You’ll find it, the galaxy inside of you
Over the last five years, Korean-based pop idol group BangtanSonyeondan, known worldwide as BTS, has disrupted the global music scene. From clinching almost all the big international awards, to dominating all the Billboard charts, to making an address at the UN General Assembly, they’re definitely the biggest thing in music right now. What sets apart the Bangtan Boys from The Beatles, The Backstreet Boys, One Direction, or any other globally popular boy band before them, is their uniquely symbiotic relationship with their legions of fans, known as the BTS ARMY. This relationship is best understood from the inside, and in this youth themed issue, we pull back the curtains to understand what it means to be ARMY
You’ll find it, the galaxy inside of you
Destiny. A word I always had trouble believing in, that is, until I found 7 men living in Seoul, South Korea one difficult night.
I can vividly remember the exact moment when the most beautiful voice boomed in my ears as I sobbed into my pillow. Kim Taehyung’s soulful voice singing,
“Would you believe me if I said that I was scared of everything too?” (Magic Shop, BTS)
That was all it took for me to fall for BTS, aka, BangtanSonyeondan. So, you’re welcome, if it's your first time with BTS!Seven remarkable individuals, who go by both their stage names, and real names, respectively. RM (Kim Namjoon), JIN (Kim Seokjin), SUGA (Min Yoongi), J-HOPE (Jung Hoseok), JIMIN (Park Jimin), V (Kim Taehyung), and JUNGKOOK (Jeon Jungkook).
If I was allowed to talk about them limitlessly, I don’t think I could ever stop. But, if I had to say what it is about them that touched me, the answer would be: their existence inspires me. The way their words connect and make beautiful poetry, pierce your heart, and inspire you to be the best version of yourself. Their music can make you feel the love and respect they have for their art, and that feeling seeps into your soul too. It is genuinely such a divine emotion.
Once you get to know them, especially on a personal level, you realize that efforts truly never betray results. In their own words,
“A medium-sized, ordinary idol was my second name
Countless people get cut from broadcast
But someone’s empty spot is our dream
They say some of these kids can’t make it because their agency is too small” (Sea, BTS)
They debuted back in June 13, 2013 from a small agency with little to no resource, started making music in a dingy small garage, and then those passionate young kids went on to being their nation’s pride in every sense. The youngest recipients of The Order of Cultural Merit in S. Korea, the ambassadors of UNICEF, the first Korean artists to have four #1 albums on BB 200, the first Korean group to have a #1 on BB Hot 100 (with their latest single release, Dynamite)! You name it! Not to mention how they alone bring about $4.9 billion to their national economy whilst being compared to giant companies like Samsung, Hyundai etc. In short, the genre is BTS.
But their achievements are not what make me love them beyond words. It’s their message, and how much they convey that to the world, both as a group and individually. As a group, they have talked about how to stand up to authorities as youths in the society (N.O, BTS), how essential it is to talk about your mental health, to be sad, and to be hopeful (Whalien 52, BTS). They ask you to be proud of your identity, and live fully despite all taunts and nonsense (Idol, BTS)! It’s so enchanting that they can make an entire stadium scream their loudest chanting, “but you can’t stop me loving myself!”, and how tracks like Stigma provide comfort to the LGBTQ+ community. Even individually, their words have brought me so much comfort, and made me want to believe, in myself, in them, in people.
So when Namjoon tells me ‘everything goes’, I close my eyes and blindly believe that this too shall pass which is precisely why mono (his mixtape) is my comfort zone. And then, Yoongi silently whispers in your ears,
“dream, your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be” (So Far Away, AGUST D),
you grasp it in your heart that no dream is too small or too big. I know how dearly I am loved when Seokjin tells me,
“When you are sick
Just shining on me
I will be by your side
More brightly in the dark night” (Moon, BTS)
Their words work as a band-aid when I understand that they too struggle, scream, and question everything, just like an ordinary me. I know Jimin and Hoseok want me to confront myself, and get through every obstacle when they say,
“caught in a lie, find me when I was pure, I can’t be free from this lie, give me back my smile” (Lie, BTS)
“seven years of anguish come out finally, oppressions all resolved” (Ego, BTS).
And then, finally, the youngest members Taehyung and Jungkook never shy away from telling me their story. They ask me to believe in change, to have hope, for everything does end in full bloom. I have to say, the first time I listened to their solo tracks from their recent most album (Map of The Soul: 7), I cried.
Taehyung, a small child who believed in,
“a silver galaxy” and ran towards “the endless light” (Inner Child, BTS).
Jungkook, a young boy sharing how he feels,
“I ran to where the sun rises every single night” and that “his life is a movie all the time” (My Time, BTS).
Both their voices bring me peace every time I need it, which is why I couldn’t express the pride I felt when Taehyung’s first ever solo OST “Sweet Night” for a K-Drama called “ItaewonClass” achieved a #1 on iTunes in 117 countries, smashing every record possible! His musical style is something I love the most, which is why I cannot wait for his first ever mixtape (he’s told us he hopes to drop it this year!). And, every day I look forward to listening to more stories of Jungkook just like the snippet of “Decalcomania” he gifted to us (mixtape soon, I hope!?!?).
I genuinely cannot stop talking about them once I start as I mentioned before. But, oh well. Here I am, ending this by recommending my top 5 tracks by them:
I believe, you will one day find that galaxy inside you too, for the boys always come to those who need them. And when they do, they will purple you, and scream “ARMY! I love you!” at the top of their lungs.