You may have only just heard of Bangtan Boys but they’ve been training at Big Hit Entertainment, a subsidiary of JYP, for three years, impressive considering maknae Jungkook is fifteen.
Just under two weeks ago they hit the Korean music scene with their mainstream hip hop sound and dance routines through their mv for No More Dream.
Confusingly the group has three forms of their name, their artwork displays the name BTS, they are almost always referred to as Bangtan Boys, and the Hangul that creates the Bangtan sounds, 방탄소년단, translates to their third name Bulletproof Boy Scouts.
Whether they are Bangtan or BTS you can make your own judgement on whether they’re a group you’ll be keeping your eye on.
Now, I’m ridiculously older than these boys, and not in their target market at all, but objectively I can understand why they’re appealing to fans.
To match their hip hop style the mv takes on a strong gang concept, not unlike many we’ve seen come from rookies breaking out into the market over the past 18 months.
Bangtan are the bad boys in the neighbourhood, they steal the school bus, they rule the school and we know this because their graffiti tags are the dominant ones across the albeit abandoned place of education, they rule the half-pipe even if they are just sitting on it or dancing on it, and they bring together all the other dreamless boys of the neighbourhood into their gang.
Not only does a gang concept show that the group is bonded and strong but it’s a well known fact that a bad guy is exciting and appealing to many young girls, especially those that may be considered good or wholesome, and maybe thats why the concept has continued so long. When you look at the target market of many of the groups using these concepts over in Korea they’re particularly young, almost certainly younger than some of the fans they are attracting worldwide. The age of these girls mean they fit the good girl image that is likely to find the bad boy style appealing.
The lyrics of No More Dream have a highly positive side to them in that they are aimed at young people without dreams, telling them they can achieve and can fly. Though Bangtan’s 2 Cool 4 Skool image has them telling the youth that they can rebel against society’s rules, there is no need to study, you can even stop following the dreams your parents have for you. When your target audience starts so young maybe it would be best to show a possible fan base how to dream without making school seem so meaningless.
For us in the UK, if you can’t speak any Korean, there is very little English here for you to pick up and join in with. SUGA kicks off the track with ‘I wanna big house, big cars & big rings … I dun have any big dreams’. After that you might only be able to pick up on the repetition of V and Jin’s ‘I gotta say’ and Jungkook’s ‘you such a liar’. His ‘see me see me ya’ although noticeably repeated blends in so I didn’t notice it was English. You won’t miss Rap Monster’s English sign off, ‘To all the youth without dreams’.
A good hip hop gang needs a strong look and this group certainly has one. The boys are possibly showing off all Shayne Oliver’s Hood By Air has to offer, you certainly won’t need to look anywhere else to see the brand’s clothes! Other brands you might notice in the mv are sports labels such as Adidas Nike, and Converse. Jimin wears a Chicago Bulls NBA jersey and I think Rap Monster’s visor sunglasses are by the designer Maison Martin Margiela. There’s also the oddity of Jin’s t-shirt bearing the slogan of New York fashion blogger Tamanika ‘A Fendi Bag and a bad attitude’.
SOUND & PLAYABILITY
It’s probably not be a track that has much UK radio playability, as no one will be singing along to this one anytime soon. Though I can’t deny its incredibly infectious and catchy.
As a little Kpop nugget on the sound of the track, being older, and being into some of the KPop I am, I was able to notice a throwback at the beginning of the track that many younger fans might not. The bass line that begins ‘No More Dream‘ is reminiscent of the introduction to H.O.T.’s ‘Warrior’s Descendant‘, something that made me instantly want to listen to the song by the old KPop group!
It’s not my favourite recent debut, its not my favourite gang concept, but it works, and incredibly well. I’m not surprised Bangtan are the HOT DEBUT on all of the Korean music shows.
You can view their mini album 2 Cool 4 Skool in the UK iTunes store here. It features an intro with scratch by DJ Friz of Planet Shiver, the lead track No More Dream and five more tracks from the hip hop rookies, one of the highlights being We Are Bulletproof, Pt. 2. which you can see in their MelOn showcase here.
What do you think of the latest mainstream hip hop rookies Bangtan and their No More Dream mv? Have these young new additions to 2013’s summer music scene got you paying attention to a bad boy?