K-pop group BTS: New album tells of conquering doubts and fears

K-pop group BTS broke into the US market in 2017 and was the first Korean group to win a Billboard music award. (AFP)
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Updated 24 February 2020

K-pop group BTS: New album tells of conquering doubts and fears

  • BTS stands at the forefront of South Korean pop music and has helped gather an international audience for the genre
  • BTS broke into the US market in 2017 and was the first Korean group to win a Billboard music award

SEOUL: The young stars in South Korean boy band BTS said on Monday the theme of their new album dealt with how they overcame doubts and fears encountered since they burst on the K-pop scene seven years ago.
Having performed at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last month, BTS stands at the forefront of South Korean pop music and has helped gather an international audience for the genre.
On Friday, the band released “Map of the Soul: 7,” its fourth album. The 20 tracks include collaborations with Sia and Troye Sivan.
Plans for a large media event in Seoul for the album were ditched due to the coronavirus health scare in South Korea, but the band instead livestreamed a news conference based on preregistered questions.
“Sometimes we were uncertain, sometimes we were lost. Every time that happened, the shadows and fear inside us grew,” rapper Suga told the news conference aired via YouTube.
“But it’s been seven years. I think we have grounded ourselves now, and we learned how to do that, the difficulties and wounds we face and fight them.”
Though several young K-Pop stars have struggled with cyberbullying and depression, Suga did not elaborate on what difficulties BTS faced.
But the group, whose seven members are in their Twenties, took an unexpectedly long vacation last year to “recharge.”
When asked about the comment by Bong Joon-ho, director of the Oscar-winning “Parasite,” who recently said BTS was 3,000 times more influential than him, Suga said he was an avid fan of Bong’s work and hoped more South Korean artists would be introduced to the world.
Leader and rapper RM likened K-pop to a “giftbox” integrating music, dance, video and interaction with fans, saying the personal elements the band infuses in its music might have boosted its global popularity.
“We try to instill personal stories in our music and dance and I think the concerns and feelings that we have resonate with people around the world,” he said.
But making music is a “constant battle to show your weakness and fight the fear of expressing your fear,” he added.
BTS broke into the US market in 2017 and was the first Korean group to win a Billboard music award. It is set to launch a new world tour in April, kicking off in Seoul.

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From the UAE to Jordan, viral songs keep thousands entertained during self-isolation

Emirati social media star Rashid Al-Nuaimi has become a viral sensation. (Instagram/@r__a__n)
Updated 30 March 2020

From the UAE to Jordan, viral songs keep thousands entertained during self-isolation

DUBAI: From singing opera on their balconies to performing online concerts, musicians all around the globe are finding different ways to keep themselves — and others — entertained while self-isolating at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some are doing their part by rewriting the lyrics to their favorite songs into COVID-19 parodies, while others are creating clever new compositions to bring a little levity to these unprecedented times.

Emirati social media star Rashid Al-Nuaimi has become a viral sensation after taking to his Instagram on Sunday to upload a coronavirus-themed song about being bored in quarantine.

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What a moment to be alive. So many emotions take place at the same exact time. It’s important however to remind ourselves that we are all in this together. The world comes together for once in a common cause, and I personally will aim to not let this tragic scenario send me into a pit of fear, but use it to dig for every ounce of love. Love is expressed is many ways, and right now it’s expressed by staying at home. We will come out of the other side of this changed humans! Changed for the better. So let’s start being better now and stay home. My heart is filled with gratitude for every effort and risk the people are taking to protect the whole! Thank you to food delivery drivers, thank you to nurses and hospital workers, thank you to government officials who are working day and night to keep us safe. Thank you thank you thank you! #خلك_في_البيت Piano credit / Sing2piano

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“Has it been a month/No it’s only been a day,” croons the singer, who is surrounded by a pile of books and a cup of tea while wearing yellow sweatpants paired with a hoodie. “I read through a pile of self-help books/ The Uber Eats on the way,” continue the ultra-relatable lyrics.

“Bored in quarantine/I’ll sit with the parts of myself that I have never seen/I’ll be bored in quarantine/I know for a fact, it’ll all be over one day/So I’ll stay in today,” the young jazz singer belts out.

As of this week, the musical clip has garnered nearly 30,000 views and over 200 comments. “Love this. Embracing individual boredom for the greater good,” wrote one user. “Thank you for making this,” quipped another user.

Meanwhile, Jordanian choir The Mosaica Singers came together online to record the song “Khalik bil Bait,” which translates to “stay at home.” 

Legendary singer Neil Diamond remixed his own song, “Sweet Caroline” with some new lyrics, while former “The Voice” contestant Chris Mann released a brilliant coronavirus parody based on Adele’s “Hello,” wittingly titled “Hello (From Inside).”

During troubled times, people often turn to music for comfort, a distraction or to calm the nerves. The coronavirus crisis has produced several moments of musical communion across the globe, including in Italy, where countless online videos have captured scenes of Italians under lockdown playing instruments and singing from apartment windows and balconies. Last week, actress Gal Gadot posted her own Instagram video — a montage of celebrities taking turns to croon John Lennon’s “Imagine” into their cellphone cameras.