BTS: Be Open About the Future

Promotional image of (from left) Kim Namjoon, Jeon Jungkook, Kim Seokjin, Park Jimin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, and Kim Taehyung. Copyright goes to BTS and HYBE.

Hi! It’s Annie!

First, I want to say that I know that this topic can be a bit hard for some ARMY. That is completely understandable and if it means that you want to skip over this post, that is also very understandable. This post is mostly going to talk about what BTS has discussed about future steps and some possible what ifs after some more recent news came out. Mainly, I want to talk about how we need to calm a bit down over the prospect of BTS having a longer or even more indefinite hiatus. Mostly because, if BTS makes a decision for any reason there’s a lot that’s going to go into it. And the only thing we can really expect from them right now (and really the only thing we should be expecting from them) is for them to make the best decision for them. The last thing I want for any of them is feeling the weight of the world on their shoulders, which they have been feeling far too much recently. I’m going to go into all of this. Once again, feel free to skip out on this post if you need to. I’m just going to jump into it!

The Break:

When BTS announced that they were taking a small break, everyone freaked out. And I mean EVERYONE. While fans were constantly battling back the fear (and accusations from non-ARMYs) that they might break up; South Korea as a whole seemed to freak out as well. For those of you who don’t know, BTS is so influential to the South Korean economy that they bring an estimated $3.6 billion to their economy. That’s more than agriculture brings to the economy of South Korea. Obviously, this is both insane and a position that no other group has ever come close to in the history of worldwide music. So when BTS announced a break and the South Korean government noticed that they may lose money; fans were no longer the only people hoping that the break wouldn’t be for long. In fact, certain companies and even members of the government started insisting that BTS immediately come back from their break. The issue is that coming back from that break is not an option. And it shouldn’t have been considered an option at all by fans or members of the government. I can’t stress this enough; BTS took this break for their mental health. And as someone who has definitely experienced her fair share of mental health struggles, this is incredibly important. It’s not only important for them to take breaks for their mental health because we all need them to look after their mental health as much as they look after their physical health. But it’s also important because BTS is currently one of the main mediums to bring mental health up as a constant message in mass media. If they’re all great role models for mental health; showing that you should take a break for yourself when you need it, is a great way to continue that. And South Korea, a country who has admitted to having mental health issues, encouraging them to come back from that break doesn’t send the best message.

Solo Work:

BTS went further to say that we wouldn’t not be receiving content at all, but that the break was also partially so that they could focus on solo projects. Obviously, Hobi has also released the main solo project he’s been working on. We know that all of them announced that they would be releasing solo albums and that Namjoon feels his will be coming next with possibly Jimin’s not that far behind. Other than that, it’s been clear that they’ve all also been exploring their individual likes. Hobi has been experimenting with his own music, Yoongi has been moving forward on more producing projects, Jin has been enjoying doing whatever he wants whenever he wants (yay for self care!), Namjoon has been looking into art and even art curation, Jungkook has been experimenting with more collaborations, Jimin has been working hard on bringing as many influential people together for his album as possible, and Taehyung has been falling head first into the fashion industry. Obviously, this is all of their interests no matter if they involve music or not. Which is important for them! Their solo projects don’t necessarily mean content that ARMY get. And I know that many ARMY are thrilled that we’ve been getting so much media despite the announcement of a break, but I think we should probably guide our happiness towards other things. Such as the fact that they’ve all been trying to find themselves. Content is great, but constant content is also partly what caused a burnout and I don’t want them to think that we expect it for them even during their break. But, by all means, let’s be thrilled about what they do give us!

Mandatory Military Service:

Once again, for the umpteenth time, the discussion regarding mandatory military service for BTS has been picking up again. I still have no idea what the verdict will end up being, as it has gone back and forth so much. Recently, some government officials have suggested the possibility of having BTS do performances for South Korea during their mandatory military service. The responses to this suggestion were incredibly mixed and confused. Some people were happy that they would be able to perform but were still disappointed at the prospect of them having to go at all. Personally, everything about this suggestion angered me. I am of the camp that, especially with how much they’ve contributed to the economy, they’ve done enough to deserve an exemption. But as someone who doesn’t live in South Korea, I know that I don’t have as much context involving this issue as many would. However, this suggestion seems to be focusing on forcing BTS to both participate in mandatory military service and come back from their break. The suggestion, which was of course meant to sound like a kind gesture towards them, feels incredibly controlling in my eyes. BTS has already agreed to represent South Korea in future projects, but this doesn’t just feel like that. This feels like a blatant disregard for their break and mental health. I don’t know what will happen, but this suggestion is not something I agree with at all. And right now I’m honestly hoping that if BTS doesn’t blatantly express that they want this; that this is the last suggestion that will be taken seriously.

Dissolution:

I know that word I just wrote up there freaks everyone out; but hear me out for a minute. I am not at all saying that I think they should disband, but I am absolutely saying that we should all be more open and supportive towards the idea. Firstly, a dissolution of the group wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. There have been several groups that have disbanded and gotten back together, sometimes several times, after a couple years; after which they expressed that they felt revitalized and much better after having taken the time to rediscover themselves outside of the group. Which is partly why BTS decided to take a break in the first place. A dissolution wouldn’t necessarily have to be permanent. The main reason why I bring this up is because of the discussions many of the members seem to be having. The point of Hobi’s track ‘Arson’ is to express that he either needs to put out the fire he started or let it burn out of control. And Hobi has said that he’s unsure where to go from here or which he would choose. Now Namjoon has expressed that he’s interested that the fans seem to be worried that BTS will disappear because he personally is afraid that the fans will disappear. He even stated that it must be part of the fan-creator relationship. Even if they decide to disband, I don’t think any of them would go away. Most of them would still be involved in the industry with their own interests. But with South Korea so reliant on them, it’s now feeling more and more like dissolution, at least for a little while, might be the only way for them to get the break that they deserve. And though dissolution seems scary, I want to be supportive if that’s something that they decide on. Because really, I want my happiness of this group to be more reliant on them also being happy and not necessarily on getting more content. And I’m sure the amount of content wouldn’t completely stop even if they did disband. Because they would probably be doing solo projects. Do I want them to disband? No. Am I saying that we should expect them to? Also, no. But I want to be supportive of whatever they decide to do in response of the continuing pressure they’re under.

I didn’t make this post to scare anyone. But if BTS decided to actually call it off officially, even for a little while, it shouldn’t be about us. It should be about whatever is best for them and whatever makes them happy. They would probably still have continuing careers for us to follow and K-Pop itself is growing. There are other groups that people have found through BTS that could still keep the public interest in K-Pop going. BTS certainly opened the door and led the way; but it would be unfair to say that they are still the only ones holding the door open. BTS has a career forever if that’s what will make them happy, but we should be open to whatever they choose that might make them happy. Even if it is dissolution, or career changes, or settling down and having families, or whatever they decide! The main purpose of this post is to say that our support of them shouldn’t be contingent on them making music as a group. Let’s support them in whatever they do and whatever they decide! Because what they decide will be a new and exciting beginning; not a permanent and horrible ending.

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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