Before we delve into the subject matter of this blog, here are some questions we would like ARMY to ponder: when was the first time you listened to a song or watched a movie/TV show? More specifically, which song/movie/TV show made you a fan of an artist? Which artist or celebrity did you recognize first as a child? Did being a fan of that artist make you see the world differently, or did the artist help you escape the chaos life brings?
Whatever answers you have to the above questions, they have one thing in common: that is how we are introduced to art and artists, whether in audio, video, or visual format. Art is an extension of ourselves; a means of expressing who we are when words fail. But on a larger scale, art connects us with others, and can even unite us through a common message. This power is what artists or creators possess, setting up the foundation of a potential parasocial relationship.
What defines art and entertainment is becoming more ambiguous than ever. If artists have a message to deliver, how they convey it defines the entertainment quotient of their work, in the sense of how their fans will perceive it. Either they succeed, or there is a loss of translation between the artists and fans, which is often not the artists’ fault. In fact, how a company or label promotes their artists’ creations is what makes or breaks the relationship between the artist and their fans. That is how the entertainment industry works: the fans' desire for more is often exploited for profits by the company/label, making the story “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” a perfect metaphor for BTS’ song Pied Piper.
“The Pied Piper of Hamelin” is set in the titular town in Germany, where rats are wreaking havoc, leaving the people in anguish and the Mayor powerlessly frustrated. That is until the Pied Piper arrives with his magical flute, claiming to have a solution for this problem. In turn, the Mayor promises to reward him if he eliminates the rats. Whether the people of Hamelin are able to heave a sigh of relief from this problem, follows the rest of the story. Spoilers from the story will be discussed.
“Perhaps, yes, I’m a little dangerous /
A little dangerous /
Like the Pied Piper that pulls you along /
I test you, test you /
Like the forbidden fruit that attracts you even though you already know /
My pipes wake everything up /
That sound teases you even more /
You react, pulled along /
I breathe out endlessly /
I’m your guilty pleasure /
You can’t escape /
What links the story and the song is how the temptation of wanting more makes us greedy to such an extent that we forget the consequences of our actions. Even if we know what we are doing, the aftermath is something we do not have complete control over. In “The Pied Piper of Hamelin”, the protagonist successfully completes his job by luring the rats to the river. However, the Mayor accuses him of cheating and decreases the reward sum from what was agreed on. Similarly, whenever BTS achieves No. 1 on Billboard charts, the septet and ARMY are accused by “supposedly prestigious music associations and music critics,” of gaming the system.
When Pied Piper does not get what was promised by the Mayor, he takes revenge by luring the children of Hamelin far away from their parents, making them upset and worried over their disappearance. When the Mayor sees what happened, he relents and gives Piper what was promised, and Piper returns the children to their parents. In the song, RM tells ARMY to focus on their studies/work and watch BTS’ content later, saying that one or two hours of working will flash by in the blink of an eye, and they will reward ARMY with this song. In short, Pied Piper stops controlling the children after getting the promised reward, whereas BTS members as Pied Pipers have a push-pull relationship with ARMY.
Humans frequently seek enjoyment and comfort from things we love; in this case, it is art and entertainment. Those things can become distractions when we lose sight of what we are doing in life. Just as the rats and the children could not ignore the wondrous music coming from Pied Piper’s flute, as ARMY, we also cannot escape the music BTS releases, a parallel accurately conveyed through the lustrously sung lyric “I’m taking over you.” So it is worth asking ourselves, "Does that make us greedy, or just human?"
Written By: Anugya
Edited By: Ren
Designed By: Martina
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