The Completely Arbitrary BTS Awards!
Silver Linings #42
Hi, and welcome back to Silver Linings where I'm closing out a terrible year with seven rays of sunshine.
2021 was almost as bad a year as 2020 was. With additional COVID variants, political upheaval, and economies that are anything but stable, it's easy to feel the need to dive under the covers and hope it all goes away. However, unlike last year where I felt the need to vent at terrible movies and video games just to regain some level of sanity, this year I was able to keep my head by listening to the seven guys that flat-out define K-Pop.
Yeah, I'm finally going to talk about BTS. I've deliberately avoided it for so long only because, well, EVERYONE talks about them! Pop music discourse these days doesn't even happen without RM or Jimin being brought up somewhere. What can I possibly add to the conversation?
Well, I decided to end the year by just having a little fun. Inspired by a couple of times that the office I work in has given out arbitrary awards for various things like "Best Hair" or "Funniest", I'm going to do the same thing with a selection of videos by BTS as a group and even by some of the members' solo work. Just like the awards themselves, the presentation order is completely arbitrary.
Sorry, guys, I don't have actual trophies to hand out, but I'm sure there's someone in the ARMY that can give you something.
The "Point Of No Return" Award - "Just One Day"
This song represented a complete change in direction for the group. Before, BTS was trying to be a hardcore hip-hop group. "Just One Day" moved them more to the upbeat pop side of the spectrum and was such a success that you have to wonder why they didn't start there in the first place. After this song, the only hardcore tracks were in Suga and RM's solo work, and that's perfectly fine.
The "True Playa" Award - "War of Hormone"
Of course, my favorite BTS song (and #13 on my Hot 100 overall) had to get an award, and this one is directed at V. He clearly has fun playing to the female fans in this video with his antics, and he even gets the girl at the end. Smooth, man!
The "BFF" Award - "Boy With Luv"
Since breaking through to the pop mainstream here, BTS has collaborated with several major American acts including Nicki Minaj and Megan Thee Stallion. However, most of the collaborations felt disconnected. Only their work with Halsey in "Boy With Luv" felt like a genuine team, and their interactions outside the video felt just as genuine. All eight of them looked like they were having the most fun imaginable!
The "Belongs in the Louvre" Award - "Blood Sweat & Tears"
This is one of the most artistically gorgeous music videos ever made. I really don't have to say anything else. Just watch it if you haven't already.
The "Where's My Oscar?" Award - "I Need U"
I have to respect the music videos that try to tell a story separate from the songs they're attached to. "I Need U" does that with mute tales of the guys trying to reconcile having fun together to escape day-to-day pain. While the connection to the song is tenuous at best, the video tells compelling stories regardless.
The "Mixed Signals" Award - "For You"
While it is quite common over there, it still seems weird to me for a Korean act to do a song specifically for the Japanese market, not just translating one of their existing Korean songs. However, "For You" pulls it off with a charming little lullaby that one could easily imagine getting on to a karaoke playlist. While it may always seem weird to me, at least it's clear BTS knows their audiences everywhere.
The "Where's The Fire?" Award - "Shadow"
Rapid-fire rapping is something to be respected. The rap line of the group (RM, Suga & J-Hope) don't get to bust it at high speed that often, but Suga's track "Shadow" makes up for that. Suga spits his lyrics fast enough to make Eminem and Busta Rhymes jealous!
The "Simple Elegance" Award - "Spring Day"
While most of their videos tend to be grandiose with elaborate staging and huge dance numbers, BTS can make simple stuff work, too. Their video for "Spring Day" is as gentle as the song it's attached to. It's actually very peaceful to watch.
The "Fun With Greenscreen" Award - "Outro: Ego"
Greenscreen-intensive videos have been a thing since music videos began. The guys in BTS have used a lot of greenscreen throughout their careers, but the video for J-Hope's solo track "Ego" clearly has the most fun with it. The video director just seemed to get a kick out of putting him in crazy settings that make WackyLand from Tiny Toon Adventures look conservative.
The "Want Some Salsa?" Award - "Airplane Part 2"
BTS never had any qualms about drawing from diverse musical styles for their own work, but I never thought that adding Latin flavor would work so well for them. That is, until this track came along. The instrumentation is so legit that I could imagine this song playing at a Mexican restaurant (though the Korean lyrics may seem odd to the people who work there).
The "Ben-Hur-Level Epic" Award - "On" (Kinetic Manifesto Film)
You want grand scale? Here you go! This is some of the most intense choreography put into any of their videos. Seriously, their stage shows don't get this intense!
The "Extra Credit" Award - "Daydream"
All of the rappers put out their own mixtapes, but J-Hope's was simply the one that I enjoyed listening to the most with "Daydream" leading the charge. It is simply one of the most upbeat rap tracks I've heard in a long time, and the video is just as joyous.
The "Nothing But Sunshine" Award - "Permission To Dance"
Let's face it; this past summer desperately needed some sunshine, especially in the music world. BTS provided that in abundance. "Permission To Dance" is one of the most upbeat and optimistic songs I've heard in a long time. If only it came out in time for me to put it on my upbeat playlist last year...
The "John Woo Approved" Award - "N.O"
This early video is a four-minute-long action movie. It revolves around the guys fighting a tyrannical regime. It's just awesome!
The "Ants In The Pants" Award - "Dope"
This video has some the group's fastest and most outright spastic dance choreography. Anyone trying to copy it would get wiped out the first try. Hell, it exhausts me just watching it!
The "Rosetta Stone" Award - "Chicken Noodle Soup"
Anyone familiar with BTS knows that English is often mixed with Korean in their work. However, no one planned for Spanish to be added to the mix before J-Hope teamed up with Becky G for this one-off track. The fusion worked in every way that it was possible to work. Bravo!
Congrats on a great year, BTS, and here's hoping that 2022 is a great year for everyone. I had fun writing this one; let me know if you want to see more. Take care, everybody!
About the Creator
Twelve years writing about games, movies, music, etc. and counting! At least one new article every month! I'm also writing movies, writing a children's book & hosting the gaming channel "Cool Media" on YouTube! Enjoy & find me on Twitter!
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