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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Explained: Dissecting the success of BTS’s new English hit song Dynamite

BTS Dynamite Youtube record: In the seven years since their debut, 'Dynamite' is the group's first entirely English language single. Their previous music, commonplace in K-pop, has been a mix of Korean and English.

Written by Neha Banka , Edited by Explained Desk | Kolkata | Updated: September 13, 2020 11:25:42 am
Korean pop group BTS new song, dynamite bts song, korean pop,'Dynamite' has a retro vibe, reminiscent in everything from its peppy tunes to the music video's set design saturated with ice cream and candy colours.

This Friday, Korean pop group BTS released a surprise single ‘Dynamite’, weeks before its planned album release later this year. As with most things pertaining to the group, it didn’t take long for the single to top charts worldwide, as well as breaking records to become YouTube’s most-viewed video in 24 hours.

What sets Dynamite apart?

In the seven years since their debut, ‘Dynamite’ is the group’s first entirely English language single. Their previous music, commonplace in K-pop, has been a mix of Korean and English. In a recent interview, The Korea Herald reported BTS’ leader RM saying that the group hadn’t specifically planned on creating a song only in English, but later decided to do so.

“But while recording for our upcoming album, we thought this track’s energy was so fun and fitting, and considering the ongoing situation around the world, we wanted to enjoy it as quickly as possible with as many people as possible,” The Korea Herald reported RM saying.

Approximately six months ago, BTS had released their fourth studio album, ‘Map of Soul: 7’. The group is also set to premiere this new single at an upcoming performance at the 2020 MTV Video Music Awards on August 30.

What did BTS have to say about their single?

‘Dynamite’ has a retro vibe, reminiscent in everything from its peppy tunes to the music video’s set design saturated with ice cream and candy colours. At a virtual press conference, the group’s members spoke about some aspects of their latest single.

“Considering the track’s melody and vibe, because it was so fun and cheerful, we thought it would be very fitting,” V said. In addition to the music and composition of this single, the set design serves as a collection of eastern eggs for the group’s most ardent fans who will meticulously peruse every frame to check for symbolic visual cues.

In their press conference, group member Jimin specifically indicated that V had taken up the responsibility of visual direction for this song. For instance, the name of the song ‘Dynamite’ is a recurring visual motif throughout the 3:43-second song, whether in the form of an aspect of a decorative sign to being used as a label for an ice-cream truck.

The Korea Herald reported that the group also acknowledged the coronavirus pandemic, indicating that it was one of the reasons behind their decision to release the single in the virtual press conference. “Everyone, not just us, is having a hard time. The reason we are releasing a song that wasn‘t a part of our plan was because of this crisis,” said V.

“Through this period, we again have reaffirmed our love for music. But most importantly, we realized the importance of people who listen to our music. We need them to do music. We sincerely hope “Dynamite” will deliver them the strength needed.”

Group member Jin said: “Through this song, we wanted to say, this time is difficult but let’s overcome this together. And we wanted to deliver that through singing and dancing, which is what we do best. We also wanted to show a new side of us, and hope everyone around the world gets a lot of strength from it.”

“The pandemic was unexpected and we keep saying this, but we felt angry and didn’t know what to do,” RM added. “Once some time has passed, however, we began to realize while the virus may have put a temporary stop in our activity, it gave us time and opportunity to think about our music and attempt something new and different.”

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Why is ‘Dynamite’ unique?

Over the past seven years since their debut, the group has consistently emphasised on and acknowledged their fans, particularly their international fans, who have assisted in propelling the group to unprecedented stardom for a Korean pop group.

In many ways, including in their decision to make this song entirely in English, the group has been focusing on targeting its international fans. The Korea Herald reported on how the group deviated from the norms of the K-pop industry by releasing the song at 1 pm Korea Standard Time instead of doing so at 6 pm, the usual timeslot, in what some observers believed was a move to ensure that it did well on international music charts.

The group has mastered the art of acknowledging and connecting with its diverse fandom around the world and BTS’ music, engagement, planning and social media outreach has been indicative of that.

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