As BTS has declared a temporary suspension of their group activities, various interpretations are pouring out.
On the afternoon of Jun 14th, BTS announced that they will start individual activities for the time being, saying that they will organize their own chapters in the “Real BTS Dinner” content released on BTS’ YouTube channel “BANGTANTV“.
BTS debuted in 2013 and established themselves as a global supergroup. The group has topped the U.S. Billboard’s main album chart “Billboard 200” five times, and on the main single chart “Hot 100,” BTS has topped the chart with six songs, including collaborations. They were even nominated for the Grammy Awards, the most prestigious popular music award in the United States, for two consecutive years, and recently was invited to the White House to meet the U.S. President Joe Biden.
Unlike other K-pop idols who actively combine their solo with group activities, BTS have been focusing on group-oriented activities, which is why attention are inevitably on their future moves starting from this change.
In fact, some music officials said that the title track “Yet To Come” (The Most Beautiful Moment) of the recently released anthology album “Proof” seemed to contain the nuances of middle-aged singers after a long career.
“Yet to Come” is a song that compressed BTS’s idealogy, which is to look back on the past in reality but also to gather at the starting line and herald a new start once a gain, into the lyrics of “The best moment is yet to come.”
“Yet to Come” was written and composed by RM, Suga, and J-Hope, the team’s rapper line, and producer Pdogg, who has been with BTS since the early days. American singer-songwriter MAX, who has a good sense of melody, also joined in the process.
Kim Do-heon, a popular music critic (KMA selection committee member) who runs the platform “Generate” that delivers music news, news, and reviews, said about “Yet To Come,” “It’s a song that wraps up a chapter of BTS which has been going on since their debut, and the lyrics contain how they hold their breath to move on to the next stage and expectations for the future, how “The best moment has not yet come.” With such lyrics, they also thank ARMY for waiting for them and making them the superstar today.
The 4th full album “Map of the Soul: 7” was actually the last of BTS’ Chapter 1. RM explained, “I heard a lot of people saying, “Why are you releasing an anthology album on the 9th anniversary?” Originally, the first act (of BTS) was until the title track “ON” of the 4th full album “Map of the Soul: 7,” which was released in February 2020.”
They said they planned to finish one chapter of BTS and open another chapter by visiting countries they had never been to before, such as Australia and India.
However, the unexpected pandemic changed their direction. English songs such as “Dynamite,” “Butter,” and “Permission to Dance,” which were released amid the pandemic situation after their 4th album, topped Billboard’s main single chart ‘Hot 100’, contributing greatly to BTS’s rise to the ranks of global supergroups.
However, ‘Bubble Gum Pop’ (a popular music genre targeting teenagers) was not the goal of the BTS members. In fact, BTS debuted as a hip-hop-based team in 2013. They have been focusing on the stories they want to tell in their songs. However, there were opinions from the music industry that their focus has shifted to popularity, starting with ‘Dynamite’.
RM also explained in the live broadcast, “What kind of story and what kind of message we send out is important. But that’s gone. I don’t know what to talk about.”
It is true that some early fans of BTS’ fandom ARMY have expressed regret over BTS’s change during the pandemic as they missed seeing the members dance in sync to powerful beats of songs like “Boy In Luv” and “Fire.”
K-pop’s structural system, which requires constantly making music and filming entertainment contents, also exhausted BTS members. Throughout the last 9 years of their activities, BTS members have only gone on a long vacation twice.
RM confessed that he thought a lot about the K-pop system. When BTS released “Dynamite”,”Butter” and “Permission to Dance” one after another, he thought, “I didn’t know what kind of team we were. K-pop and the idol system itself doesn’t allow people to mature. After 10 years of being BTS, I couldn’t get used to it.”
With the temporary suspension of group activities, BTS also put an end to their dorm life. As the members were living together for a long time, they decided that it is better to keep a physical distance and respect each other’s privacy by living separately now.
RM said, “I want to be with BTS for a long time, and I think I have to stay myself if I want to do it for a long time. Because I’m not BTS. There are so many things I want to say, but I’m always sorry that I can’t be honest with them all.”
Now, the members will start individual activities for the time being. Until now, BTS has mainly been active as a full group. Solo activities were limited to releasing mixtapes. From now on, they announced that they will release their own official solo albums. BTS will be the first player in this full-fledged solo system.
BTS members also reassured fans that they would continue filming as a group for their own content, the variety show “Run BTS”.
The decision to go on a temporary hiatus from group activities seems to have taken into account BTS members’ enlistment in the military. Unless the special military service exemption system is reorganized, Jin, the oldest member of BTS, will have to enlist within this year. The industry expects them to serve in the military as scheduled. Some predicted that the members would enlist as a group, while some believed that they may have turned to individual activities due to sequential enlistment.