K-Pop and K-Dramas: How I Somehow Ended Up in ARMY

Screenshot of BTS reacting to the ‘Dynamite’ music video on the BANGTANTV YouTube channel. From left to right, Kim Taehyung (V), Min Yoongi (Suga), Kim Seokjin (Jin), Park Jimin (Jimin), Jung Hoseok (J-Hope), Kim Namjoon (RM), and Jeon Jungkook (Jungkook). Copyright goes to BTS, their social media, and Big Hit Entertainment.

Hey! Hallie here!

So apparently this blog is just going to be a BTS stan blog for a little while. But let’s be honest, we all need a bit of the serotonin right now. To start this out, if you read my original introduction post you know BTS wasn’t on the list of bands I like. It was on Annie’s though, and she’s been the sole poster of BTS content on this blog. Obviously this is about to change. Because as much as I resisted, I now have 36 BTS songs downloaded on my phone and counting. Plus I’m now the biggest trash for my bias, Jung Hoseok. So what the hell changed? How does someone go from listening to mostly 80’s rock and My Chemical Romance to listening to BTS? Let’s go through it!

The release of the “Idol” MV: This was the first time BTS caught my attention. All of a sudden everyone was talking about the same thing no matter which social media platform you were using. The first thing I saw when I pulled up YouTube was seven guys sitting in chairs in front of an orange background. Soon afterwards there were parodies and talk-show appearances that made it to the top of Most Viewed. I watched all of them, mostly out of curiosity, and I felt instant respect for them. RM, or Namjoon, was a really well spoken guy, and even though he was the only one who could speak English fluently, the other guys were so enthusiastic to add to the conversation that I couldn’t help but feel their excitement whenever Jimin or J-Hope cut in. So why didn’t I join ARMY then? It was simply because “Idol” was the only song I’d heard from them, and it wasn’t really my thing. Given the things I usually listen to, you can probably guess why. I don’t listen to pop. But they did keep my tentative interest after “Idol”.

The 2019/2020 “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”: Yes, after “Idol” they didn’t really catch my eye until New Years this year. The reason was simple. Their music wasn’t my taste. It wasn’t something worth continuing to look into. After all, it was music for tweens and teens. But on January first, while my family was waiting for the ball to drop amidst some idle chatter, BTS came on screen. I was initially hesitant. I had seen many a teenage girl-beloved artist perform on New Years, and I hadn’t enjoyed most of those performances. What instantly struck me was, once again, how polite they were. As I observed them standing behind the show’s host, their general joyfulness was intoxicating. They were standing there politely, not lounging around or ignoring the camera, but still enjoying themselves and the atmosphere. I almost wished I was there with them. As much as I wanted to disregard them, I just couldn’t bring myself to.

The Teen Girl Conversation on TikTok: I joined TikTok right when quarantine hit. What else was I going to do with my time? I quickly followed a lot of media critiquing creators, because that’s what I love, and among them I found a conversation starting about teenage girls and the things they like. This conversation was initially aimed at BTS and Twilight, but it became so much more. Everyone was starting to talk about the general acceptance of bashing media teenage girls like. Through this I realized that I had internalized the idea that media and music teenage girls like are generally not quality. As someone who was a tween who loved the Jonas Brothers, I remember the people who would scoff at my mention of them. In turn, when One Direction came around, I scoffed at them. There’s this idea that a group of male creators who create pop songs are now a ‘boy band’ and their only demographic can be girls in their tweens and teens who don’t have taste. While ‘boy band’ is accurate, why is this title not given to My Chemical Romance or Fall Out Boy? It’s because that music doesn’t fit anyone’s idea of a group of guys surrounded by screaming, underage, fangirls. As I became aware of all of this, I also became aware that I appreciated BTS as artists and there was no reason for me to brush them off.

BLM: BLM is a movement I am hugely supportive of. So when we got news that not only was ARMY fiercely protecting the movement by spamming rival organizations with BTS memes, but that BTS donated one million dollars to BLM, I was seriously impressed. It was more than a lot of celebrities I knew were doing, especially at a time where I was struggling with MCR’s lack of comments at the beginning of the whole situation. I will forever be thankful for BTS stepping up and helping out the minute they had the opportunity to do so.

My Sister’s Obsession: It’s really hard to stay out of a fandom when someone who’s opinion you trust starts to love something so obsessively that it’s the only thing they’ll listen to. Towards the beginning of quarantine my sister started listening to whatever BTS songs she could get her hands on. That’s when I was introduced to “Blood, Sweat & Tears”. She had me watch the music video and it was gorgeous. To top it off, I really liked the song. I wasn’t completely sold that it was my type of music, but I knew that I would return to at least the one song. She bought some merch and I began to question whether or not I should as well. I started listening to a few songs, some that I liked and some that I didn’t really connect to, and I became conflicted. I learned all their names, started watching behind the scenes videos, and started a months long game of looking up BTS merch, deciding against it, then looking it up again. I was hesitant. I still don’t know why I was hesitant, but I was.

“Dynamite”: This song came at a time where most of us really needed it. It became yet another song I very much enjoyed and I definitely wasn’t the only one. 2020 has hit all of us hard, and here was a genuinely happy song that everyone could get behind. It helped me through a very difficult period for my mental health and I couldn’t help but love it for that.

The MMA 2019 Performance of “Dionysus”: My sister, knowing I was slowly but surely drifting into ARMY, rushed into my room a few weeks later with a request. She told me that BTS’ performance of “Dionysus” was the most epic thing she had ever seen on stage, and if I didn’t watch anything else, I should watch that. So I did. And now I’m in ARMY. Literally, that’s all it took to push me over. It was SO good. The dancing, the spectacle, the singing, the rapping. It was nothing like anything I’d seen before. After I watched it, I instantly started listening to BTS songs in mass and downloading them on my phone. I’m still in the process of this, but I’m getting there. “Dionysus” is definitely the song I listen to the most.

That’s it! Now I’m in ARMY and I don’t regret it for a second. For starters, everyone is so welcoming. I’m so used to seeing gate-keeping everywhere, that I wasn’t prepared to click on BTS music videos and see all the top comments be from people like me who had only joined ARMY a few days ago. The support they received was unbelievable. ARMY is so incredibly kind and lovely, and the boys’ love of the fans is indisputable. Throughout my entire journey becoming part of ARMY, through all my wrongful suspicions and conflictions, I never though I’d feel such a sense of belonging here. If you’re like me and you’re afraid to join, don’t be! Take your time! We’ll all be here to welcome you with open arms!

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!

Hallie

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