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Genius Bonus / BTS

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Several of BTS' lyrics, music videos and performances make references to art, science, literature, philosophy, and psychology, among other things, often leading to cases of Genius Bonus.

  • "Whalien 52" is based on the Real Life 52-hertz whale, a specimen also known as the "world's loneliest whale" due to the unusual frequency of its call making it unable to be heard by other whales.
  • WINGS in its entirety is inspired by and references Hermann Hesse's Demian. The "Blood, Sweat and Tears" music video has a lot of visual references to key characters and scenes, and features a passage from the book read by RM. The teasers and the "Intro: Boy Meets Evil" comeback trailer are all also introduced by Namjoon reading different passages.
  • RM's verse in the original version of "Mic Drop" has the line "Right will eventually prevail/ Once upon a time/ Aesop's Fables fly". Aesop's Fables (being the Trope Namer for An Aesop) always have a moral lesson in the end.
    • The verse could also be referencing the fly from The Bald Man and the Fly, where said bald man stops trying to kill the fly buzzing around his head because he realizes doing so could hurt him, concluding that "you will only injure yourself if you take notice of despicable enemies". This ties to the main theme of "Mic Drop": a last goodbye to the haters who vainly hoped for BTS' failure due to them not being a cause of concern anymore.
  • The title of the song "134340" is a reference to Pluto's new name after it stopped being considered a planet. The rest of the song has similar references to Pluto, Greek Mythology, and astronomy in general.
  • "Paradise" has the lyric "Marathon, marathon/ Life is long, travel slowly/ 42.195". 42.195 km is the official metric distance of a marathon.
  • "DDAENG"'s lyrics are filled with a plethora of Korean cultural references, including many to the 섰다 card game. It also has the lyric "Frogs live up to their name/ Hope you die inside a well", which is a reference to the proverb (which itself came from a tale) "A frog in a well", referring to a person with narrow/limited views, who believes that what they see and know is the whole and absolute truth.
  • The MAP OF THE SOUL: PERSONA album references Carl Jung's Map of the Soul and the four steps of the process of individuation, namely Persona, Ego, Shadow and Self. "Persona", in particular, is a social face or mask the individual presents to the world (with masks also being a recurring theme in the LOVE YOURSELF series).
    • The concept photos of all four versions of the album are related to the concept of how people present themselves to the rest of the world: the members taking photos of themselves (version 1); standing, posing or doing their hair in front of a mirror (version 2); clearly pre-composed photos (to the point of looking like postcards) of the members posing with flowers next to a front door, complete with a jacket on a coat hanger on the side (version 3); posing with grapes and expensive clothes and jewelry in a way reminiscent of a Renaissance painting, much like how celebrities present themselves in society (version 4).
    • The first track of MAP OF THE SOUL: PERSONA, "Intro: Persona", is, as the title says, based on the concept of personas, which RM relates to his own double-identity as "RM" (the celebrity, the mask he presents to the world) and "Kim Namjoon" (the real, private person with doubts and fears).
      • The music video also features him wearing a jacket with the phrase "Pay no attention to The Man Behind the Curtain", a quote from The Wizard of Oz (said by Oz after he's exposed to be a man rather than the wizard he pretended to be).
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    • The "Boy With Luv" music video heavily references the film Singin' in the Rain, including the "Broadway Melody" scene in the bridge and final chorus. Not only does the film also follow the theme of personas - with Lina Lamont being a case of Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and Nice Character, Mean Actor, as well as needing to have her acting and singing voice secretly dubbed by another woman during the Rise of the Talkies -, but the "Broadway Melody" scene also has a self-contained story where personas, fame and pursuing your own passion appear as themes, as pointed out here.
  • "Jamais Vu" is a psychology term that describes the opposite effect to a dejá vu, being that of experiencing something that one recognizes as familiar, but is felt as if it's being experienced for the first time. This is appropriate as the song "Jamais Vu" is about the main plot of the BTS Universe: a young man going back in time over and over again, painfully trying and failing repeatedly to save his friends from tragic fates.
  • Dionysus is the Greek god of (among other things) wine, drinking, grape harvest, fertility, religious ecstasy and theater. The track "Dionysus" (also from PERSONA) is about BTS dealing with fame, talking literally about drinking but also about getting "drunk" on art, fame and creation. It also mentions a "thyrsus" by name, a symbol associated with Dionysus, and includes it in live performances.
    • The concept pictures of Version 4 of the album show the members posing with grapes (also associated with Dionysus) while dressed in expensive clothes and jewelry in poses that evoke luxury, referencing yet again another thing associated with Dionysus, hedonism.


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