Welcome back to my “dad blog” newsletter. As promised, this week, I’m going to share all my thoughts around BTS and K-pop—a sentence I’d never be saying if not for my five daughters.
If you’re not familiar, K-pop is short for Korean pop music, a genre that has become popular around the world from its origin in South Korea. Many K-pop artists are boy bands, which definitely plays a role in their appeal to young women (my daughters included) across the world.
Now, I have a confession to make: I love K-pop. I really think my daughters are onto something with this music, and I’m so glad they’ve shared it with me over the years.
Here are a few of the reasons I’m a BTS stan and think you should be, too:
As you may have witnessed with your own kids, not all music has messaging that you’d be thrilled about your daughters internalizing. There’s so much music out there, and often the most popular songs are the ones with sensationalized lyrics and questionable morals. Not exactly a dad’s dream for his daughters.
Most K-pop isn’t like that at all. When I first started listening to BTS (the most popular K-pop band and a worldwide sensation, if you’re not already familiar), I was blown away at the messages behind their most popular songs. The themes are really inspiring, with messages like “you’re perfect exactly as you are.” In one song, BTS rapper Suga even raps about his first love: the piano. I love that my girls are hearing these messages on repeat.
Here’s one of my favorite (translated) lines in the BTS song “Spring Day:”
“The sun will rise again
No darkness, no season
Can last forever”
A couple more lyrics from other songs.
“Who says a dream must be something grand?
Just become anybody
We deserve a life
Whatever, big or small, you are you after all.”
“If you want to love others, I think you should love yourself first.”
I find this much more positive and poetic than the lyrics to other popular songs such as “Yummy” by Justin Bieber.
Beyond the lyrics, there’s no denying that BTS and other K-pop bands possess incredible talent. There’s a reason BTS is one of the most well-known groups in the world right now, with hits like “Butter” and “Dynamite” becoming monster hits worldwide. If you’re a bit more old-school with your music, you may have even heard BTS featured on Coldplay’s recent song “My Universe.”
If you need more evidence of their popularity, by December 2021, BTS’ music has been streamed 16.3 billion times on Spotify. The overall most popular track, “Dynamite” by December 2021 has been played a staggering amount of 1,888,259,884 times. I am sure it is much more now.
The band has 44.4 million Twitter followers; 60.5 million on Instagram; 47.1 million on TikTok. But the more important metrics are for Hybe’s own platforms. On Weverse, where official ARMY (BTS fan club) members pay $22 a year to get exclusive content, the group has 14.7 million fans, which is a staggering $323,400,000 /yr.
I’m all for appreciating great talent, and the members of BTS are really setting a new standard for singing, dancing, and performing.
Connecting to my daughters’ passions
Last but not least, I love that K-pop gives me an opportunity to share a part of my daughters’ lives with them. I’ve noticed that most American men my age who are fathers look down on K-pop and pass judgment on the whole genre, but they’re missing a beautiful opportunity to engage with their daughters day-to-day. It’s really these little moments that add up over time.
If you’re uninitiated in the K-pop space, my favorites are BTS, NCT127, ATEEZ, and BLACKPINK. Better yet, ask your daughters for their favorites!
Next week I will discuss the importance for Dads learn to cry.
Have a great week in the meantime! Please feel free to follow me, subscribe, or share with others.
This is a well-written, thoughtful article, and I’d like to thank you for writing it. Too many dismiss Kpop out of hand and completely miss some really wonderful music. I am a fan of BTS, and try to share their positive message with other adults, who typically roll their eyes at best when I try to tell them about this talented and kind group of young men. If I had daughters, I would be thrilled if they fell for BTS. Lyrics with such a positive message as that predominant in BTS’s songs should be the norm, rather than the filth that seems to prevail these days.
Thanks so much for the kind words. I agree with you completely! Please feel free to check back to my blog regularly for new posts and feel free to share with folks!
I just read your Dad blog and I have to tell you how impressed I am with you.I am not a dad,but a Nana,yes I am old& a member of Official Noonas.I have only known about these young men for about a year,so I am just learning everything about them. Bravo SirI salute you for getting close to your daughters&discovering BTS’s greatness while doing so.
Thanks so much Robbie! Great music is for any age, and communicates to any soul! Music is the universal language that brings people together.
@Robbie Sessoms, thank you so much for the kind words! I love BTS and their music, but more importantly the message of love and tolerance they are spreading. Looking forward to when they are back together again after their military training.
Chris, a fellow MD here and I get you completely! My then teen daughter introduced the K-Pop genre to me when she was still in high school (she will be graduating college next year – how time flies!) However, I did not get into K-Pop myself until the pandemic when I met other women docs online for the love of K Drama which led to BTS then K-Pop in general, and now I am in deep! We even have Facebook groups consisting of only “Mama Docs”. We have been lifesavers to each other in our otherwise consuming, stressful roles as physicians. And like you, my K-Pop interests have led me closer to my children and have amped up my concert going (and spending ) with my children when their schedule permits, and my Mama Doc friends. I love it all! I would not have it any other way!
Thanks so much Jocelyn! Love these comments. I completely agree with you, K-POP and K-Dramas are fabulous. I often listen to BTS while I am working, their music makes work less stressful. I am going to an ATEEZ concert with my daughters and looking forward to it!
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