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Being a heavily Hip-Hop-influenced group with a drive to send a message to the youth, the members of BTS have a lot to say.


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    Song lyrics 

The media and adults say we don’t have willpower, condemning us like stocks
Why are they killing us before we can even try? (enemy! enemy! enemy!)
Why are you hanging your head and accepting it already? (energy! energy! energy!)
Don’t ever give up, you know you not lonely
Our dawn is prettier than the day
So can I get a little bit of hope? (yeah)
Wake your sleeping youth, go!
"Dope"

This moment feels like it’ll last forever but the sun is setting
When the night comes again, reality gets destroyed
When I snap out of it, I’m just a scared idiot again
I keep getting scared at the looming sense of reality
Others are running ahead but why am I still here?
"Intro: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life"

We are still young and immature, don’t even worry about it
Moss surely grows on a stone that doesn’t roll
If you can’t return, go straight through your mistakes and forget them all
Never mind
It’s not easy but engrave it onto your chest
If you feel like you’re going to crash then accelerate more, you idiot
"Intro: Nevermind"

Lonely lonely lonely whale
Like this, try calling once again
Until this song that doesn’t have a response
Reaches tomorrow...
"Whalien 52"

Live however you want, it’s your life anyway
Stop trying, it’s okay to lose
"Fire"

Thank you for letting me be me
For helping me fly
For giving someone like me wings
For folding me up when I'd been crumpled
For breaking me when I'd been stifled
For waking me when I'd only lived in dreams
When I think of you, the weather clears, and so
I was able to throw sadness and the like away
Thank you. For becoming an ‘us’
RM's verse in "Save Me".

It's okay even if we're not an 'us'
Even if sadness erases me,
even if dark clouds brew again
and I'm within an unending dream,
even if I'm unendingly crumpled,
even if my wings are torn,
even if one day I become someone who's not me
It's okay, for I am my own salvation
A stubborn gait definitely won't kill me; live
How you doin'? I'm fine
My sky is clear
All my pain, say goodbye
Go well
RM's verse in "I'm Fine", Sequel Song to "Save Me" (translation by doyou_bangtan).

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    Non-music quotes by BTS 

RM: Honestly, from our standpoint, every day is stressful for our generation. It’s hard to get a job, it’s harder to attend college now more than ever. Adults need to create policies that can facilitate that overall social change. Right now, the privileged class, the upper class needs to change the way they think.
Suga: And this isn't just Korea, but the rest of the world. The reason why our music resonates with people around the world who are in their teens, 20s and 30s is because of these issues.
Interview for Billboard, February 2018.

RM: [in songs like "No More Dream" and "N.O."] I was talking about my past self. There was nothing I wanted to do; just that I wanted to make a lot of money. I started the song by thinking about it as a letter written to friends who were like me in the past.
Suga: College is presented like some sort of cure-all. They say that if you go, your life will be set. They even say you’ll lose weight, get taller...
RM: That you’ll get a girlfriend...
Jin: That you’ll become better-looking...
Suga: But this isn't the reality, and they realize that was all a lie. No one else can take responsibility for you at that point. If we don’t talk about these issues, who will? Our parents? Adults? So isn't it up to us? That’s the kind of conversations we have [in the band]: Who knows best and can talk about the difficulty our generation faces? It’s us.
Billboard interview, February 2018.

Moving past right and wrong, truth and falsehood, citizens coming together and raising their voice is something that I actively support.
Suga, Billboard interview, February 2018.

I really want to say that everyone in the world is lonely and everyone is sad, and if we know that everyone is suffering and lonely, I hope we can create an environment where we can ask for help, and say things are hard when they’re hard, and say that we miss someone when we miss them.
Suga, Billboard interview, February 2018.

When I think back to when I was younger, when I was a student, I listened to a lot of music and I think it was a way for me to escape and a way for me to sort of reassure myself, and I think nowadays, teens, people in their early 20s, listen to music, but I felt, and we felt, that there really aren't a lot of good sounding, healthy music that they can listen to that really helps them, that there is a lack that we could fill… I think young people all over the world face these pains, sorrows, problems, so I think that’s why we sing these songs and I think that's why our fans and our listeners can really relate to our music

When we want to find topics and we want to find stories, it's what is in our real mind. So five years ago, in our debut, we talked about schools. And we talked about schools with three albums, and then we talked about youth with 3 albums, and then folks grow up. Our attitude towards life kinda changed a little bit, and we thought… the story the world most needs is love.
RM on the LOVE YOURSELF series, Grammy Museum conversation.

Suga: Whatever it is, if there is discrimination and prejudice in our songs, it is wrong. I agree to fix it and change it. We also study a lot, talk a lot and talk a lot. I think we can fix that point and change it.
RM: The most controversial things came from what I wrote. I thought 'I was so ignorant'. I wanted to study a lot. Since then, I have been taking examinations for professors and students at universities and colleges after I wrote lyrics. After that, I've learned that when you are talking about a specific sexuality, you should not put it all together and tell it to be like this.
Suga and RM for Chosun (November 2017), on the Unfortunate Implications in lyrics of BTS songs from their early career.

    Quotes about BTS 

BTS is the K-pop group of the moment because it balances the contradictions inherent to the genre on a genuinely global scale: The act is breaking through in America singing and rapping in Korean, creating intimacy through wide exposure on social media, expressing political ideas without stirring up controversy and inspiring fervent obsession with mild-mannered wholesomeness. It is the underdog that has arrived.
E. Alex Jung, Billboard, February 2018.

In modern South Korea, pop stars and politics don’t often mix. While some hip-hop acts (such as Epik High) address controversial topics, many idol groups stick to a slick, apolitical formula with a proven record of success.
BTS[...] have become a record-setting success story in part because of their willingness to buck this convention. The seven young men who make up the group have been speaking their minds since their debut, openly discussing LGBTQ rights, mental health and the pressure to succeed – all taboo subjects in South Korea. Their stance is particularly bold given the Korean government’s history of keeping an eye on controversial themes in pop music. By straddling the line between maintaining a respectable image and writing critical lyrics, BTS have offered a refreshing change from what some critics and fans dislike about the K-Pop machine.
Jae Ha Kim, "How BTS Are Breaking K-Pop’s Biggest Taboos", Rolling Stone, May 2018.

What BTS really try to say is "this is how we deal with our life, this is how we try to experience our joy and our hope". Like they never tell us how to do anything, it's never didactic; but, by being open themselves, they invite us to do the same thing.
Jiye Kim (doyou_bangtan), fan translator, for MTV News' BTS ARMY: Inside the World's Most Powerful Fandom.
BTS' music is "generation music". [...] It's not the ordinary topics like love or the sorrows of parting. The songs speak for the consciousness of the generation. Coloquially speaking, "socially conscious". [...] This is why so many people respond wildly to BTS. Now, this becomes important: if BTS was delivering this message, but in reality were incredibly wealthy, [...] it would be difficult to relate. But BTS was not born with a silver spoon. They started from difficult beginnings. [...] They're genuine. [...] Not decorated with shiny things. Not overly refined to be well presented by the media.

When it comes to BTS, with all their complexity, talent and desire for a better world, one doesn’t know how quite to eat them whole. The trick is that they are not just for consumption, not any more, the contemporary idol is seeking a co-collaboration with an audience that understands them; they have revolutionised how people interact with music, and now art, too. The notion that a Korean idol exists purely for the sexual objectification or entertainment of the masses is slowly slipping away. The Idol as a subject sheds a harsh light on the West’s exploitative treatment of Asia and the rest of the East, which brings out the critic in us all. [...]
Because, if anything, BTS ask us to know ourselves, to love ourselves, and speak ourselves. Despite relegating these tropes to the realms of teenage fandom, they are no easy tasks. In fact, these three missions are what our life purpose as individuals and as a human collective is all about. Perhaps what scares people most of all is the face of a self-actualised idol group, otherwise known as BTS, who are empowering an entire generation of young people (and the majority of their fan base which happen to be one of the most diverse fandoms in the world), to know, love and speak themselves. For when that day comes, there will be no more space for the intellectual imperialists who must turn their self-hate outwards and project it onto those deemed other. For when that day comes, they will love themselves, too.
Anastasia Giggins, Wallea Eaglehawk, and K-Ci Williams, "BTS Are The World's Most Revolutionary Artists Right Now: Here's Why It's Making People Uncomfortable". Hello Asia!, January 24, 2020.

On their tour around town, BTS is accosted by a cameraman outside a famous hot dog stand near Hollywood. [...] To stick to schedule, the team is forced to move a few blocks away to continue. Eventually, a few cameramen find the new location; one particularly aggressive man begins screaming about his rights to a bodyguard (the guard, not understanding English, is quite literally unmoved). Shooting is forced to wrap, and the boys step back onto the bus.
“You’re going to lose all your American fans before you even get here,” he screams after them.
“What’d he say?” they ask back on board. They seem on edge, though mostly confused by the panicked affair.
[...] Once his remarks are translated, however, the tension lessens and they laugh.
“Tell him thank you for worrying about us!” J-Hope says, smiling.
“Yeah,” Jungkook adds, “thank you so much!”
Monica Kim, "BTS Takes on L.A. With Vogue—And It’s “Hella Lit”", VOGUE, January 25, 2018.

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