Sasha and I meet at the intersection of Justin Bieber and BTS. This has come up a few times on our podcast, What’s Your Drama, which I shamelessly and highly recommend for your listen list during lockdown. Sasha is into Justin Bieber. She dresses like him, which she didn’t realise until I pointed it out to her a few months ago, and she listens to and enjoys his music (she was the first person I know who played his new album, Changes, as soon as it came out). If you confront her about this, she’ll tell you I’m exaggerating. I am not. JB comes up in our texts often unprompted. I’m pretty sure she spends a lot more time on JB when I’m not looking than she’ll ever admit. To Sasha’s credit, she also has to spend a lot of time enduring me talk at her about BTS. What she doesn’t know is that her love, JB, and my love(s), BTS, from time to time, reach out to each other to complete our square.
The most recent incident happened last night. JB is isolating with Hailey in Canada and… well… there’s not much to do. They make TikTok videos. They play with the dog. They play in the snow. They listen to music. Here’s what Justin was listening to last night:
That’s Drake’s latest, “Toosie Slide”. But also … this:
To the uninitiated, that’s a BTS song called “Spring Day”; diehard BTS fans love “Spring Day”. This is why, sometimes, I question my devotion. Because I think “Spring Day” is just OK. Sorry. Anyway, while listening to “Spring Day”, Justin also performs a BTS fan chant. A fan chant is exactly what it sounds like – BTS fans have a few chants that they shout out during certain songs; this particular chant is probably the most popular and it’s the band members’ names, in Korean. And there’s a specific order to it, starting with the group leader, RM, aka Kim Nam-joon, and then in descending order of age of each member. So it goes like this:
Justin Bieber knows this fan chant and is showing you he knows the fan chant. I love this so much. I can’t even do the fan chant. I mean, I can, but I do it super slowly. He has the rhythm down.
As I mentioned, this isn’t the first time BTS and JB have crossed over. The members often sing JB’s songs in the band’s behind-the-scenes footage. Jungkook is the least active member of BTS on social media – he rarely posts – but he posted this back in January:
Look at the numbers on that tweet. That’s free promotion. And here’s JB wishing JK happy birthday last year – and he did it a day early, perhaps to make up for the North American to South Korean time difference.
Happy bday #JUNGKOOK . They ain’t ready :) now watch this tweet go crazy— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) August 31, 2019
JB also congratulated the band on social media when the release of Map of the Soul: 7 came out in February. By the way, his album Changes came out just before BTS’s, topping the charts and selling 231,000 copies in its first week. Map of the Soul: 7 moved 422,000 copies in its first week, almost double JB’s. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to make this a competition. What I’m trying to tell you, again, is that BTS is a big f-cking deal with the big f-cking numbers to back it up. You might say that JB has more to gain from BTS than BTS has to gain from him. And yet, again, in the west, BTS is still not given that kind of respect.
In other Justin news, he confirmed that the reason he shaved his moustache is because Hailey wouldn’t let him get into bed.