BTS have been around since 2013, but sometimes it feels like they exploded out of nowhere.
For the first two years of their career, they found popularity among the usual boy band fans and peddled the kind of hip-hop tinged K-pop that appeals to that demo. It wasn’t until the group’s gorgeous dubstep ballad “I Need U” that BTS truly went mainstream, and since that moment they’ve been an unstoppable force.
By balancing emotionally-charged pop with aggressive club-friendly hits, BTS, like BIGBANG before them, have figured out how to reach beyond the teenage girl fanbase of Korean boy bands to connect with male listeners and people in their 20s and 30s as well. It’s this formula that drives their latest singles, “Spring Day” and “Not Today”, lifted from the repackaged version of their fantastic sophomore album, WINGS, now titled "You Never Walk Alone."
The boys bare their soul on “Spring Day”, a tearful hip-hop track from longtime BTS producer Pdogg. The lyrics, about losing someone, are loose enough to be applied to the end of a relationship but are most likely about the death of a loved one, making it the group’s most vulnerable musical moment to date. While far from their catchiest tune, it’s easily their most poignant.
While “Spring Day” sees BTS dealing with the complicated emotions of an untimely loss, their other new single, “Not Today”, is all about the drive to survive. Over a beat that’s fiercer than “Fire”, the Bangtan Boys spit rhymes about pushing through the darkness and breaking the glass ceiling. With its exhilarating production and inspiring message, this one is bound to become a fan favourite and future concert staple.
At this point in their career, you can really see that BTS have figured out a release strategy that works for them. Not only do “Spring Day” and “Not Today” stand up to the group’s previous double single combos, like “I Need U” and “Dope," or “Fire” and “Save Me”, they also reflect the growth of a group that’s about to celebrate its fourth anniversary. Unlike many other boy bands, who can’t maintain their moment or simply fizzle out after a few disposable idol hits, BTS is clearly in this for the long haul.