BTS, K-Pop

K-Pop Is Now My Entire Personality

Remember back in May I said I was “catching up on the BTS phenomenon?” Right, I think I’ve caught up. Please don’t misunderstand – I still have seven albums to listen through and memorize as much as my little English-speaking brain can memorize, but I’m on the level. I’m 100% ARMY.

Within a fortnight of me discovering BTS for the first time, I bought every single one of their albums (hyper-fixation and disposable income can make a person do questionable things). I specifically chose to listen backwards by release date so that I could keep up with the present goings-on and simultaneously discover their roots.

It was important for me to solidly keep who they presently are as individuals, as performers, and as a group in the forefront of my mind. Who they are now is the most important. Where they came from is sort of like… flavor text. My intention is not to cheapen their earlier works, but frankly I wasn’t there for it and they’re not necessarily those people anymore. I love BTS as they are now, and it’s my job to learn about them as they were.

I started my cyclical time warp down BTS lane from the “Love Yourself” era (“Her” specifically). As a new stan, I was confused on the timeline, but saw through LY for the sake of consistency. I time traveled to MOTS and BE to catch up, as I was a little confused during Soowoozoo (oh, yeah, I was there for that) then back to LY: Persona to round out June.

It’s interesting to experience the “Permission to Dance” premier on YouTube in real-time, pre-order the “Butter” single, and track the Billboard Top-100 week over week while “Wings” (2016) plays in my car each day.

Additionally, I started watching “RUN BTS” at episode 1 while dodging as many 2021 RUN clips as possible (tiktok is a mine field). I’m putting off “In the Soop” for as long as possible as “I’m not caught up yet,” but I just purchased Festas 4 and 5 DVDs, and am waiting on “Memories of 2019” and “Memories of 2020” to come in the mail.

I consistently live in multiple BTS eras, on multiple platforms, via multiple media. While it’s all jumbled up to say the least, there’s almost no reason to keep things in a strict linear order. Apart from debut, Yoongi’s surgery, the eras/tours themselves, and what the boys are up to now, that’s all one really needs to know. I’m a history major – a blanket outline is more/less all you need when it comes to the world at large, too.

All this really goes to show is:
a. How ON these guys are literally ALL the time
b. How much they needed the pandemic simply to rest
c. How insanely different SK celebrity (“Idol”) culture is from US celebrity culture.

To casually say K-Pop changed my life feels disrespectful in so many ways, especially in the face of all the efforts put forth by BTS and ARMY. Ultimately, becoming an OT7 stan was the best (and potentially the most expensive) decision I’ve ever made.


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