International K-Pop boy band BTS made it big, breaking stereotypes in the Korean pop industry, and singing songs about the real issues plaguing the youth in the 21st-century society.
Now, the K-Pop group met US President Joe Biden at the White House. This high-profile international visit comes after their last performance at the UN headquarters in New York in 2021.
It was great to meet with you, @bts_bighit. Thanks for all you’re doing to raise awareness around the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes and discrimination.— President Biden (@POTUS) June 1, 2022
I look forward to sharing more of our conversation soon. pic.twitter.com/LnczTpT2aL
The boy band discussed several issues with the US President including hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans in recent years. The BTS members also addressed the press after the meeting. However, the meeting was a closed-door event.
Tune in for a briefing by Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre featuring BTS. https://t.co/QGhOALWQgr— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 31, 2022
BTS making a social statement is not new. In fact, most of their songs have been a reflection or criticism of society at large. While their songs may be based on the Korean society, the concept is usually relatable to the youth around the world.
Here is our pick of the 5 best, socially aware songs by BTS:
1. GO GO
Perhaps this is the most popular socially aware song of BTS. Go Go talks about consumerism, the YOLO culture of the current youth and spending more money that they can afford. Pretty sure it’s a concept a lot of us can relate to.
“There's no tomorrow
There's already a mortgage on my future (Mortgage)
Ooh, spending my money even more
Friends, what's up?
Do you want some? (Want some?).”
2. AGUST D – THE LAST
This is BTS member Suga’s solo song that talks about mental health. K-Pop songs don’t usually talk about mental illnesses, choosing instead to focus on non-social or political issues. Besides that, K-Pop is an industry that is rife with exploitation, mental illness, and stigma associated with it. The one too many K-Pop idol suicides indicate these issues.
Agust D- The Last talks explicitly about depression.
“On the other side of the famous idol rapper
Stands my weak self, it’s a bit dangerous
They keep coming back again from time to time.”
BTS has made it no secret that their rise to international fame was not easy. While the task is not easy for any K-pop debut group, for BTS it was especially difficult as they belonged to a lesser-known entertainment group Big Hit as opposed to popular names like SM Entertainment, JYP and YG. There are several stories of Korean variety show hosts mistreating the group members when they were on the shows.
So, the song Dope talks about the hard work they had to put in and also takes a dig at the elders who wrote them off as useless.
“The media and adults say we don’t have willpower, condemning us like stocks
Why are they killing us before we can even try...”
4. SPINE BREAKER
“You whined and complained to get it, did I strike a nerve?
In your padded jacket, your greed fills it up
Even after seeing your parents’ curved spines, you’re so coldhearted.”
One of the earliest songs by BTS is Spine Breaker from the album Skool Luv Affair. At the time, the boy band singing to its school-going audience, spoke about kids demanding expensive things from their parents just to be on-trend.
It is very different from usual pop songs (be it in India or elsewhere) that are often seeped in showing off luxury products.
5. COULD YOU TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE?
“Could you turn off your cell phone? Everyone says it's smart; But we're all getting dumber”
These are the lyrics (translated into English) of the song Could you turn off your cell phone.
For the young and the old in the current generation, it is a song that is very relatable.
While all these songs were performed by the BTS members, we need to note that not all of them may have been written by the members.
Which is your favourite BTS song that spoke to your youth?