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September 11, 2020

Review: "Dynamite" by BTS

On August 21, the K-Pop—or Korean Pop—group BTS released their first completely English song, “Dynamite,” and quickly caught the world’s attention. It hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and broke the record for the most-viewed video (over 100 million views) in 24 hours on YouTube. 

BTS, an acronym for Bangtan Sonyeondan (meaning Bulletproof Boy Scouts in English), has been rising in the charts since 2013 with other K-Pop bands like Super M, Big Bang, and Girls’ Generation. This rise of K-Pop popularity mirrors the love that many boy bands receive in America. They make catchy songs, have great dance moves, colorful music videos, and a strong sense of style. Let’s take a look at BTS and the influence they may be having on your kid.

BTS’ upbeat message 

Life is sweet as honey, yeah, this beat cha-ching like money, huh

Disco overload, I’m into that, I’m good to go

I’m diamond, you know I glow up

The band members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, and Jung Kook all appear in the music video dancing and singing in a world full of pastel colors. The overall style of the video mimics those of “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake and “Happy” by Pharrell WIlliams with joyful, upbeat vibes. The lyrics also project a positive message with phrases like “Life is sweet as honey” and “I’m a diamond.” This song talks about seizing the day and making the most out of life. Lines like “Shining through the city with a little funk and soul. So, I’mma light it up like dynamite,” suggest that they live happily, and strive to make life even brighter. Focusing on positive moments in this way helps us to see the space for improvement for all situations. If we can make our best moments even better, then the hard times don’t stand a chance. 

A band with many talents

BTS has a wide range of styles, from upbeat and peppy with songs like “Dynamite,” to dark and moody with songs like “Blood, Sweat & Tears.” In contrast to the lighthearted “Dynamite,” for example, BTS’ popular song “Mic Drop (language) has a message and tone that is much more aggressive. 

It’s h**** trophies and it’s h**** thick 

What you think ’bout that? What you think ’bout that? 

I bet it got my haters h**** sick 

Come and follow me, follow me with your signs up

I’m so firin’, firin’, boy, your time’s up

While “Dynamite” is very light and innocent, “Mic Drop” talks about their riches and superiority over their “haters.” The tone of this song is almost threatening as they tell those who oppose them, “your time’s up.” This song is just one example of over 20 music styles BTS has used throughout their career, giving them the ability to appeal to many music tastes. Whether your teen likes rock, jazz, pop, or EDM, BTS probably has something for them. Their versatility can be wonderful, but it also means their music can go from being clean and heartfelt one moment to explicit and aggressive the next. 

Since most of BTS’ music is in Korean, your teen may wonder, “Do the lyrics matter if I can’t understand them?” Well, with resources like YouTube and Genius, it’s easy to find translations for their songs. Plus, the success that BTS is having with “Dynamite” makes it more likely that we’ll see more English songs from them in the future.

The world takes a dance break 

Although BTS does have its share of explicit content, they have a lot of uplifting content to share, too! Most of our culture’s music has a mix of good and bad, and it’s important to bring light to both sides when discussing music with your teen. “Dynamite” offers a lighthearted, fun mood in a time when the world feels overwhelming and sad. With the pandemic, schools starting up, civil unrest, and the election, our teens have a lot on their minds, and songs like “Dynamite” serve as a contrast to all of the negativity we face. As it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 4, 

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven… a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

God wishes for us to be healthy, mentally and physically. In times like these, we should do what we can to help our teens (and ourselves) let loose and recharge. We also need to make sure we are giving our teens space for fun and relaxation even in the most stressful of times. So, stand up, turn on some music and take a dance break with your teen. You both deserve it! 

Discussion questions 

  1. Do you like “Dynamite” by BTS? Why or why not? 
  2. Why do you think the song is so popular right now? 
  3. Do you like BTS’ English-speaking or Korean songs best? Why?
  4. What type of music makes you the happiest? Why? 
  5. How can we honor God through self-care? 
  6. Why is it important to take breaks on a regular basis?

The Culture Translator

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