At the top of this week’s charts is “Dynamite” by Korean Pop Group BTS. The song is the 7-piece group’s first song fully in English and is nothing short of impressive. “Dynamite” is clearly Pop but has elements of disco that can make anyone want to groove along. The music video is full of color, 70s inspired outfits and funky dance numbers with moves that nod to Michael Jackson. All of these combined make a smash hit with strong radio and charting potential. I haven’t been able to stop replaying the song and video, and it seems like the rest of the world agrees. The music video’s premiere broke the record for the most views in 24 hours with over 101.1 million, and it’s still climbing.
If you haven’t heard of BTS before, I recommend giving this song a listen. Throughout their seven-year career, the group has managed to break records worldwide with songs like “DNA,” “Boy With Luv,” and “Fake Love,” despite being based in South Korea. However, based on the response after only a week, I am sure “Dynamite” is going to make history. I’ve been hesitant to listen to their music due to the language barrier, but “Dynamite” had me hooked before the first chorus. Every lyric or rap is delivered in a way that makes it seem like BTS has been making music in English for years. Whether it’s the nostalgic instrumental track, upbeat lyrics, or the bright visuals, “Dynamite” brings some much-needed energy and hope to any listener after a tough 2020.
“Entrepreneur” by Pharrell featuring Jay-Z is also at the top of the week’s releases. A clip of a man saying “you want to be let out of here, you’re welcome to go,” is looped throughout the song. This has become one of Pharrell’s trademarks when producing, given the similar style of the snippets in the background of “The Light Is Coming,” by Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj, and “Lemon” by Rihanna and N.E.R.D. Trumpets accompany the last refrain along with Jay-Z and Pharrel ad-libbing and the repeated chanting of “black man,” creating a powerful combination of sounds.
The song was dropped along with Time magazine’s cover project, “The New American Revolution,” which Williams helped create. The aim of this project is to “examine America’s oppressive past-and the potential for an equitable future,” and it’s clear he had the same intentions for “Entrepreneur.” Even without paying close attention to the lyrics, it’s easy to figure out the message. “Black man, black man, black man” essentially makes up the chorus. In an interview with Time, Pharrell notes that the goal was to highlight how challenging it is to become an entrepreneur in America, even more so as a person of color. The video is just as impactful, showcasing various Black entrepreneurs of all ages overcoming barriers to make their passion projects a reality. “Entrepreneur” is both inspiring and educational, and caused me to reevaluate what systems I may unconsciously take part in that prevent Black people from accomplishing their dreams the same way I would.
If you couldn’t get enough of last week’s K-pop release, you’re in for a treat (literally). On August 28, K-pop girl group Blackpink released their collaboration with Selena Gomez entitled “Ice Cream.” The song was co-written by Ariana Grande, along with Victoria Monét and Tommy Brown, who both had a heavy influence in producing and writing "Thank U, Next." This will be the group’s second single from their debut album Blackpink: The Album, scheduled to release October 2nd. Based on the massive positive response to the first single “How You Like That,” the release of “Ice Cream” will capture the attention of listeners across the world, and set new records for the group.
Dua Lipa will also be releasing Club Future Nostalgia, a remix of her second album Future Nostalgia which was released earlier this year. The project was born out of a collaboration with DJ the Blessed Madonna, with the goal of creating songs that could make a listener feel like they are at a club, despite what 2020’s pandemic had planned. It features Gwen Stefani, Madonna, Missy Elliot, and more. Reviews indicate that this mixtape only amplifies the original album’s disco-pop influences.
The MTV Video Music Awards premiered Sunday, August 30. Highly anticipated performances by Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, BTS, Doja Cat, and The Weeknd, among others, made the show memorable even in a pandemic. A majority of the performances are at outdoor venues with little to no live audience. Fans have tirelessly voted for their favorite artists to win awards such as Song of the Summer, Best Group, and Video, Artist, and Song of the Year. You can watch the Video Music Awards on MTV and MTV.com.