On June 14, 2022, ARMY donned their best attire, put their phones on silent, and informed friends and family that they would be unavailable for at least an hour. Why? They had a dinner date with BTS. It was a celebration of nine years together as a team, as brothers, and the people ARMY loves most. ARMY waited with nervous excitement for the 2022 FESTA Dinner. However, instead of the cheery, lighthearted banter, ARMY was met with BTS being the most vulnerable they had ever been.
The members made it clear that this wasn't a hiatus nor a break from being BTS. However, they would take time to find themselves as individuals and reconnect with a part of themselves that they had to neglect to be part of a team. While ARMY understood and supported their decision, there was an overall sense of sadness; not because the boys were focusing on individual activities, but because ARMY knew nothing about the burden the boys had been carrying. It felt as though the fandom had let them down.
Break? What's That?
As ARMY prepared their hearts and minds to see the boys less, plans of fun BTS threads and catching up on missed content filled ARMY's Twitter timeline. No one foresaw what would happen next. A tsunami of content flooded the fandom, drowning out fears of not seeing the boys. But this was a BTS like ARMY hadn't seen before. They were exploring their darker side, their musical preferences (and, dare we say it), their sexier side, and ARMY (though ill-prepared) was here for it.
No More Dream
On June 11, 2013, BTS dropped the music video for their song, No More Dream, merely two days before the seven bulletproof boys burst onto the scene (June 13) and declared themselves the protectors of youth. In a market saturated with K-pop groups hoping to capture the world's attention, BTS was refreshingly different. They didn't sing about being the greatest or getting the girl. "Their songs are not about love or broken hearts. It is about identity, confidence, and loving oneself. It's a socially conscious message," explains Yun Jeung Jo, Executive Director of The Korean Cultural Center in New York, in a 2019 documentary by CNBC.
It's a Seven Thing
However, being socially conscious was not the only way BTS stood out from the pack. The members shared a genuine bond proving they were (and remain) the living definition of teamwork. While each member clearly had their unique color and personality, instead of elevating one member as the popular one, BTS did everything as seven. The antithesis of the K-pop model. All seven were the face of the band.
In a CNN article, RM explains that they're like brothers. "We sometimes argue from time to time. But, we know how to deal with it and how to learn from each other. We have a very special bond." That closeness is one of the many reasons ARMY is fiercely loyal to BTS.
No More… Clothes??
So, on December 6,, 2021, when ARMY woke up to BTS members having their personal Instagram accounts, we should've seen chapter two written in plain sight. It was pure chaos from day one, watching the members navigate the app independently and change aesthetics to fit their tastes. From j-hope dropping thirst traps between photos of his family and puppy as though it was nothing, to RM having his own virtual art gallery, or the boys using Instagram as a group chat to talk about sweatpants sizes while calling each other handsome, it is clear BTS remains as close as ever.
BTS dropping photos of their bare backs and toned abs ushered ARMY out of their Victorian era where an exposed forehead would cause mass hysteria on the timeline. The “no more clothes” era is genuinely a beautiful consequence of chapter two. However, nothing will come close to seeing BTS happy, healthy, and discovering themselves as individuals while continuing to grow as a group, as friends, and as brothers.
One Equals Seven… Always
So what's the difference between chapter one and chapter two? Honestly, nothing. In chapter one, the boys were babies growing up together. Chapter two is their natural progression into manhood. BTS was, is, and will always be seven. In a recent interview with Vogue Korea, V confirmed this again: "We are a really positive group and all eager to unconditionally support each other. We had a meeting recently at SUGA's place to play the music we had been working on individually. We were dancing and praising each other non-stop. Being able to pursue one's own music style lights the passion and enthusiasm in us. That's what keeps us in love with what we do. I love seeing that."
For BTS and ARMY, one equals seven… ALWAYS.
Written by: Lisa
Edited by: Ren
Designed by: ThornToHisRose
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