BTS' ARMY is not built on shallow admiration, K-Pop band is taking them on a much deeper journey
With the band just dropping their album 'Map of the Soul: Persona', fans are up for another mind-bending journey along with the 7 members of the band
K-Pop group BTS is taking over the world with their cross-lingual music, electrifying performances, and amazing hair.
And the ARMY is enlisting like never before. If you don't already know, educate yourself: BTS fans have dubbed themselves ARMY, and their loyalty is not one to be questioned. With over 16 million followers on Instagram and 14 million followers on Twitter, the boy band is taking over the world with its chart-topping hits and pastel-hued aesthetic.
However, it's not all about catchy tunes and slick video when it comes to the group, which has mined subjects and themes in their songs that you usually don't associate with a boy band.
BTS just dropped their latest album 'Map of the Soul: Persona' on Friday, and fans cannot contain their excitement. The album is expected to destroy global sales charts and even features contributions from Ed Sheeran and Halsey. Pre-orders for the album have surpassed 3 million copies already. The mobile site of Korea’s largest music website Melon was not accessible for an hour after the album dropped.
BTS has had a significant part to play in the growth of Korean pop music from just a niche market in global music to a huge international movement in itself. In 2017, they became the first Korean artists to win the Billboard Music Award for Top Social Artists of the Year, beating the likes of Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez. The seven-member band repeated the feat again in 2018.
While the ARMY is thrilled by the exemplary growth of their favorite band and swoon over their individual personas, their devotion is not as shallow as it may seem.
Haters are quick to dismiss the ARMY as mindless fans crushing on "cute boys", much like the flak that Directioners and Beliebers used to face. While it is true that fans may go to extreme ends to defend their favorite bands and concerts often transform into sob fests, there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to the ARMY's admiration for BTS, which by the way stands for Beyond the Scene.
BTS demolished charts with their albums 'Love Yourself: Answer' and 'Love Yourself: Tear', both in 2018.
Many fans cite these as the beginning of their love for the group, and that's not just because the music sounds good.
"We all found BTS when we needed them the most. I myself found them right when they were about to release their 'Love Yourself' series," said Lacey, who is part of BTS' international fanpage.
"I took that message, and told myself, I think it’s time i love myself," added Lacey. She also loves their songs 'You Never Walk Alone' and 'Spring Day' which is a tribute to Sewol ferry tragedy, in which 476 people were killed, most of them school students.
Many of the group's songs tread the same territory as Swiss psychologist Carl Jung's theory of the self, consciousness and ego, connecting with fans on a deeper level than just nice-sounding music. They also play as a commentary on the present South Korean society, and talk to the youth about the problems they face.
Fans religiously follow these theories along with the band's music. "With these theories, fans keep reading up and following for more," said another member of the ARMY.
"BTS has taught their fans how to love themselves, and have stopped many from harming themselves," added a fan who did not wish to be named.