BTS’s new album, BE, their second album of 2020, dropped today. A video for the first track, “Life Goes On”, dropped at the same time and is already breaking records. Don’t ask me which records because this band and its ARMY break so many records so often I can’t keep track – just know that there a lot of people hitting play over and over again and streaming the sh-t out of BE. There were something like 13 million people tuning in from around the world when RM, Jin, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook livestreamed their album release party on multiple platforms overnight (daytime in South Korea) to promote their latest work after their worldwide press conference. I am a bad fan and was not one of those people. Because I have a 16 hour work day today and I had to get sleep.
But I was pleasantly surprised when I woke up this morning and saw that there are actually photos from the press conference available with the western photo agencies we subscribe to. Just a little inside baseball here: even though BTS has been the biggest band in the world for a few years now, western photo agencies haven’t bothered to cover their appearances unless they’re in the west, like at the Grammys or the Billboard Music Awards. And it’s not like the photo agencies don’t have photographers in South Korea or that they couldn’t license photos from freelancers in South Korea. But it’s always about priority and demand – and diversifying priority and demand.
And now? Please find attached photos of RM, Jin, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook celebrating the release of BE in Seoul. (You will note, there are only six of them here because Suga is recovering from shoulder surgery.) Finally some western agencies are realising that BTS is the priority and demand. After all, they occupy most of the top trending spots on social media at the time of this post with ARMY freaking out over the new music and these fits. Much of the freaking has to do with Jungkook’s hair, the undercut exposed on one side. And the fact that JK directed the “Life Goes On” video.
The song itself is so sweet and so… vulnerable, about what they and so many of us have experienced this year, all that’s changed, but at the same time holding on to that which should never change: the relationships that matter most. For BTS, that of course is the relationship they have with their fans but also, it’s the relationship they have with each other. Which is why this video isn’t a showcase of their choreography and their explosive performing talent but rather an intimate portrait of them together, at home, leaning on each other for comfort in troubling times. They’re playing video games on the couch, ordering pizza, hanging out in their bedrooms, in their pyjamas, leaning on each other, supporting each other, holding each other.
This video is basically a slumber party. We see girl slumber parties all the time but it’s not often we see seven male sex symbols doing the same – lounging around in bed talking about everything and nothing, giggling, hugging, bonding. I’ve written before about BTS’s soft masculinity and how they are challenging traditional models of masculinity in the way they present themselves and their connection to each other, and they uphold that new ideal here in this video. Because if we are to move forward amid all this uncertainty and chaos, as “Life Goes On”, our chances of making it through to the other side are that much stronger if we can treat each other with the kindness and the sensitivity of RM, Jin, Suga, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jungkook. That’s what JK has captured with this video.
BTS is scheduled to perform “Life Goes On” at the American Music Awards on Sunday. They will also be on Good Morning America on Monday. And then on Wednesday we’ll find out of if they’re nominated for any Grammys. And how many.
By the way, my worlds collided yesterday because I live with a Tottenham Hotspur fanatic. And he lives with a BTS fanatic so this tweet is basically our marriage:
More on BTS next week once I have a chance to live with the album through the weekend.
Yours in gossip,