Can People Finally Stop Asking Why BTS Is So Popular Now?

Photo: Courtesy of BIGHIT MUSIC.
As the weather begins to toast up, BTS has brought the "Butter." Their latest single is a deliciously smooth and tangy synthpop bop that's already a top contender for song of the summer.
Unsurprisingly, the Korean septet broke the internet, and the video reportedly completely obliterated YouTube records left and right. According to Forbes, the "Butter" visual beat BTS' own YouTube premiere record — a milestone they achieved last summer with their Grammy-nominated hit "Dynamite" — as an estimated 3.89 million concurrent viewers tuned in to the song's midnight EST premiere. "Butter" also reportedly became the fastest music video in YouTube history to hit 10 million views (13 minutes), another record previously held by their first English-language single. This prompted many fans, called ARMY, to jokingly say that "Butter ended Dynamite" and call the latter "Dynaflop." (Having only yourself as your competition is fun).
"Butter" showcases off many of the things that make the Bangtan boys such compelling performers. Yes, there's their captivating and graceful dance moves, as well as they way their unique vocal textures collectively blend together to give the song its punch. But most importantly, the guys look like they're having a blast. Whether they're rocking black and yellow tuxedos, colorful athleisure, or slick suits, they always look so comfortable in their own skin, and happy to be serving up music that, as they say, “will melt your hearts like butter.” It's most apparent in the dance sequence near the end, in which they each do a freestyle dance in an elevator — their moves, which they said they came up with themselves on-set, couldn't be more emblematic of a team that harnesses their quirks and differences to make everyone shine brighter.
For what feels like years now, members of the media and the public have asked the question, "Why is BTS so popular?" Some will tout the group's deft use of social media, or their philanthropy work, or the rise of YouTube at just the right time, or go into explicit detail defending their music and messages. (Because the subtext is really, why are these non-white, non native English speakers popular). Nobody asks Ariana Grande or the Jonas Brothers this question. They don't need to defend themselves or explain why people like them. So, BTS don't need to either.
In fact, as they'll tell you in "Butter," let me show you 'cause talk is cheap.
Editor's note: A previous version of the article mentioned Beyoncé among the list of artists to make a point about BTS’s legitimacy compared to Western artists. This was not meant as a critique of Beyoncé, or to say that she hasn’t faced her share of racism & misogynior — just that she is extremely famous.

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