Taken from this week’s Future Pop mailer. Click here to subscribe.
In One Direction’s absence, the title of the world’s biggest boyband undoubtedly belongs to a K-pop act. As BIGBANG are also on hiatus, it’s down to S.M. Entertainment’s Korean-Chinese group EXO, or Big Hit Entertainment’s BTS. When it comes to crossing over to the western music market, BTS are charging ahead. Formed in 2013, the seven-member group has released two albums in Korean and two in Japanese, plus a series of chart-topping EPs. After an impressive 2017, including a Billboard Music Award win and record breaking video views, they released their latest EP Love Yourself: Her last week. It reached the UK album chart top 20 and iTunes chart no.1, and went top 10 in Australia and New Zealand. The lead single DNA got 50 million YouTube views in five days, and was the first song by a K-pop group to enter Spotify’s Global Top 50. The video is colourful, cute and slick, while the track has a Europoppy sound. In a rare deference to western artists, Best of Me from the EP is produced by The Chainsmokers’ Andrew Taggart. In recent years, some Korean stars have caved to pressure to record English tracks and reinterepret their act for the international market, with little effect. The global success of groups like BTS shows it’s unnecessary to sacrifice their identity or pander to western ideals. A European tour would be appreciated, though.