K-pop stars BTS tackle interesting kind of challenge with first all-English song Dynamite – USA TODAY
Written by on August 19, 2020
BTS continues to surprise us, hitting the world with another first: A song that’s sang fully in English.
While the K-pop group, comprised of RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, V, Jimin and Jungkook has dropped some English lyrics in their songs before, “Dynamite” (out Aug. 21) will be the first song performed completely in English.
BTS is familiar with breaking new ground. The septet, which launched in 2013 with the song “No More Dream” from debut album “2 Cool 4 Skool,” were the first K-pop group to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 200 in 2018. Their 2019 album “Map of the Soul: Persona” topped the Nielsen charts in physical sales for the year and they performed at the 2020 Grammys with Lil Nas X. In their seven years, they’ve put out more than a dozen albums and EPs.
The most difficult part of making “Dynamite” was stepping out of the comforts of singing in Korean and getting the English pronunciations down, the group tells USA TODAY via an interpreter.
“It was more not hard, but interesting. It was an interesting kind of challenge,” Jungkook says, with RM noting that it was a “fun hard.”
Though BTS told Entertainment Weekly in 2019 that they didn’t plan to sing in English because they didn’t want to change their “identity” or “genuineness,” no one planned on a global pandemic either. Things change.
“This is a situation that everybody else around the world is facing, so we just started to explore what can we do right now, what can we do really good?” Suga says of “Dynamite.”
Creating the song was “like destiny,” RM says. “Who would ever think of this pandemic? No meeting, no karaoke, no concerts? Even no walking in the park. So we never expected this song would come fully in English. During the process of making our album … it just came to us.”
BTS has an incredible international following, with a legion of fans who call themselves Army. But the group has been largely overlooked when it comes to air time on U.S. radio stations because their songs are in Korean. “Dynamite” could propel them to a No. 1 hit if it gets picked up by American radio stations.
Will it be their last English song? Though they don’t have plans to release another, “don’t not look forward to it,” V says.
Like much of the world, the pandemic has taken a toll on the BTS members’ personal lives. They’re not able to do the things they loved pre-pandemic like concerts and karaoke, but they’re trying to do the best under the circumstances.
“We’re in this situation that we have, what is it that can lift me up?” J-Hope says. “The conclusion is always going to be music and dance that lifts me up so I’ve been trying to listen to music, I’ve been to write music, dance and that’s what I’ve been doing to cope with the situation.”
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BTS remains booked and busy. The group is releasing its second album of 2020 after dropping “Map of the Soul: 7” in February. They will perform during MTV’s Video Music Awards on Aug. 30. They’re releasing a movie, “Break the Silence: The Movie” in September. In October, they’ll perform their first concert since postponing their “Map of the Soul World Tour” in April. The “Map of the Soul ON:E” concert will be held in South Korea in person and streamed online on Oct. 11 and 12, though venue details are yet to be announced.
Through all 2020 has put us through, BTS wants their fans to remember one thing: You’re not alone.
“I think it’s hard to say someone has it harder or someone has it less harder, but I think it’s a time for us to really bring ourselves together, pull our strings together and sort of encourage everyone and overcome these difficulties together,” Jimin says.