In fact, the 27-year-old member of the Korean pop group BTS insists, he and his six bandmates thrive on it.
I think it's interesting to see results from trying out these new things, he explains to TIME over Zoom with the assistance of a translator, as the others — RM, Suga, Jimin, Jung Kook and Jin — nod along. My English has improved, I already take more interest and it's even fun. V agrees: 'It wasn't an easy process, but the results were good.
The two singer-dancer performers are referring to their group's latest summer songs, 'Butter, released in May, and 'Permission to Dance, their latest from July. Both songs have major hits: 'Butter' has now reached the number one spot on Billboard Hot 100, a personal best for the septet, and was only knocked down by the first seven weeks when they replaced themselves with 'Permission to Dance.
Together, the pair of songs helped them break the record for most weeks in the top two slots in historic Songs List History, and their double substitution is also digital. These smashes follow their 2020 hit 'Dynamite", also sung in English, which achieved significant radio play and chart success last summer.
Their turn to English has generated debate among fans and critics alike, but it has also proved a failsafe recipe for success. 'Dynamite' even garnered Grammy attention this winter, because of the excellence in their music. RM, the de facto leader, is direct in his rebuttal to criticisms from those who have questioned their linguistic evolution. 'Some changes in mind, say people, he says. I don't think it is bad with language, subject and level There's no borders, boundaries, or limits. Plus, as he notes, they've been in the business for 2013; changes are warranted. 'We want transcend everything, even ourselves, he says. 'We language doesn't matter that much to us like in the past.
Indeed, what these songs are — in a nutshell — contenders for songs of summer transcends language. What we call the songs of summer are typically songs that feel like a cool breeze, easy listening songs, says Suga. That is something you will find in this paired release: two hearty confections that inspire foot tapping, regardless of whether listeners require subtitles to understand the lyrics. BTS has an extensive catalogue of albums sung and rapped in Korean and Japanese that focus on a wide range of themes: youth angst, psychology, self-actualization, and self-love. The tones of their work also reflect a broad range, from deep and intensive to buoyant and celebratory. That they have just recently made up with these more upbeat tunes is not so much a change in identity as an ongoing expansion of their repertoire and engagement with one particular side of their work.
These songs, says Jin, share energy and joy with listeners. It is fan service, too: 'For Permission to Dance' in particular, we incorporated dance moves that anyone can easily follow, says he. BTS is not new at trying to inspire fans despite the ongoing limits on travel and live performances; their ticketed virtual performances and candid engagement with followers on Weverse have helped them maintain momentum and fan connection despite the lack of touring since they were grounded in the spring of 2020. But that doesn't mean they don't have time to return to the stadiums they used to frequent. 'We've grown quite impatient to see our fans in person, Jung Kook says. Still, they remain firm about their plans going forward and their music's future. If we look at a more distant future, nothing's decided yet, says V. Hints Jin: it will be "something new". In the meantime, the permit to dance challenge videos are already piling in. Permission to dance was granted.