Ernst Fischer once said:
In a decaying society, art if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, art must show world as changeable. And help to change it.
For some artists, the perception of their art lies in its effect on the society. Sometimes, their works tend to comment on events and at other occasions, they tend to celebrate positive changes. Bob Marley is one big example.
BTS and the social commentary
BTS since their debut has made it clear to their fans that their music is not just about fun. They call themselves MC of Youth and they have a “purpose” that one can sense in their songs and videos.
Rap Monster has been quite vocal about social issues affecting societies around the world but he, along with other members of the group, specifically focuses quite a lot on the young generation. Almost all of their singles lay emphasis on the importance of hard work, the prerequisite condition of making dreams come true.
No wonder why Seo Taiji chose the group for the comeback. Seo Taiji and Boys were one of the first groups who showed the hardships of youth in South Korean society and brought a major change in the world of music with their works.
Criticising delusive trends
In their new album, BTS did not shy away from commenting on trends killing youth. Their single “Go Go” talks about YOLO culture. YOLO an abbreviation for “You Only Live Once”, tends to favor reckless spending and consumerism over saving and contemplation. Draped in positive and upbeat music, the boys lure fans into the culture. But their facial expressions make it clear that there is a dangerous path ahead. If one observes the group’s comeback performance for the single, one can easily make out that there is a hidden meaning into their celebration.
The constant repetition is a deliberate tactic through which the terms lose their meaning till the song reaches its end.
As mentioned above, “Go Go” is not the first song that talks about youth. Songs like No More Dream, Cypher series, Dope, Run, Spring Day, 1!2!3! and others take up different aspects of teenage life and comment on them.
Vocalizing pain in different ways
Even outside of their group projects, the boys don’t deviate from their job. In his solo single “Change”, Rap Monster, in collaboration with Wale, brought forth the issues the world is facing. Vocal about racism and suppressive educational system, Rap Monster offered hope and active participation as the solution. Even the song itself is one way the artist participated in the movement.
Suga too, in his solo “Agust D”, he talked about his depression and how anxiety took over his confidence during his musical journey. When artists shy away from talking about their struggles because it might show their vulnerable side, Suga made a point to make people realize that paving on the road to their dreams is not a piece of cake to walk.
Under the influence of people like Suga and Rap Monster, the whole group has generated a sensibility that provokes them to think and then act. This is one of the reasons why they gel quite well with international fans.