BTS: “Permission to Dance” and its Response

Screenshot from the “Permission to Dance” MV featuring Jeon Jungkook, Jung Hoseok (J-Hope), Kim Seokjin (Jin), Min Yoongi (Suga), Kim Taehyung (V), Kim Namjoon (RM), and Park Jimin. Copyright goes to BTS and the Hybe Corporation.

Hey! Hallie here!

One of the major things I was excited to talk about once I returned from vacation was “Permission to Dance”. BTS has been releasing tons of content recently. So much that they’ve become my main source of entertainment for the past few weeks. And that’s even without ‘Run BTS’ episodes! There’s a lot to love about “Permission to Dance” and its music video. But along with diving into these things, I want to talk a bit about the controversy that surrounded this song after it came out. That leaves a lot to cover, so let’s get into this!

The Song:

I’m going to be honest here, “Permission to Dance” isn’t really my thing. I tend to prefer songs that are either more adrenaline pumping or more calming and whimsical. Putting my personal preferences aside though, this song isn’t bad at all! The lyrics have a nice positive message without being necessarily deep, and that’s completely fine! Not every song needs a deep meaning! Ed Sheeran captured a lot of the happiness BTS has been trying to spread recently and I commend him for that. However, if you aren’t an Ed Sheeran fan you might not like this song. He had a big hand in creating it and, if you’re familiar with his work, it’s really evident. But his writing is by no means poor here. It’s a really catchy song that feels very empowering for those who have been going through hard times due to the state of the world right now. Moving past the writing aspect, BTS sings this song really well. There are some crazy notes that Jimin hits that some thought were fake until he performed the song live. Jungkook, as usual, mesmerizes you whenever his part comes up. I also feel that Taehyung and Jin’s richer tones really stand out in this song. And I can’t get over the rap line in this song. Hoseok has given us by far the most singing between the three of them and it’s such a pleasure to hear him brought forward here for a singing part. Namjoon kicks off this song with his voice and I have no idea why he says he can’t sing. His deeper register is so satisfying to hear. As for Yoongi, his part of the song is equally adorable and impressive. I’m not sure if these three are necessarily comfortable with taking up more singing roles in the future, but I know I’ll remain ecstatic every time I get to hear them sing.

The MV:

This music video was so adorable! First off, I want to talk about the choreography. It’s really simple, but it’s so fun to watch that you want to join right in. It feels like it was made for a large amount of people to be able to follow along, and that really goes with the whole message of the song. My favorite part of it is the incorporation of sign language. It’s such a thoughtful addition to the choreo. Moving on, let’s talk about the outfits in this video! I can’t say I expected the Western theming, but it looks really good! The first set of outfits really go for that fringe look. The outfit that stands out most to me here is actually Taehyung’s. While I appreciate the whites and blacks that we see from a lot of the other outfits, the flowy red ensemble on Tae along with the black fringe on his pants gave him some interesting movement and boldness. Halfway through the video they change to the denim outfits. These are also really flattering. I have two standouts here. The first goes to J-Hope simply for pulling off that whole detached jeans look. The shorts with differing leg lengths plus the jean bottom look on the top of his boots could look ridiculous. And yet, Hobi pulls it off. The other stand out, more because I actually love this outfit, belongs to Jin. The incredibly low neck on Jin bias wrecked every ARMY who watched the video. Add in the distressed jeans and the really fun black necklace and I couldn’t look away. Another major thing I enjoyed in this MV was the diversity of everyone in it. There were people of various ages, genders, and races throughout the entire video. The MV was going for a feel of togetherness as we look toward the hopeful end of quarantine and the sheer amount of people we got to see gleefully dancing in this video drove that point home. It’s just a really fun video that puts you in a good mood.

The Controversy:

A lot of people were really supportive of BTS after this release. Who could be upset at all of the positivity they’re spreading? And now that the song is at the top of the Billboard Hot 100, there’s even more proof that ARMY has their back with this release. But there was still a lot of pushback. At first there was some understandable concern from ARMYs. There’s always reason to be concerned about the stupid comments BTS are going to receive from mostly the American media when they release an English song. A lot of the media seems under the impression that every time BTS releases a song in English they’re suddenly going to shift to catering directly to English audiences. All of that is incredibly frustrating for both BTS and ARMYs to deal with. But after this we saw people demanding BTS return to Korean songs and some of their darker concepts. I often prefer their Korean songs because their Korean songs have a more personal touch as a result of being mostly written by the members. But BTS is allowed to branch out. They’re allowed to experiment with English and Japanese and reach out to more audiences. They’re allowed to explore different themes and messages. They can make their own decisions and they choose not to limit themselves. Why should anyone be angry at that? Especially because all of the things they release, no matter what language they’re in, are quality. I said above that “Permission to Dance” isn’t necessarily my taste. But I appreciate the work they put into it and the diversity of their skills. If their newest release isn’t your favorite, go back to the songs that you do like. Don’t demand they only make music that suits you specifically. How does demanding BTS cater to your interests make you any better than the American media?

Those are my thoughts on “Permission to Dance”! I might not return to it as much as their other songs, but I love to see how many people are enjoying this song. It’s giving a lot of people genuine happiness and hope for the future. Plus, another round of really good performances to obsess over. It might not have hit me as hard as “Butter”, but it makes me smile. I love it for that.

Don’t do anything fun until I get back!


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