After Taking America By Storm, Where is BTS Now?

The last time BTS was in America, they were performing at the American Music Awards in November 2017. At the tail-end of their world tour, The Wings Tour, and after the drop of the then new album “Love Yourself: Her”, BTS performed in front around 7,000 people their title song, “DNA.” 

The hype leading up to the performance was undeniable. BTS had been interviewed by several different news channels, featured on radio shows, and even a few talk shows including The Late Late Show with James Corden and The Ellen Degeneres Show. As the second to last performance of the night, BTS’s American debut was a smash hit. Countless new fans took to Twitter and Instagram asking who these boys were, marveling over their good looks, sharp moves and impressive vocals. 

After a huge success, BTS then returned to Seoul to finish up the last leg of their tour. After appearing on Korean music award shows typically hosted at the end of the year, BTS won several awards, including four Daesangs, or Grand Prizes. It was the second year in a row that BTS won those respected awards and it seemed that BTS was finally recognized as superstars. It was an amazing year of accomplishments for BTS, both in America and Korea. 

Then in typical kpop fashion, BTS disappeared. When not appearing on shows to promote comebacks (kpop lingo for new albums or EPs), kpop stars take the time to rest and recharge. Essentially, they go into hiding. During this time, they spend time with family, hang out with friends, write new songs, and prepare for the next comeback. BTS, more than other groups, are especially quiet during these times. 

However, Big Hit Entertainment keeps fans, called the ARMY, well supplied with content throughout the band's hiatus. On the popular V Live app, BTS released previously recorded videos of them doing a variety of activities like playing video games, going to a horror park, and cooking on their series Run BTS!. The artists themselves occasionally update the Twitter account, of them vacationing or visiting family. Big Hit also continued to release Bangtan Bombs, videos that show snippets of BTS backstage, on their Youtube channel. 

There was also still a small stream of new music. J-Hope released his highly anticipated mix-tape for free, titled Hope World, with the wonderful title song “Daydream” on March 1st, 2018. J-Hope had been talking about the mix-tape for a while, and as the time got closer the other members continued to hype up and support the mix-tape. It did not disappoint and the ARMY fervently streamed the “Daydream” music video, garnering up to around 52,000,000 views. J-Hope’s mix-tape even rose to #38 on the Billboard 200 list and #1 on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart. 

After that, Jungkook surprised fans with a cover of Roy Kim’s “Only Then.” Their behind-the-scenes show “Burn the Stage” began airing exclusively on Youtube Red. Filmed and produced by Big Hit Entertainment, it followed BTS on their The Wings Tour: detailing their struggles, incidents, and even fights during the course of the tour. 

On April 4th, 2018 BTS released their third Japanese album named Face Yourself, with three original Japanese songs, one of which “Don’t Leave Me” was featured on a Japanese drama. The album debuted at #43 on the Billboard 200 list and #1 on Billboard’s World Album chart. 

The next day, BTS quietly dropped a video called “BTS ‘Euphoria: Theme of LOVE YOURSELF Wonder.’” The first few minutes play Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” as the scenes reference other videos BTS had released as part of their The Most Beautiful Moment In Life trilogy. Halfway through Jungkook’s voice enters, the colors spring vibrantly alive and the boys playfully interact in front of the camera. For the first time since before their debut, all of them have black hair. It makes them look younger and nearly indistinguishable from each other, most likely a intentional creative decision. 

Since only Jungkook sings the entire video, and the video’s name was conjectured to be the name of the next album in the Love Yourself series, the ARMY quickly figured out this was the intro song. The intro is a tradition of BTS’s albums, always sung or rapped by a single member to introduce and encompass the main theme of the album or EP. 

Starting April 18th, preorders of the new album Love Yourself: Tear have become available, and the album will be released on May 18. On the same day as the preorders, BTS was nominated for the second year in the row for the Billboard Top Social Artist Award. To the great surprise of everyone, BTS was revealed as a performer at the Billboard Music Awards on May 20. Even better, it would double as their comeback stage, albeit on a world stage. 

In the kpop industry, comeback stages are incredibly important. The comeback stage is the first time a group performs the title song of their new album, along with its carefully choreographed dance. The comeback stage is a culmination of all the hard work and time a kpop group has spent the last few months silently preparing. To have their comeback stage not on a Korean music show, but on an internationally recognized stage like the Billboard, is impressive indeed. 

Further ingraining their success, BTS announced another world tour, beginning in Seoul, stopping by several North American cities, and even including some tour spots in Europe. The excitement for the new album is already raging through social media. 

BTS continues to break into the American market and Western music industry, and no doubt this upcoming comeback will break more records. That is not to say they are not facing a fair amount of discrimination, coming out of kpop industry known for its mechanic, factory-like quality. However, BTS will surely not disappoint, known to always dedicate an immense amount of energy, hard work and time into creating new music and perfecting their choreography. The only question is, is the world ready for BTS to comeback again?