On Tuesday, June 14, K-Pop boy group BTS announced during their ninth anniversary livestream that they would be going on a break. What started out as a fun and reminiscent video, soon turned solemn and bittersweet, as the members spoke about their decision to take a break as a group and instead spend some time working on solo projects.
As someone who’s been a fan of BTS since 2016, the group has grown immensely. In music, concept and style, they aren’t the same seven men from back when they debuted in 2013. They’ve gone from angsty bad boys to sentimental men in their youth to world leaders. After nine long, hard years, it was time for them to focus on themselves.
For those that aren’t familiar with BTS’s history, the group was supposedly going to disband in 2015 if their song “I NEED U” didn’t blow up or get them a win on a music show. Luckily, the song gave the group their first of many music show wins. BTS was also supposed to have a possible disbandment after their contracts ended in 2020. In K-Pop, contracts with the company typically last seven years, thus 2020 would mark seven years from the group’s debut.
At the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards, or MAMA, member Kim Seokjin revealed that the members were considering going their separate ways. In the group’s 2020 docuseries “Break the Silence,” the other members also reflected on 2018 and the rough patch that they all went through. 2018 was the year that jump-started the group’s career in the worldwide and western music industry, but it was also the year that the members have revealed to be one of the most difficult due to their newfound fame and expectations.
While they decided not to disband in 2018, they renewed their contracts early, so that they’d instead expire in 2026. After digging, some BTS fans, known as Adorable Representative M.C for Youth, or ARMY, realized that the group was also to take a hiatus in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic inspired them to be there for fans, and thus they released “BE” in 2020 as a comfort album of sorts.
During the livestream on Tuesday, leader RM spoke that he didn’t know what direction the group’s music seemed to be going after songs like “Butter” and “Permission to Dance.” After that comment, ARMYs went digging again and alleged that the album “Map of the Soul: 7” in 2020 was probably supposed to be the last album before the group’s break. However, the worldwide fame and responsibility such as being UNICEF ambassadors and Global Representatives for various companies most likely kept them from taking a break.
As mentioned before, I’ve been an ARMY since middle school. Although I may not be as invested in the group as I was six years ago, the change in musical direction and the seven of them getting burnt out was obvious to me. It’s bittersweet to see them going on a break, but I think it’s important for them to take the time for themselves.
The members are in their mid to late twenties, and most of their lives have been taken up with training to be an idol and performing as one. They deserve to go out and live their lives, start families, travel and produce projects that they’re personally passionate about. Especially in the K-Pop industry where groups typically release two to three albums a year, it’s important for idols to take time for themselves. Hopefully, BTS’s break will show the industry that it’s okay to allow idols to take time off because fans will always be there for them no matter what.
Mimi Calhoun is a freshman studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Have something to say? Email Mimi at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet her @mimi_calhoun.