BTS: “Love Yourself”


Big Hit Entertainment

Daniel Hancock, Journalist

Korean pop is a foreign music genre that is quickly growing into a global phenomenon. It has been influenced by a variety of styles, ranging from Western pop to hip-hop, and electronic dance to Latin. Characterized by what Vox calls “addictive melodies, slick choreography and production values,” K-pop contains a dizzying number of bands and solo artists, music videos, and fandoms. But within it all, is BTS, one of the most successful K-pop groups of all time.

BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan) is a 7-member boy band composed of rappers RM (also the team leader), J-Hope, and Suga; and vocalists Jin, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. The septet debuted in 2013 with the single album 2Cool 4Skool. Since then they have produced five mini albums, three full-lengths, two special albums, and one repackaged album. Their music ranges from typical pop fare to hip-hop, R&B, EDM, and even ballads. BTS’ music videos display a blend of impeccable fashion sense, complimentary aesthetics, and expressively fluid yet rigid choreography.

Concerning the group’s fame, Forbes contributor Tamar Herman wrote that BTS is among “one of the most popular foreign teams to ever touch down in the States” and “the first and only Korean act to have a chart-topping album in the States.” The group has received numerous awards and nominations, among which are back to back Billboard Music’s Top Social Artist Award two years in a row, two iHeartRadio Music Awards, four Radio Disney Music Awards, and three Teen Choice Awards. 2018 albums Love Yourself: Tear and Love Yourself: Answer both debuted at #1 on the Stateside Billboard 200 chart, with the latter selling 860,000 copies in the first week. The group’s recent music video “Idol” received 45 million views in its first 24 hours.

Seeing that BTS is quite successful, the question that begs to be asked is why. The first answer would be the band’s fandom ARMY, one so large and passionate that it deserves a whole separate article. But beyond that, their claim to fame is driven by the meaningful messages they relay in their music, especially with their recent Love Yourself series. Composed of three parts—Her, Tear, and Answer—the Love Yourself series weaves through its deeply symbolic music videos and lyrics a narrative about learning to love yourself.


Love Yourself: Her

The album relates to the beginnings of love, particularly adolescent love. RM said that the album’s title track “DNA” concerns “the expression of a young, passionate love.” This is reflected in the song’s lyrics, in which a young lover declares his new-found love to be destiny.

At first sight, I could recognize you

As if we were calling for each other

The DNA in my blood vessels tell me

That it’s you I was looking all over for


Love Yourself: Tear

The album highlights the pains of a love that is beginning to die and a sense of loss from placing all one’s happiness upon it. In “Fake Love,” the lover realizes that the love he was experiencing was foolish and contrived, causing him to conclude that it was all a façade.

I wish love was perfect as love itself

I wish all my weaknesses could be hidden

I grew a flower that can’t be bloomed in a dream that can’t come true . . .

I’m so sick of this fake love, fake love, fake love

I’m so sorry but it’s fake love, fake love, fake love


Love Yourself: Answer

The trilogy concludes with the lover realizing that the only way to truly be happy is to learn to love yourself for who you are, rather than seeking validation from other people and things. The chorus of “Epiphany” says:

I’m the one I should love in this world

Shining me, precious soul of mine

I finally realized so I love me

Not so perfect but so beautiful

I’m the one I should love


With meaningful messages and high-quality performances, BTS is proving itself one of, if not the most, successful K-pop acts of all time. And beyond that, the group is showing the world that music has the power to transcend languages and cultures.




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