My Attitude To BTS, Korea Boyband
BTS, Korea boyband, arguably the biggest boyband in the world today. Maybe you’ve heard it, maybe you saw it at Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. A group of sweet-faced young people who took k-pop to the next level. I’ve written a bit about how k-pop is buzzing in my ear. I’ve also shared a bit about my diverse musical tastes. Listen to BTS, why not. One BTS song performed at Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is one of their hits titled “Idol”. I’m honestly interested in this song. At first glance, I can immediately guess that there were elements of traditional Korean music in the percussion and the melodies they built likewise with the choreography.
There were some traditional Korean dance elements there. Especially on the part when they jump spinning like taekwondo athletes. I cannot speak Korean. So I do not understand what they really want to say through the song. But if we slide into their youtube channel, we can see the video clip of the song, with subtitle. Well, watching k-pop video clips with subtitles is a challenge. K-pop video is usually full of striking colors, with a very fast transition. Usually in one video only, there are so many things happened. But I committed myself to watch this video over and over again, to watch the pictures and symbols they use in the video and took many times dedicated to reading the lyrics. It seems that this “idol” song is a reaction from them. They responding the criticism.
Idol is a unique culture (as well as industry) in Korea (perhaps also, Japan). In Korea, these idols are individuals that have been prepared since a young age to become artists/celebrities. Their training is very hard. When they are considered ready to perform, they start to penetrate the market. Many will begin to adore them. But at the same time, a lot of people were mocking them, saying that these idols were untalented and only sell their good-looking faces (which was ironic, because plastic surgery is a big deal in K-pop industry). So the case is, there is a group of adolescences, growing up to be adored by many people, at the same time, people are saying bad things toward them. Life is so hard. They live in an extreme between the love of fans, and also hatred from the haters. As the vigorous young men, they have to prove their identity.
Who are they actually? At this point, I respect them. Their concept to prove the identity is quite mature. At first, I thought they were just young people who liked the party. I was wrong. They elaborate on the concept of this identity in layered packaging. First of all the lyrics of the song. Secondly, from the music arrangement, as I said earlier, there is a traditional element of percussion and melodies there. We can hear there are shouts of “Eolssu!”, “Jihwaja”, which usually appears in the Pansori, a traditional Korean show. There is also a traditional Korean beat “dung-gi-geok-koong-dururu” (almost equivalent to us when mimicking drum sound).From this videos, many traditional Korean symbols appear.
The Hanbok they wear, the traditional palibo-jiboong architecture where they dance Sangmo spinning dance, to the decorations (which are so many because of it is a k-pop video indeed): tiger paintings, tree paintings, Bukcheong Lion Dance, Rabbit in the moon …Although the video was like a total carnage of colors, for me, this is interesting. When they are embracing their own cultural identities, then the global public also accepts them, strengthen their position as the world’s largest Boyband. Talking about positioning, this unique identity is a great value for them to make it distinctive. In fact, their third full album, Love Yourself: Tear (2018), debuted at # 1 on the Billboard 200, making them the only K-Pop act to achieve this feat so far…
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