The popular K-pop band BTS released their new “Love Yourself: Answer” album on Fri, Aug. 24. This album contains an alternate version of the song, “IDOL,” which features the American rap icon, Nicki Minaj. On that same day, their music video for “IDOL” became the fastest music video to earn 10 million views on YouTube. This record was previously held by their music video for the song “Fake Love.” And on Aug. 12 they won two Teen Choice Awards. BTS’s fans, the ARMY, won for “Choice Fandom,” and BTS won for “Choice International Artist,” for the second year in a row.
With all of this in mind, I interviewed a connoisseur of all things K-pop, or “South Korean pop,” to discuss the genre and learn why fans adore these musicians. I spoke with my sister, Victoria Bell, who will be a high school senior in September. She started listening to K-pop back on May 1, 2016 and never looked back. She discovered K-pop through a Fine Bros. react video on YouTube and currently listens to about 15-20 different K-pop groups. Her top three favorites are BTS, Seventeen, and Monsta X. BTS and Monsta X have seven members each, while Seventeen has 13 members. All three of these groups only have male members.
This past year, I saw BTS’s appearance on Ellen and could not believe how loud the fans were screaming while BTS performed. BTS has over 16 million Twitter followers alone, so I asked more about this enthusiastic fan base.
“We are a unique fan base, because we spread unconditional positivity.” When asked if any fandoms have wars or tension, she responded “There has been less tension between fandoms because at the end of the day, we are all fans of K-pop.”
When asked what draws American fans toward international artists, Victoria feels that people are becoming more tolerant of other languages and cultures. She compared the rise of K-pop to the popularity of Japanese anime cartoons and feels that social media has facilitated the rise of global musicians.
One aspect that separates BTS, Monsta X, and Seventeen from their American counterparts is the professionalism and choreography. I’ve seen K-pop music videos and performances and can attest first-hand that their moves are unlike anything else. Victoria mentioned that this is a typical reaction to have, as Seventeen choreographs their own moves. Their motions are fluid, and they take advantage of all 13 members’ strengths. Also, K-pop bands tell a cohesive story through their lyrics and music videos. These plots are engrossing, with twists and turns along the way.
If you or someone you know wants to learn more about the entertaining world of K-pop, please visit Soompi.com, as this website contains various discussions and information on K-pop artists.