It can be said that every few years or so, the K-Pop performer(s) that serve as the “face” of the genre outside South Korea, particularly to western audiences, would change. For example, the Wonder Girls got some attention in 2008 with “Nobody,” then come 2012-13 PSY dominated with “Gangnam Style.” These days however, K-Pop boy band BTS serves as the tip of the spear that is the current iteration of the “Korean Wave.” They regularly perform overseas and even got their own mobile game recently. But considering their grueling schedule to be so popularly visible, the fact that they announced an activity hiatus was actually received positively by their fandom.
TIME reports that the Bangtan Boys, better known as BTS, will be taking some time off from their public performances and activities according to their talent label BigHit Entertainment. The word came out over the weekend and is construed to be the first significant hiatus the group has undertaken ever since they became breakout stars in 2013, six years ago. In all that time the seven-man boy band has been flitting from album production to concert touring and media appearances non-stop. BigHit emphasized the “official” nature of BTS’ “extended period of rest” in its announcement.
The South Korean entertainment firm described the hiatus as an opportunity for the band members recharge and prepare to present themselves anew as musicians and creators, adding in its statement that in that period the ensemble of Jin, Suga, J-Hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jungkook can take time to enjoy their 20-something young adult lives as simply Kim Seok-jin, Min Yoon-gi, Jung Ho-seok, Kim Nam-joon, Park Ji-min, Kim Tae-hyung and Jeon Jung-kook. BigHit did not specify the length of the BTS hiatus in its statement, instead only advising fans to give the boys their privacy.
Like any major celebrity individual or group, BTS has its own solid local and international fandom, collectively known as the ARMY. On Sunday following the announcement of the group’s extended break, they proved themselves to be absolutely supportive of their idols, by flooding social media platforms with anything from well-wishes to playful threats of calling the band out if they do any new work before the year is out. The fact that BigHit was quiet on how long BTS will be on hiatus also feels like an exercise for the ARMY regarding a time in the future when the group’s longest break yet will be for their mandatory military service.
Following their 2013 rise to prominence, BTS has already rolled out six albums, six EPs, held concerts in five continents, maintained a constant social media presence and even addressed the UN General Assembly. And their mobile game is out too.
Image courtesy of CNN Philippines