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With ‘Permission to Dance’, some BTS fans question the direction of the group



South Korean K-pop group BTS on Friday dropped a music video for their new song, “Permission to Dance.” Typically, a BTS release is cause for much rejoicing and celebration among their sequel to “Armys.”

But this time, the atmosphere online is different – still most positive, but less jubilant. Their fans are starting to do something that was anything but forbidden before: criticize.

As BTS fans begin to emerge from the echo chamber of their fandom and express different opinions about the song, a common message has begun to gather: bring back the “old” BTS.

The song and music video are … fine. The seven singers are dressed in cowboy costumes, dancing around in the desert while blinking and smiling appealingly into the camera. The actual “Permission to Dance”

; is sweet, if not catchy. Like their other English songs before it, “Dynamite” and “Butter”, the song is expertly produced for maximum earworm, but has a dull quality that makes the track hard to remember after listening to it.

The group has been aware that their main goal as artists at this point is to win a Grammy. They were nominated for Best Pop Duo / Group Performance for “Dynamite” in 2021, but lost to “Rain On Me” by Lady Gaga with Ariana Grande.

BTS promised to keep trying, with invested fans more than willing to speak to the Recording Academy, their label HYBE and everyone else on social media that might be nearby.

However, the crusade for a Grammy raised many questions regarding the lengths that the group was willing to go to achieve the award. There was no doubt their admirers would sell their left foot if it got BTS to the top of the charts. They wanted their beloved group to win, but to win on undeniable quality, integrity and love of the craft. Some fans just weren’t sure it was happening.

The subject of western validation is a difficult thing. It has a number of unpleasant undertones associated with racism, colonialism and assimilation. BTS ‘South Korean heritage carries many expectations, not least that they are various. It could be argued that this quality is exactly what earned them their legion of devoted fans. Yet a music industry is often criticized for its lack of diversity, driven by older white men who deviate from the very idea of various, it can be difficult to do so if your action does not follow a proven formula.

Which, in fact, is what makes BTS’s success even more miraculous – they were able to permeate the artist’s top level, all against the backdrop of a fandom that loves them for obedience. What BTS wants, BTS gets.

All of this raises the question, why bother to integrate yourself when you have already found the proven formula and created your own level of success based on it? Well, when we want to break into the biggest music market in the world, sometimes the old rules do not apply. But is success worth shedding your identity?

The massive “Asian Celebs” thread on Lipstick Alley is heavily populated by K-pop fans, many of whom identify as black. When “Permission to Dance” premiered, they pretty much panned it out, and users like Comicfan804 have noticed the direction BTS went for a while.

“I understand that they are trying to be considered Western artists now, but whoever told them that it is the music we like clearly lied to them several times,” they wrote. With PTD, it looks like they went for a catchy song by the Pharrell ‘Happy’ type, which is family friendly and comes with a dance that is easy to learn and can go viral on TikTok. That marketing strategy sometimes works, but the song actually has to be GOOD for it to do so. ”

“I feel like in this quest to get a Grammy, that they’re really ruining their image and quality, and how long can their fans really hype mediocrity up before moving on?” Comicfan804 added. “I know that stopping right now will stream everything they put out, but after a few more flop songs and a military enlistment, their fans will be bored and their popularity will burst because they do not bring anything to the table. .

In some fan circles, there is a belief in a clear quality distinction between BTS ‘English songs and some of their popular South Korean tracks, such as “Spring Day”, “Persona” and “Black Swan.”

On the Goldenoona forum, master.of.tides lamented the demise of the “old BTS”, referring to their beginnings as a “hip-hop group” and writing: “When we say we miss the old BTS, we do not mean that “We want them to throw on some booty shorts, get their chains on and start pounding the air while singing about depression. We think we miss when BTS made quality songs that sounded like them.”

Meanwhile, thousands of fans on the official BTS subreddit actually have open and honest discussions about the group’s discography and their direction as artists.

User Mahertymcfly said, “I’m not a fan of this song, and I think it’s because personally, what I love about this group is their complexity – the intricate choruses, lyrics, vocal / rap harmonies, etc., and this one. song is missing. ”

Northelai criticized the song’s overuse of autotune, adding: “The whole song feels like we went 15 years into the past. And not in a good ‘retro’ style, but in a bad ‘outdated production’ style … I want them to have proper feedback with constructive criticism and not just blind love no matter what they post. “

Of course, these dissenting fans on Twitter are fueled by other armies calling them “fake fans” and advising them to leave Twitter.

Northelai, however, has a point. If you love BTS so much, why do not you want them to grow as artists? Fans are buying masses and mass streams “Butter” for its sixth week on top of the Billboard 100 chart, but is there a connection between the group’s huge success and acceptance among the public?

Something about BTS does not connect, and it can be a number of things – race, their designation as a boy band or the quality of their music. BTS is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. They have name recognition with many, but no relevance to the greater extent of American pop culture. At least not at the moment.

Their expansion in the Western market works in some ways, though it could be argued that the outcome would be the same whether they targeted America or not. So why can’t they just create music that really embraces them as a group?

Still, how much does authenticity mean when you have earned $ 170 million and have legions of followers to your liking?

Maybe it’s a proof that you do not need it all.

Read original story with ‘Permission to dance’, some BTS fans question the group’s direction on TheWrap


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