I Spent One Night with BTS Army
I got introduced to the global overdog BTS last night at a slumber party at my best friend’s house. Apparently, all 4 attendees were part of the ARMY. The girls were in the mood for all things BTS and I was happy to bite.
In one night I went from being a BTS noob to knowing their names (RM, Jin, SUGA, J-hope, Jimin, V, and Jung Kook), and even having a BTS bias (aka fave) — Jin, World Wide Handsome (WWH).
I now know J-Hope is a star dancer/choreographer and Jin would rather act than dance. RM has an IQ of 148 and is the leader as he’s fluent in English. V is the youngest, Jimin is shy, Suga is derived from the first syllables of the term shooting guard, the position he played in basketball as a student.
James Corden, Jimmy Fallon, John Cena are happy Army members, not just for the music, but for everything BTS stands for. Self-love, end violence against children, right to learn, against racism, healthcare for all, hunger, climate change. BTS is so true to these causes, Whoopi Goldberg gave the band a shirt, off her back, for “spreading joy” around the world.
When BTS donates a certain million dollars to a cause, the ARMY mimics the gesture and donates similar amounts. BTS sways, the army sways. BTS sings, the army sings along in Korean. BTS enters the stage, the army chants their Korean names in synchronised order. Their fashion, food, ideologies, dance steps, lifestyle, everything is copied. The whole unit (BTS + Army) is one identity in different bodies.
The Lure: Shiori was playing some popular, groovy BTS numbers on her Marshall speakers when I entered her home. An unsuspecting me started grooving involuntarily.
“Hey, what band is that?”
The Trap: As she saw I was getting interested, she played their videos, while narrating stories behind each show, concert and collab. They’ve moved from purely Korean lyrics to Korean-English sets that bring in more people to sing along with them. They often spell out ARMY to acknowledge their fans. In their video for “Permission to Dance” BTS dances out alphabets in sign language so the deaf people can enjoy their music!
Nicky Minaj, Halsey, Coldplay, Steve Aoki, Chainsmokers have already collaborated with them and now, as Shiori tells me, “baby, everyone wants a music video with BTS now. Uff!” I haven’t seen this kind of fanaticism since Backstreet Boys. Maybe, not even then.
Perfect choreography, uber stylish clothes, cute boys, groovy music, fans crying offstage — I was hooked to these wonder boys.
By the end of the night, we’re glued to a video where Jin introduces himself as World Wide Handsome. James Corden says, “That was my nickname in school .” Jin replies in his cute Korean accent, “You a Joker Guy.” Sitting in a cozy Sikkimese-style home, stomach full of momo, sipping my final glass of whisky, my heart melts.