New York, the United States: October 7, 2018
Following the audience's loud cheer, the seven boys came up to the stage.
JUNGKOOK, JIMIN, JIN, V, J-HOPE, SUGA, and RM.
RM / "New York, make some noise!"
This is Citi Field, the home ground of MLB's New York Mets.
It is the symbol of American pop culture, the venue where world-class superstars stepped up to perform.
BTS / "Hello, we are BTS!"
RM / Welcome to BTS world tour 'LOVE YOURSELF'. We're in Citi Field!"
A K-pop boy group who made its debut 5 years ago is writing a new history.
What makes BTS world-class?
The members attribute the glory to one place, "ARMY."
In the summer of 2013, there were boys wearing vests with their names on it.
BTS / "Hello, we are Bang! Tan! BTS!"
A hip-hop idol group that Bang Shi-hyuk, a renowned music producer put his heart and soul into it.
After he finalized the members through audition, the name 'BTS' was unveiled to the public for the first time.
20 at best. They were just young kids who still had peach fuzz on their face.
Staff / "How long has it been since your debut?"
RM / "Today is the 16th, so it's been 5 days. We are literally a rookie."
Staff / "What's with the clothes?"
SUGA / "Even the camera operators don't know our names yet because we are new. Then, we wear this and…"
RM / "I will wear this until the day they could recognize my face without my name tag."
Just like that, BTS set a foot in the world of music.
As everyone knows, 'BT(Bangtan)' of 'BTS' means "bulletproof" in Korean.
'BTS' has the same meaning and is an acronym for "Bulletproof Boys".
"We will protect our generation from all the prejudice, and will keep our music and values with pride."
Compare to other idol groups, the name held a lot of meaning.
An idol group, who is often considered as a 'product of an agency', would they be able to keep their own voice?
From the very beginning, however, there was something different about BTS.
It was early 2013, when the members were adding a few last touches before debut,
A TV documentary 'Tears of School', exposing the reality of school violence, swept the country.
A victim of school violence / Whenever they beat me, I thought about taking my own life to end the pain.
There is a mixtape that RM, JIN, and SUGA wrote after watching the documentary.
They recalled the school of Korea like this, just the way they experienced it.
"I said bad things behind their back and when I'm with them, I pretend to be nice.
School is a battlefield." - 'Tears of School'
The members who were not afraid to make their voice heard even before debut.
In the same year in June, BTS unveiled all 7 members and finally embarked on a journey with the first single '2 COOL 4 SKOOL'.
'No More Dream', BTS' debut title track, reinterpreted '90s gangster rap with a powerful hip-hop beat.
The song had an impressive message for the youth, as the members put their own thoughts into lyrics.
"Why aren't you saying something? You said you don't want to study.
But you are scared to quit school?
See, you're already getting ready for school, grow up a little.
Dude, you are all talk, fragile like a glass.
Ask yourself if you've ever worked hard for anything." - 'No More Dream'
The average age of the group was 19.7.
With its dynamic and powerful performance, BTS' music was a wake-up call and encouragement for their generation who doesn't have a dream nor passion.
"I pulled an all-nighter at a practice room instead of school, dancing and singing.
When you guys partied, I gave up sleep for my dreams and spent all night working on my tracks.
I close my eyes only after the sun rises.
My limit was broken despite all the double standards and oppositions." - 'We Are Bulletproof Pt.2'
'School Trilogy', which went on for almost two years since BTS' debut in 2013, left an outpouring impact on the youth in a way that they've never experienced before.
"The grown-ups confess that we have it pretty easy.
They say that we are unabashedly happy, but why do I feel so miserable?
There's nothing to talk about besides studying.
There are tons of kids like me out there.
Everyone lives like a puppet. Who will take the responsibility?" - 'N.O'
BTS has shown an outstanding talent and explosive energy from the beginning.
"From Seoul to Gangwon, Gyeongsang-do, Chungcheong-do to Jeolla-do,
What is he saying! (What!) What is he saying! (What!)
From Seoul to Gangwon, Gyeongsang-do, Chungcheong-do to Jeolla-do,
Tell them we are here (What!) We are unbelievably hot." - 'Paldogangsan'
After the group won many awards as a Rookie of the Year, BTS finally founded its fan club 'A.R.M.Y' in 2014, and the group's first concert was also a big hit.
Then in 2015, the third year since debut, BTS took things to the next level.
After the release of first full album, BTS unveiled the third mini album '花樣年華 pt.1' in April.
It was the start of 'Two-part Series Youth', the one that all members participated in the process of writing lyrics and composing.
When talking about youth, it is quite difficult to leave out the word 'love'.
With the title track 'I NEED U', BTS ranked No.1 for the first time since debut while turning into fine young men―The average age of the members had already become 21.7.
They welcomed 'youth', the most beautiful moment in one's life, but the boys were still learning about love.
"Whatever I do, I can't seem to stop my heart.
Why is it not listening to me? I'm just talking to myself again." - 'I NEED U'
After getting out of school, they probably had thought they were diving into the sea of freedom.
However, they were at that age where they constantly got trapped in worries about the future ahead of them.
BTS raised its voice in the following mini album '花樣年華 pt.2'.
"I don't give a shxx. I don't give a fxxx. It's none of your business.
Failures or frustration. You can lower your head to me.
We are still young, don't worry about us.
A rock that doesn't move will soon have moss formed all around.
If you can't go back to the past, forget about your mistakes.
Never mind. It's not easy, but engrave that in your heart.
If you think you are going to get hit, step on the accelerator harder." - 'INTRO : Never Mind'
The title track 'RUN' asked young people to never stop running while they were young, and it also did not forget to say that it was okay even if they fell over on their way.
"Run run run again, it's okay even if you fall.
Run run run again, it's okay to get a little hurt.
I'm fine with not getting it.
You stupid destiny, just swear at me." - 'RUN'
BTS had released even more flawless music.
It was expected to see some great results in Korea, but what surprised everyone was the fact that the album charted on the most recognized music chart in the world―Billboard.
'花樣年華 pt.2' had ranked No.171 on the Billboard 200.
Then, the group started to take over the world.
BTS successfully mesmerized fans in Japan, and it even managed to enter the Oricon chart.
If 2015 was a year when BTS was trying to take off from land, 2016 was a year when it soared up to the sky―and each member had become much more competent as well.
BTS' perfectly-synchronized dance did not stop to advance itself.
The second full album 'WINGS' that was released in the fall of 2016, was an album that did what the name meant; BTS flew up to the sky with wings.
"My blood, sweat, tears. Take away my last dance.
My blood, sweat, tears. Take away my cold breath." - 'Blood Sweat & Tears'
With this album, BTS received the grand prize in the album category for the first time at a major domestic music awards, ranked No.1 on Billboard's Social 50 which had always been dominated by mainstream pop singers such as Justin Bieber, and also debuted at No.62 in the United Kingdom, consecutively rewriting history of Korean popular music.
Busy days of its winter had passed, and BTS released 'Spring Day' as one of the tracks on its special album in February 2017.
Until then, BTS mainly sang about being passionately in love, but in this song, it detailed out the feelings of missing a friend based on its own experience.
Even though it has been a year and eight months since the initial release, 'Spring Day' is still loved by many until this day.
"I'll hold your hand and head to the opposite side of Earth.
I want to end this winter.
How much more snow do I have to see that fall
from my feelings of missing you to have spring come to me?
If the tiny particle of snow wandering in the air were me,
then I would be able to get to you faster." - 'Spring Day'
Including guesting on Seo Tai Ji's 25th debut anniversary concert, BTS continued to write history of Korean popular music.
In September 2017, BTS released the first series of 'LOVE YOURSELF', which was also the group's fifth mini album.
After BTS members spending time of their youth where they fought against concerns and dealing with the feelings of love, they said, "Love yourself."
The title track of the first series of 'LOVE YOURSELF' that BTS confidently unveiled was 'DNA'. This electro pop-based serenade created a huge global sensation.
"Don't worry, love. This isn't all a coincidence.
We are very different, baby.
We are two people who found our fate." - 'DNA'
'DNA' set itself as BTS' most successful song and broke various records.
In eight months, BTS returned with the second series of 'LOVE YOURSELF'.
The title track 'FAKE LOVE' gave BTS the title of 'the best boy group in the world'.
Reporter / "BTS' third full album topped Billboard 200, the chart that shows the popularity of songs in the United States. Not only it is the first time for a K-pop act, but it also is the first time for a non-English album to hit No.1 on this chart in 12 years."
This achievement surely was a splendid one, and also the first-ever-seen in K-pop history.
A boy group in Korea to the Billboard No.1 act.
Ellen DeGeneres / "In less than a year, our next guests have become global superstars with the most devoted fans in the world. Here to perform 'FAKE LOVE'. Give it up for BTS!"
BTS also become that one group who won Top Social Artist award two years in a row at the Billboard Music Awards.
Again, BTS gave credit to ARMY instead.
JIMIN / "This award is really for you. It's all yours. Thank you, and we love you."
Last September, BTS topped Billboard's album chart with its repackaged album that includes the title track 'IDOL'.
It was only 3 months after its 'FAKE LOVE' sensation, and was the very first time for a non-English album to top Billboard 200 two times in a year.
The group's next step was even more astonishing.
RM / "Most people thought that we were hopeless. And sometimes, I just wanted to quit."
BTS, who has been actively running a campaign called 'LOVE MYSELF' with UNICEF was invited to give a speech at the UN Headquarters.
RM / "No matter who you are, where you're from, your skin color, your gender identity, just speak yourself. Find your name and find your voice by speaking yourself."
The leader RM's candid speech impressed the public, and the members once again demonstrated BTS' core value that they've pursued since debut.
JIMIN / "We keep moving forward, hoping that we could make someone a little happier."
The BTS sensation started in Korea, and successfully traveled all around the world.
The group even landed the cover of an American news magazine 'TIME' as "Next Generation Leaders".
Los Angeles, New York, and Paris―the three major cultural footholds welcomed BTS' visit.
The fans sang along in Korean regardless of their age, gender, and ethnicity, and found some comfort from the lyrics.
ARMY in New York / "It covers a lot of aspects of people's lives. That's what I really love about them. They are really real and raw."
ARMY in Paris / "BTS gives emotional support and love to people. Everyone loves BTS."
BTS has become a true artist who saves discouraged younger generation through music.
When the fans learned how to love themselves through BTS' music, BTS had put incessant efforts to be what it is today.
When the public pointed out some misogynic implication in lyrics, BTS released an official statement of apology and asked for advises to better understand gender sensibility.
The group established 'LOVE MYSELF' fund last year, and donated 400 million won (approximately 351 thousand dollars) to ensure children's violence-free life.
In January 2017, BTS also donated 100 million won (approximately 86 thousand dollars) to the bereaved families of the Sewol Ferry disaster.
Fans welcomed BTS' goal to spread positive influence to the society.
ARMYs participated in blood donation project in celebration of a member's birthday, and donated to 'Justice for the Comfort Women' to help the victims sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army during World War II.
BTS' dream to make the world a better place is slowly but surely building its shape.
The ultimate inspiration of BTS' music.
The seven boys who stepped out from their own limitations wished to deliver a certain message.
BTS humbly expressed the message during the 'Hwagwan' Order of Cultural Merit acceptance speech.
RM / "I attribute all this glory to ARMYs. Thank you."
JIN / "Many people sing our songs in Korean and tell us that they've been learning Korean. I felt very proud, and we will do our best to promote our culture."
V / "I really don't know how to express my feelings in my heart. ARMYs, I'm not the type of person who express my feelings well, but I'd like to say that I thank you and love you all so much.
I wish everyone here to have only good days. Thank you."
SUGA / "From Billboard 200 No.1, Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, to speech at UN. We will spread Korean music with the mindset of nation's ambassadors. Thank you."
JIMIN / "Our leader always gave the speech, so my heart is about to explode to give this speech. I wanted to say thank you for being with us throughout this journey, and this award belongs to you. We will do our best to give a positive influence to people. Thank you so much."
JUNGKOOK / "Honestly, this award is still more than what we deserve, but we will gratefully accept it as to work harder. We will contribute to promote Korean culture all around the world. Thank you."
J-HOPE / "It is a prestigious award with efforts and passion from so many staff members, blood and sweat from BTS, and powerful cheers and supports from ARMYs all across the globe. We will keep giving a great performance to become hope of pop culture. Thank you so much. I love you ARMY!"
The boys who never stick to their status quo and constantly pursue their dreams.
Just like the members' wish, BTS is certainly building a positive social consensus.
When the group first topped Billboard last June, the members visited SBS News studio and shared their thoughts.
JUNGKOOK / "There are just so many things, so many good things that we have seen from the existence of our fans. That is why we are here today."
V / "BTS exists because of ARMY. If ARMYs were not here, we do not exist."
RM / "We will value our precious things, so please believe in us."
JIMIN / "If possible, I would like to be with you always, and create precious, beautiful memories together."
SUGA / "I hope we could give our fans good feelings, and our fans give us good feelings."
JIN / "I just wanted to say thank you for always being with us. I love you all."
J-HOPE / "Fall like a morning glory, like that beautiful moment, I want to be with you. Thank you so much."
'花樣年華(hwa-yang-yeon-hwa)', which is also the title of BTS' album, means "the most beautiful moment in one's lifetime".
For BTS, the present day would be the most beautiful moment in their lifetime.
When BTS' music further embraces not only themselves but more people, their beautiful moment will last forever and aye.