“handPeople change, people change, everything changes. ” BTS leader RM sang “Change Pt. The record tackled the unpredictability of life and sought to navigate the natural and necessary part of our existence: transformation. Over the past decade, BTS have done much the same thing with their music, evolving with a wide range of sounds, adding and expanding their respective sonic identities, and looking back, a rich tapestry of musical adventures and musical cuts. is created. Curiosity.
It started with hip hop. The original idea of Big Hit Entertainment (currently HYBE) founder Bang Si-hyuk was to form a group centered around RM, a teenage rapper who was brightening up the Korean underground scene. Before BTS debuted, that vision morphed into a fusion of a hip-hop collective and an idol group, with three rappers and four of his singers, his seven-piece beginning his journey in June 2013. That’s the way it was. Their MO was clear on the first release. – “No More Dream” is a relentless song that addresses the pressures on young people to yearn for the dreams society says they should want us to have, from a good education to a decent job and beyond. .
Since the conception of the genre, hip-hop artists have shared their observations about their lives and the world they live in through music. BTS followed suit with their songs, using the “School” trilogy of 2013’s “2 Cool 4 Skool” and “O!RUL8,2?” and 2014’s “Skool Luv Affair” to Commented on issues affecting their generation. They have crushes on their schoolmates (“Boy In Luv”) and try to incite an uprising against the brutal pressure placed on them to seek education (“NO”).
Whatever sound BTS has dabbled in, that streak of social commentary isn’t too far off. You can hear it on “Go Go” in 2017. On the surface it’s a fun and frivolous song, but in reality it’s an analysis of the almost nihilistic hedonism of today’s youth, who throw money away because it doesn’t make sense to save it for the future. It also appeared on 2015’s “Baepsae”, where the concert was a disguised performance with a truckload of hip-thrusting, but in reality it was a critique of socio-economic inequalities and attitudes of older generations. rice field. “UGH!” from 2020’s Map Of The Soul: 7 focused on keyboard warriors spreading bile online. Even in their solo releases, these ratings are part of the group’s DNA, and Suga’s “Polar Night” is a tribute to the unnuanced ways we often consume the world and opinions that don’t align with our own. It is working.
As BTS’s popularity grew, so did the palette of styles they embraced. The 2014 album Dark & Wild marked their last full hip-hop record, and they’re broadening their horizons for the next era. “The Most Beautiful Moment In Life” pushes the vocal line to the fore and incorporates everything from EDM and alternative pop to indie and breezy R&B. In 2016, “Wings” further amplified its new sonic versatility, following in the footsteps of the “Love Yourself” trilogy, itself adding even more strings to BTS’s bow – jazzy flourish, Latin sounds, etc. Its path to eclecticism reflects the trajectory of music consumption in the digital age. Where once we dedicate ourselves to his one genre from a place of tribalism, we now embrace anything that touches our heartstrings.
In 2020, the world changed its axis, and so did BTS again. As the fear of the pandemic clouded the world, they set out to do what they do best: provide comfort and support during difficult times with music. To do so, they looked to a sound that could influence as many people as possible, big, glossy, euphoric pop and disco brilliance. “Dynamite” marked the beginning of what is now known as the English Trilogy, a pop anthem packed with escapist euphoria. Unsurprisingly, this helped them eventually score their first Billboard Hot 100 number one. This is what we threatened to achieve in a few releases. “Butter” and “Permission To Dance” followed (with a slightly somber album, BE, in between), followed by even brighter bullets of encouragement, hope and distraction as the situation continued.
Chapter 2 states that they will prioritize solo activities for the time being, but BTS continues to work on their evolution. That was evident from his first solo release, J-hope’s “Jack In The Box,” in which the rapper shunned the generally associated bubbly personality in favor of darker, shadowy sounds and ideas. I experimented. The key word here is experiment. Each solo release so far has felt like each member trying something new and pushing themselves outside of their comfort zones, freed from some of the pressures of BTS’ success. rice field. On “Set Me Free Pt.2,” Jimin employs an evocative Auto-Tune, far removed from the soft sweetness of Soundcloud releases, and similarly on RM’s “Indigo,” in the form of the folk song “Forg_tful.” It contained the unexpected.
Over the past decade, BTS have constantly evolved and moved on to new ideas, but never forgot what they did before. Instead, they’ve kept it part of themselves, tying their previous efforts into their DNA to create something that only they can imitate. “Yesterday I am still me,” RM said in a speech at the United Nations in 2018, a spirit that lives on in BTS’ music. As the seven members continue to create on their own, and at some point reunite, each new project could be reflected in what comes next. Perhaps by their 20th anniversary, we’ll be looking back at an even richer and more diverse back catalog. And an even stronger future will come too.