BTS are basically the Korean equivalent of the Beatles—not necessarily in stature (at least not yet, though we’ll see what happens in another ten years), but in their combination of a boy-band image and sophisticated, almost arthouse-level musical experimentation. This song, despite being their biggest hit, is often dismissed as catchy-but-shallow radio filler, with even some of the group’s fans seeming to almost resent its success and implying it was only such a big hit because the lyrics were entirely in English.
Well, great Pop uptunes have always been easy to take for granted. Great ballads get all the outpourings of adoration they deserve, but the artistry that goes into even the most outstanding upbeat, “fun” Pop music tends to be largely ignored…look at “Uptown Funk” or, going a few decades further back, the Proclaimers’ “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)”. And this is yet another example of that all-too-common phenomenon.
The truth is that this is a fantastic song, perfectly crafted and balanced and infused with a genuine sense of life-affirming joy that, if I may say so, was particularly needed at the time that the song came out. Granted, the song does lose some of its impact when heard simply as a single (as the climax of the sorrow-to-ecstasy crescendo that is the Be album, its joy becomes almost transcendent), but that’s true of almost any song from an album-oriented act like BTS. At any rate, this is a masterful achievement that deserves far more respect than it has ever gotten from either the critics or the group’s own fans, and it earned every bit of its success.
Verdict: I’m not arguing that this is the absolute best song the group ever wrote…that’s a title with a hefty amount of competition…but I do think its status as their biggest hit to date was earned by merit rather than simply by breaking the language barrier.