says, “I have started learning Korean as well. Me and one of my friends plan to do our graduation in Korea and become K-pop idols in the future.”
What is interesting, though, is the fact that Niva’s mother, Sweta, is actually happy about her daughter’s interest in BTS. She says ever since Niva got interested in K-pop and BTS, she has seen subtle changes in her. “Niva is more confident now. Where in the past she stuck to one thing, now she is much more open to trying new things. She has gotten interested in exploring new languages, new cultures and countries.” Sweta laughs, “My daughter was a tom-boy and adamant about it. But now I’m happy that she’s at least trying new styles.”
Talking about BTS’ music, Sweta says she doesn’t know or understand much of it, but she would prefer Niva listen to it than the rowdy songs of Bollywood. She says at least BTS songs do not have inappropriate lyrics.
ARMY Who Found Comfort With BTS
Sindhuja Rao from Kukatpally, Hyderabad, says the first time she heard Jimin sing, she thought she was listening to an angel. She was an engineering student in 2015 and was really struggling with depression for years because of a situation with her family. This is when BTS entered her life and transformed it for the better. “When I heard Mochi (Jimin’s nickname) sing, I thought an angel was calling out to me, asking me to come out of the abyss.”
BTS’ songs, voices, and messages touched her heart in a way that Sindhu felt the songs were written especially for her. Sindhu says the comfort, love, and joy BTS brings into the lives of their fans is beyond compare. The situations and themes depicted in the songs matched with her life so much that they spoke to her directly. She says with the help of BTS she has been able to improve her life, have a more positive outlook and stay motivated. Without going into detail, she says although her family issues are not really any better, she has learnt not to dwell on problems and enjoy life. “Its not always easy, and it was a long road, but it’s still so much better,” she says.
BTS has had so much success, not only in the domestic market but also on the international arena that it is sometimes hard to imagine how a group can achieve this. As an ARMY, I feel defiant when people question their success, but when I look at it objectively, I can understand where they are coming from. However, I feel enough is enough. It has been nine years, people should stop looking suspiciously towards BTS.
The group has been mistreated over and over again. They have been used and taken advantage of to gain ratings and views. Western music industry has suspected them of using nefarious methods to increase sales and views for their albums and songs. They have been nominated for Grammy twice, and for what? To gain views and be cast aside? They have had to justify themselves at every turn and it just doesn’t feel right.
Like Namjoon said, “What people don’t acknowledge is the existence of ARMY. BTS is not just us 7, but a great…no a huge wave, consisting of so many people, different genders and races..who are really, meaningfully involved in this..name of BTS.”