I am so proud of the BTS boys right now. They are certainly on a roll right now, dazzling the world back in August with “Dynamite”– their very first song completely in English which topped charts around the world and smashed records- and they are only continuing to impress. Yesterday, they took over MTV with an Unplugged session and the band gave some brilliant and intimate performances of their songs as well as one surprise cover.
Their short but sweet album BE– released back in November- had some great tracks on it that were often overlooked due to the popularity of “Dynamite”. There’s no doubt that English speaking countries clearly favoured “Dynamite” due the English lyrics and so the other songs- with the exception of “Life Goes On”- didn’t really get much mainstream attention in the west. Their unplugged session with MTV was a great opportunity to highlight some of the songs from BE that are in the Korean language. Their performances were top notch and you can tell that they really enjoyed the opportunity to publicly perform some of their other music from BE. Of course, they did sing “Dynamite” too but sometimes I feel like they are getting a little sick of performing it. I mean, it is mostly all they have been asked to perform in the last six months. I love the song and even I’m getting a little sick of it. Only a little though.
As well as “Dynamite”, BTS performed the sombre “Blue and Grey”- which was written by member Kim Taehyung a.k.a V- , “Telepathy”- which is an awesomely cheerful bop that is so underrated so please go listen to it- “Life Goes On”- another popular hit that led the BE album- and that surprising cover that I mentioned which was Coldplay’s “Fix You”. This was definitely a highlight of the session, with the band impressively displaying their improved English with the cover song. I have to say that I really did feel spectacularly proud of them hearing them cover this. I’ve been learning Korean for about four months now and it has made me realise how the Korean language really does not translate well to English. It’s incredibly awkward and very difficult to even attempt to translate. You know those English subtitles you’ll see if you’re watching a K-Drama or something? They are never, ever exact translations because they just can’t be. Their language works differently to English, so it cannot translate perfectly no matter how hard you try. It made me all the more impressed by RM’s flawless English but also very aware of why it can be hard for native Korean speakers to fluently translate to or speak English and vice versa. Sentences and vocabulary are all arranged entirely differently to what we know in English, so hearing them cover “Fix You” almost flawlessly is so impressive. Especially when you consider how they have grown and progressed with their English skills over the years. I never thought it was easy for them but learning their language is giving me a huge insight into how challenging it must be, not to mention how nerve wracking it must be to be singing and speaking another language in front of an audience of millions.
BTS were joined by a live band during some of their performances, which added an element of intimacy and gave both the band and their musicians a chance to shine and show off their talents. There is no doubting that BTS are one of the most talented bands out there at the moment- and no, I’m not just saying that because I’m fangirling. I mean, I AM fangirling but that is not the point here. They really have great talent as artists and I hope that the west continues to embrace them. “Dynamite” was their most popular hit but I think they deserve more love for their songs in their native tongue. They shouldn’t have to create English songs to be popular in the west. Their talent should speak for itself and be able to transition across all countries. Music is music after all, no matter what language you speak.
Some little things I want to mention about the MTV Unplugged sessions as I can’t help myself:
SUGA is back! We missed you Min Yoongi! Don’t leave us again.
Blonde Jungkook is still a heartbreaker.
Again, I cannot stress how proud I am of their collective English in that “Fix You” cover. There’s also something to be said for the fact that Coldplay are incredibly protective of their music and rarely allow or approve of covers, going so far as to turn down deals worth millions for fear that their music will not be respected. Not only were they happy for BTS to perform one of their most iconic and important songs, the indie British band also took to Twitter to show their appreciation of the cover and the band by tweeting a message of love in Korean. If that doesn’t show how respected they are as artists, I don’t know what does.
J-Hope, SUGA and RM’s deep vocals in “Fix You”…seriously, let these guys sing as well as rap. They are multitalented kings.
Jimin’s English has come so far. I’m so proud of our mochi.
V’s song “Blue & Grey” is so great. I’m glad it got a moment to shine here. It is a testament to his song writing skill (SUGA, RM, J-Hope also had a hand in writing it as well as musicians Levi, Metaphor, Hiss Noise and Park Ji-Soo) as well as his ability to convey feelings of depression and isolation through a sombre pop ballad. He’s also a brilliant actor too. Go watch the drama series Hwarang and you’ll see what I mean. Kim Taehyung never ceases to amaze me.
Last but not least, my bias Jin needs some praise for being beautiful, talented and highly underrated as always. His range though. Those high notes. I cannot stress this enough but Kim Seokjin, you have my heart.
Check out the BTS: MTV Unplugged performances below.