I feel, before I begin recapping “Burn the Stage”, I should do a little intro to answer questions like: Who is BTS? Why are they so popular? What does OT7 mean? What is a “bias” and what does “bias wrecker” mean? Who is Army? Should you even care?
Who is BTS?
They are currently the biggest music group in the whole goddamn world. At least I think so. I’m pretty sure. All I know for sure is that they are selling out stadiums that seat 90,000+ in a matter of minutes. That they are also a Kpop group–that is to say a music group from South Korea whose lyrics are mostly sung in Korean–makes their success even more astounding, because they are a first. No band, that I am aware of, that mostly sings in a language that is foreign to most of their listeners, has ever made it as big as BTS. And man, have they taken their xenophobic lumps along the way. (I’d love to get into that, but for now I am just going to focus on recapping the movie “Burn the Stage” to keep it as simple as possible.)
The group is comprised of seven members described below. All song selections are just my personal taste as a new fan. They’ve got so much more stuff I am working my way through.
Kim Namjoon/stage name RM: Main rapper and leader of the group.
According to Kpoprofiles.com, the leader’s role is to “motivate and take care of the other members, and to represent them in various ways – like talking on the stage/ awards festivities, etc. Also, he’s supposed to be mature and charismatic and be able to gain the respect of the other members in the band.”
Namjoon is fluent in English (he taught himself the language watching the American TV show “Friends”) and has a genius IQ of 148. He is the spokesperson and translator (if none is offered) for the group when they are interviewed in English speaking countries. He can be pretty strict as BTS’ leader as he tends to keep a sharp eye on his fellow members at award shows and during interviews so they don’t get too silly or say something inappropriate.
RM also writes and produces many of the songs the band records. He is an excellent lyricist and rapper. Also, dimples. And gorgeous legs. I had to add that. I have never seen such nice looking legs on a man. That is not something I usually pay attention to. It’s objectifying I know, but how fair is it to ignore such a great attribute?
Check out RM’s verse in the great great great rap song “DDAENG” where he plays on the double D of the romanized spelling of the song title. Or, watch him do his thing with this clip of him rapping in “Look Here”.
Min Yoongi/stage name Suga: Lead rapper.
He’s a really excellent rapper, song writer and producer for the group. He’s kind of a tough guy. He taught himself how to play the piano starting when he was very young as well as how to read and write music. I don’t know a whole lot about Suga though I love his speed and flow when he raps as well as his lyrics.
Jung Hoseok/stage name J-Hope: Lead rapper and main dancer.
Am-aaaa-zzzz-iiiing dancer. Always so clean and perfect. He blows me away. He has a scraggly kind of voice that he uses to good effect when he raps, but he has a really good singing voice, too. He’s kind of boppy and upbeat most of the time despite what this picture suggests. That’s kind of the role his company put him in–to be the upbeat-happy-all-the-time-one.
Check out J-Hope rapping/joking about stealing RM’s girl in “Converse High.”
Kim Seokjin/Jin: Vocalist and visual.
Good singer and as the “visual” of the group, he is considered the one that most meets Korea’s beauty ideal. In fact, he was recruited by a talent agent because of his looks. He was interested in an acting career before he became a trainee at Big Hit/Hybe (the company BTS is signed to.) He likes to joke around about how good-looking he is a lot. He calls himself “World Wide Handsome.”
He is the eldest Hyung of the group. “Hyung is a word used by Korean males to address another male older than them who they are close to.” (source: the internet) So he’s older than Namjoon even though Namjoon is the leader. That kind of gives him ultimate authority within the group, but he’s laid back about it. He’s not a bossy guy.
Check out the excellent song “Tonight.”
Kim Taehyung/stage name V: Vocalist.
Really really good singer and dancer. And partly because of his great looks, he is very popular with the fans. I don’t know a whole lot about V other than he grew up on a farm and that he is a huge fan of jazz music, especially from the 50’s and 60’s. One of the things that I like about him is that he seems to have a great sense of humor. He’s got this cool and sexy vibe, but he doesn’t take himself too seriously.
Check out the jazzy, slow tempo, killer song “Singularity.”
Jeon Jungkook/stage name JK: Main vocalist, lead dancer, sub-rapper, Center/Face of the group and Maknae.
Maknae means the youngest of the group. Jungkook was only 15 years old when he joined BTS so he has really grown up on stage. He is passionate about what he does (as they all are) and is an excellent dancer and singer as well as being a really good rapper. Also? Very pretty! Seriously, the camera loves this guy. As the center/face/ lead singer of the group, he is known for being very popular with fans.
Park Jimin/Jimin: Vocalist and main dancer.
Another aaaaa-maaaaa-zzzzing dancer. So incredibly smooth. His style is different than J-hope’s, but it’s so so good. He is a great singer known for his head voice–a really strong and stable falsetto. He’s also known for appealing to pretty much everybody, no matter sex or sexual orientation. He is just naturally seductive and charming. Some fans call it The Jimin Effect.
Check out the very calming and awesome “Serendipity .”
Why are they so popular?
BTS really broke out in a big way around 2018. I think? Honestly, I am so new to being a fan of this group and Kpop in general that there is a lot I don’t entirely know for sure. Like, what date can you point to and say, that is when BTS became hugely popular? I do know BTS has great rappers who can really sing, great singers who can really rap and all of them dance their asses off. Seriously, these guys go hard as fuck when they perform.
BTS’ sound is really diverse as well. They debuted in 2013 so that’s eight years worth of work to sort through. There really is pretty much something for everyone in their music catalog. Overall, I would say their popularity comes down to– in no particular order– increasing world-wide interest in the South Korean music scene, talent, diversity of sound and work ethic. And charm. Because yeah, they are really charming too.
I first became aware of BTS when I saw them on Saturday Night Live in 2019. They performed “Boy with Luv” which is a fun pop song that puts you in a good mood. For their second song of the night, they went 180 degrees in a different direction and did “Mic Drop.” This song is mostly rapped. Both links take you to the SNL performances and if you haven’t seen them I suggest checking them out. They did really well despite the tiny stage they were performing on.
What is OT7, bias and bias wrecker mean?
OT7 means “One True 7.” So, as a fan you love all seven members equally and can’t choose a favorite. Like me, because I don’t have a favorite (RMMM.)
A “bias” is the one member of the band you stan above all others (RMMM.)
“Bias wrecker” is the one that makes you question your bias (it’s still RMMM.)
These terms don’t only apply to BTS, they are just general Kpop terminology that I had to google to find out what they meant. I guess, for example, I am OT4 when it comes to BlackPink, because I like all of those girls equally.
Is any of this important to know to enjoy Kpop in general or BTS in particular? Naw, of course not, but since I will probably be using these terms in my recaps I thought I’d explain what they meant for anyone who may not know.
Who is Army?
Army is the name BTS gave to their fans. Why Army? It relates to what BTS stands for “Bangtan Sonyeondan” which roughly translates to “Bulletproof Boy Scouts.” Okay, I don’t really get the connection and this whole issue of what BTS means is far more complicated than I care to get into. All you really need to know is that their fan base is called Army. And they are terrifying.
There is just no way to be a casual fan of BTS. I am speaking from my own experience as a new fan. All in or fold. There is no in-between. Plus Army is a massive group of people so imagine the diversity. Not to mention the variance of ages. So, there are all kinds. Some are just nuts in their intensity and protectiveness. To be fair, I am yet to hear of any really popular musical artist or group that doesn’t have an obnoxious fan base. Why should BTS be any different?
Should you care?
Fuck, yes. This band is historic. That’s at least worth checking out a little.