With their latest release, Dynamite, BTS has made history as the first South Korean band to release a song with entirely English lyrics. Was this something they always planned?

This uplifting song is teamed with a pop pastel music video that already has over 250 million views on YouTube. This was the biggest 24-hour debut of all time on YouTube, enticing everyone to get hooked on this new catchy tune. Their fan base, #ARMY, are loyal, so would naturally love this new hit, but even new comers have been blasting this summer tune around the world in part to the universal English lyrics.

BTS are blazing the way for others

BTS have been vital trail blazers for all non-Western musicians and bands. This group’s fan base has demonstrated that non-English lyrics can be just as much a hit as that of One Direction were back in the day. Forbes said that “To deny their status as one of the biggest artists in the world at this point would be an act of wilful ignorance.” Particularly with Dynamite, there is no way this status can be ignored any longer as BTS continues to smash records.

Topping the charts in the US has also shown that BTS are no newcomers to success in the Western industry of music. Among the likes of Cardi B and Drake, BTS have held their own, reaching the very peak of popularity in the US. But ultimately, the band has had to work twice as hard to get their big break in the US. This is particularly the case as no one else has ever done it before and their use of Korean dominated lyrics.

Being this breakthrough band has helped many other rising stars also be recognised. Now that such a huge band has made it without the need for English lyrics, until now, this has allowed other Asian artists to also increase in popularity. Therefore, they have established a vital niche in the market and allowed non-Western artists to move up the charts just as any other US or UK artists could expect to with a new hit.

Photo by JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images

Did BTS always intend to use majority English lyrics?

But now that they have their first song with entirely English lyrics, will this continue? Last year in an interview for Entertainment Weekly, the members of BTS discussed why they’ve chosen to remain true to their K-pop roots instead of looking to cross over with an English hit. RM, who is the most fluent in English out of the seven members, said, “We don’t want to change our identity or our genuineness to get the number one. Like if we sing suddenly in full English, and change all these other things, then that’s not BTS. We’ll do everything, we’ll try. But if we couldn’t get number one or number five, that’s okay.

“What’s important for us is just to make good music and good performances and have those elements come together,” added rapper Suga. This shows how BTS has allowed their band to adapt throughout their career. Despite staying strong to their roots of Korean language and culture, they have allowed themselves to evolve into using English song titles and phrases in their songs.

However, their interview from only one year ago does show the commercial efforts of the management behind BTS. Like many businesses, the prime focus is money-spinning, and BTS is no different. Estimated to be worth over $60 million, BTS are cashing in on their fan base and take on their opinions to promote further success.

Will it last?

It is hard to say whether Dynamite is the start of a new phase of English songs from BTS or if it will be a one-off. But after the success of Dynamite, BTS and their management will be sure to listen to the many new fans they have gained through this English language hit. With an aim of creating good music maybe English lyrics are the way forward? Only time with tell.

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