As FESTA just ended and we officially entered our 9th year with BTS, let’s offer ourselves a trip down memory lane, starting from the very beginning: 2013—a year full of emotions and first times for the freshly debuted Bangtan Boys. Are you ready for a review of the most precious milestones of that year, ARMY? Grab some tissues and hop on the way that BTS slowly but surely paved!
Bangtan Logs and Pre-Debut Releases
BTS started making history before their actual debut. For several months, they took turns to go live on YouTube and shared their trainee thoughts through personal logs. While most of those logs were about their struggles and questions about their upcoming career and life choices, others were pure chaos showing off their bright selves, like their very own version of the “Harlem Shake” or their pre-debut group log in May.
During that period, fans also enjoyed a handful of songs in subunits like School of Tears and Adult Child, foreshadowing the quality of their rap, vocals and blooming artistry. We also received Graduation Song by j-hope, Jimin and Jungkook shortly before the release of Jungkook’s graduation pictures from middle school. Can one believe that the handsome grown and talented man of 2021 once was that adorably tiny maknae?
Speaking of talent, Taehyung remained a hidden one for so long that he thought he had been cut off from the team. The baffling yet smart strategy was imagined by Bang Sihyuk who saw in V special features that could hype up the excitement for BTS’ debut once he would be revealed. While his back already had a chance to shine anonymously in one of Jimin’s tweets, Taehyung made his first staggering appearance on Twitter on June 2, officially completing the band with his unique personality and flair the next day.
D-Day: June 13, 2013
After being teased with a cryptic debut trailer and BTS’ very first concept photos—weren’t their rebellious teenage looks and heavy makeup cute?—the fans could finally enjoy BTS’ first album 2 Cool 4 Skool. The next day, the K-pop industry, via M Countdown on Mnet, witnessed the birth of the soon-to-be global superstars with their title No More Dream. The song’s lyrics and powerful performance beautifully showcased their desire to succeed without giving up on their authenticity, which we have all been cherishing from the start. Are you still holding it, ARMY?
And the Fandom’s Name Is…
The Adorable Representative(s) MC for Youth found out their name on BTS’ fancafe on July 9. As BTS, or in Korean 방탄소년단 (translated into “Bulletproof Boy Scouts”), kept striving to serve as a shield that protects youngsters against an overly demanding society and prejudice, their army of ARMYs never stopped supporting them and “recruiting” new members to extend the bond and make it even more purposeful. Did you know that we almost got named Bangwools (which literally means “jingle bells”)? Not sure this would have “resonated” as much!
Rookie King: Channel Bangtan
The variety show “Rookie King: Channel Bangtan” aired on SBS for eight episodes in September and October 2013. This worthy predecessor of Run BTS! was about the members parodying programs through different segments, from hilarious fake ads to hidden camera pranks, and challenging games that brought many iconic penalties. Heard of Taehyung and Hoseok’s kiss? Or have you ever come across pictures of Namjoon dressed as Sailor Moon? Those are only a couple of examples of the merciless punishments the boys endured during the show. It disclosed the entertaining side of BTS, while offering a behind the scenes of their life at the dorm, the practice room or on Big Hit’s rooftop when they had the chance to playfully shout out their frustrations. Another symbolic moment was the “Bangtan Lotto,” where one member gifted a lucky ARMY with a personal item.
Second Album, First Comeback
The second part of their school trilogy, O!RUL8,2?, marked BTS’ first comeback in September 2013. With ten tracks including the openly critical N.O, the album sold a satisfying number of 34,000 physical copies. Highlighting the injustice of the society towards the youth, it also delivered a positive message of “you must find your happiness and your own life before it’s too late,” to which so many of us can still relate today.
First Major Award
In November, BTS won the award for the Best New Artist of the Year at the MMAs. It came both as evidence for ARMY and as a shock for the members who did not dare hope for a win. The milestone was documented in one of the first BTS Episode videos released on BANGTANTV, in which the members went wild in front of the camera. (Re)watching this eight-year-old, undisputed happiness is even more heartwarming knowing that they experienced it again and again over the years without ever losing the spontaneity of the first time.
Whereas it was difficult to foresee BTS’ meteoric rise to global stardom eight years ago, fans from the early days never stopped believing in them and, together with the boys, built a strong mutual friendship made of relentless dedication, endless support and absolute trust. Ever since, teamwork never ceased to make the dream work! So, keep showering our boys with luv, ARMY! Until next time.
Written by: Helene
Edited by: ren
Designed by: ThornToHisRose
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