If you’re new to BTS, one of the most basic things to know about the band is that their career has progressed through eras. I don’t want to get too granular about this but an era for BTS isn’t exactly limited to a one album cycle – sometimes an era spans two or three thematically connected albums. Love Yourself, for example, was an album trilogy, representing an era. For their fans, that’s probably a gross oversimplification of how it works but, again, if you’re just coming into this today, and some of you might be, that’s an easy, not overwhelming place to start.
When a new BTS era is about to begin, they call it a “comeback”. Whenever there’s a comeback, there’s a new vibe, a new narrative, and a new aesthetic to go with the new music. As I’m sure you’re aware, their new album, Map of the Soul: 7, which they’ve pumped up to be their most meaningful, since it’s their 7th one and they’ve been out here for 7 years and there are 7 of them, just dropped today. Which means BTS is giving us fresh looks.
Before we talk about the looks though, let’s get to the business. BTS was on The Today Show this morning and they did an interview with SiriusXM. They’ve been crushing social media across multiple platforms since last night with a broadcast on VLive leading up to the release and they’ve taken over Spotify and iTunes. As previously noted, pre-sales for the album were up to 4 million and that number will keep climbing. As YouTube views for their new video are rising, so are the figures for their past videos, like “Boy With Luv”, which has now surpassed 700 million views. Contrary to what my friends think, that is not all me.
It’s been twelve or so hours since MOTS7 came out and I still haven’t listened to it front to back. Trust me, it’s been tempting to throw my life away and just consume it all day. I have, however, watched the new video for “ON” multiple times. As expected, the choreography is blindingly intense. They’re moving as quickly, maybe quicker, than they ever have. Some of you have messaged me to ask about the choreographer.
Her name is Sienna Lalau. She’s 19 years old. And she’s featured in the opening shot:
Look at her. Getting her own solo shot. Her names Sienna Lalau. She’s a NINETEEN yr-old ago who (alongside Andrew Elam) choreographed Dionysus, the 2019 MAMA stage and ON.— 𝚎𝚞𝚙𝚑𝙰𝚁𝙸𝙰⁷ (@AirplanePtKook) February 21, 2020
Know her name. Kudos to #BTS for highlighting her. She’s incredible. 💜 pic.twitter.com/aJimMDRU1V
That tweet mentions that she previously worked with BTS on “Dionysus”, what I consider to be their strongest song (not my personal favourite, but the most impressive, at least to me) and the one with the most elaborate choreography. If you have time, watch this video of their dance practice while rehearsing for a live performance. After that, if you still have time, compare it to the actual live performance here, starting at about the 30 minute mark (yes, they performed for over half an hour at an award show) and you might get some sense of the talent collaboration happening here with the ecosystem that is BTS. That’s what Sienna Lalau worked on and it’s understandable why they wanted her back on the new project. (As an aside, sometimes I prefer the dance practice videos to the actual performances because they make weird camera decisions on the live broadcast that takes away from what’s actually happening on stage. The production value on these things though is stupidly high and the Grammys and other American shows could learn something.)
Before we go any further into discussing the “ON” video, let’s take a moment, come to our knees, and give thanks to Beyoncé because we should never not credit the Queen. Her drumline on a grand scale came first. The Hive and ARMY have united before and ARMYs have in the past been respectful to the undisputed King and Queen of Music, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter.
Now that we’ve honoured the Goddess, we can go back to talking about “ON” and specifically these new looks for the new era. I’m calling it the Dirty Hair Era because the hair is greasy seven members over and I’m here for it. So here for it that I’m ready to say it’s the best era for styling, I f-cking love it. And that includes Jin, because I’ve never been into Jin’s hair but he’s wearing it slightly longer, in a mullet, and it’s better than it’s ever been. Same goes for RM. And of course, my beloved Jungkook.
That’s a statement for me because last summer, when JK grew his hair out, I didn’t think it was possible that any other option could match it. If you have never experienced the sensual pleasure of JK’s long hair, please enjoy the next four minutes:
But here he is, with a side part, giving me my life:
That could also have something to do with these tank tops though. JK and Jimin are wearing tanks with low sides and I would like to e-transfer their stylist some money because I’ve decided that paying for this visual is why I have so many jobs.
when jungkook said "hot body" for the tour, BOY ISN'T KIDDING pic.twitter.com/XlEUza8Pc5— agʑ⁷ ♡ jungkook (@borahaejeonjk) February 21, 2020
But when it comes to hair, not even JK can challenge BTS’s Hair Sovereign: V aka Taehyung. V’s hair at the Grammys was already a problem for me. And now everything he’s doing in this video is bringing on a full blown crisis. He’s never been prettier. He’s dancing with more flair than he ever has. God he looks great in his clothes. And that f-cking hair – it’s slick and still light, it looks filthy but also fresh, like is this a perm? Do we all need to get perms?! Are they marketing perms now? Also can he please launch his own line of earrings?
We’re almost at a thousand words so I think I need to stop now but I’ll leave you with one last thought about the Dirty Hair Era and the bigger takeaway from BTS’s aesthetic and how they present themselves: they are desirable – they wear makeup and they’re always changing their hair and they clearly care about clothes and they are vain and they have smaller pores than most women and they are DESIRED, they are Asian men who are desirable. By millions and millions and millions around the world. You’d swipe yes on this, right?