It’s impossible to deny that BTS has taken the world by storm in 2020. The K-pop group is everywhere, especially after the massive success of the song “Dynamite.” While their popularity grew — and continues to grow — on social media, this year saw them in even more legacy media outlets, like a recent cover story story on WSJ. Magazine, and another on Rolling Stone India. They’re on your Twitter feed, but also on TV, radio, phone cases, and tote bags. And yet despite all this, I — a 19-year-old college student — know virtually nothing about the world’s biggest band. At least not as much as I should.
Apart from “Dynamite,” I’ve casually listened to their other hits like “Fake Love,” and “Boy With Luv,” but ahead of the Friday release of their new album BE, I thought it’s time to do more than that. And who better to guide be through it than BTS fans? So I reached out to some of my ARMY friends — some longtime fans, some new — and asked them how they got into BTS, why I should become a fan, and where to even start.
ARMY for less than a year.
I got into BTS for the first time two years ago but I was only a casual fan then. I would listen to their music once in a while and binge their interviews and videos before getting bored and moving on. But I fell back into the BTS hole again at the beginning of quarantine, when COVID-19 hit. I found myself becoming more and more invested and wanting to learn more about them. Soon enough, I was listening to their music on a daily basis, watching their content religiously, and actively keeping up with them on social media.
You should listen to them because their discography is so diverse. They cover so many important topics in their music including mental health, self-love, acceptance, and societal issues.
They aren't afraid to take risks with their music. They also provide so much content for their fans, whether it be livestreams, variety shows, behind the scenes videos, or dance practices — there is always something to look forward to.
Overall, there is so much personality and individuality that exists within the group. It's hard not to be charmed by them, even if you aren't a stan.
ARMY for six years
One thing I love about BTS is how they are very open about their opinions on a lot of societal issues, which is not super common in the K-pop scene, in my opinion. For example, their debut track, “No More Dream” discussed the issue of putting academic pressure on kids to a point where they feel like they can't accomplish their own dreams and are only allowed to follow instructions. Their music feels like they're holding your hand while walking this journey of life with you.
ARMY for a year
I really like them because they are like my safe place. I know it may seem dumb but member Jimin once said, “there’s someone in Seoul who understands you,” and that just made me feel like I’m not alone.
Their songs are like a light in the dark and they’re really big on the message of self-love.
I feel like everyone should give them a shot even if they don’t know Korean because you can feel how they mean every single word they say. They are not just spreading this message of self-love. They live by it.
ARMY for a few months
I was first introduced to BTS when I was 13 and I really liked their stuff. But it was kind of a little guilty secret I had. There was this negative connotation and stigma around stanning K-pop bands back then.
Being a girl who had a lot of internalized misogyny, I didn’t want to be like other girls, so I didn’t fully get into them. But coming back to them this year has been really freeing for me.
Honestly, if you want to look at why you should stan them, take a look at their live shows. The dedication and hard work they put in is already very respectable. They’re also really talented and humble people. Watch their crack videos on YouTube and they’re guaranteed to make you laugh even if you’re not a stan.
ARMY for five years
Just give them a try! They have different sounds so there will definitely be a style that suits your taste in music. A lot of their songs helped me get through hard times because the lyrics are super relatable. Their hard work and drive also push me to work hard. So they’re kind of like my role models. Through them, I’ve learned the value of working hard for what I want.
ARMY for six years
I love that BTS isn’t afraid to be vulnerable and honest. From time to time, they also open up about things that might be taboo, like mental health. It really makes me feel seen and think, "hey, they feel like this too from time to time. It’s OK."
Listening to BTS feels like a friend you never had. They're always there to hype you up, make you feel badass, make you feel happy, and also comfort you.
At the end of the day, music is music, if it’s good, then it’s good. It's just a great thing that on top of producing great music, BTS members are also the most humble and funniest people.
Interviews were edited for length and clarity.