By Chang Dong-woo
SEOUL, Aug. 21 (Yonhap) -- Sometimes a small slice of comforting, feel-good entertainment, whether it be music, television or film, can go a long way in dealing with stress and fatigue, especially now more than ever amidst the raging COVID-19 pandemic.
And that's exactly what global K-pop sensation BTS had in mind when preparing to bring out its latest single album "Dynamite," a bright, upbeat disco-pop track that's sung entirely in English -- a first for the Korean septet that has produced music primarily in Korean even after its global breakout.
"There is a part in the lyrics that reads 'light it up.' I hope many people will be able to listen to it and receive some encouragement," BTS member Jimin said during an online press conference held Friday in Seoul for the new single album.
"Dynamite" is the group's latest album following "Map of the Soul: 7 — The Journey" released in Japan in July.
Written by David Stewart and Jessica Agombar of the London-based music production trio Mad Teeth, "Dynamite" was one of many songs that BTS came across while preparing for the group's new studio album.
According to RM, the group nor its label-management agency Big Hit Entertainment initially had plans to put out "Dynamite" as a stand-alone digital single. But the track's brimming, vibrant energy ended up enchanting the septet enough for it to release the song as a digital single.
"We wanted to try something that was light and mindlessly exciting. We had a blast recording the song, dancing in the studio," BTS leader RM said. "We had the urge to share the song as soon as possible while still working on it, hoping to offer a boost of spiritual energy to fans."
Jimin said that the new single is "the song that BTS wants to play to fans at this moment in time."
Concept-wise, "Dynamite" presents more relaxed and comfortable elements compared to some of BTS' more recent works in the past. The prereleased teaser images also featured the members in normal everyday clothing, ranging from sleeveless T-shirts and denim jackets to baggy Oxford shirts, instead of fancy suits or coordinated uniforms.
"The message of the song is about being happy and having confidence. We're sure that you will be doing shoulder dances once you listen to it. It's very exciting," rapper-singer Suga explained.
Member V explained that the decision to sing "Dynamite" entirely in English was reached naturally.
"English suited the melody naturally. It also presented a fresh new feel, something that we haven't tried before," the singer said. "We decided that it would be better in English."
As much as "Dynamite" was intended as a spiritual remedy for pandemic-fatigued fans across the globe, the project also served as an opportunity for the members to take a deep look at their careers during the pandemic. BTS members referred to "Dynamite" as the band's "refresh project."
"The current situation was unforeseeable. Initially we were at a loss as to what to do. We were angry and also felt a sense of helplessness," RM said.
The rapper-singer added, "But as time passed and the debris settled, we thought a lot about the situation and were able to look to the future."
Following the release of "Map of the Soul: 7," the band's fourth studio album, BTS had planned to embark on a world tour. But the virus pandemic forced the group to cancel the tour, as well as other planned events and projects.
To connect with fans across the world, BTS hosted a paid online concert, "Bang Bang Con: The Live" in June, which set a new Guinness World record for "most viewers for a music concert livestream" attracting 756,000 viewers in 107 countries and regions across the world.
Despite handicapping BTS from promoting its album, the pandemic hardly hindered the band from selling records.
"Map of the Soul: 7" was the most-sold album in the United States in the first half of 2020, becoming the only album to sell more than 500,000 units in the U.S. market during the January-June period, according to Nielsen Music.
At home, BTS topped the South Korean Gaon chart run by the Korea Music Content Association, selling a record 4.26 million copies in the first half.
When asked how "Dynamite" is expected to perform on the charts, BTS said they are always grateful regardless of outcomes.
"We're always bewildered and honored whenever we hear the news of breaking a new record on any chart. It's truly overwhelming to know that a lot of people like listening to us and like our music," member Jin said.
BTS has been invited to the 2020 MTV Video Music Video Awards to perform "Dynamite" at the ceremony slated for Aug. 30 (local time) in the U.S. Due to the virus situation, the band will deliver the performance virtually from Seoul.
"We've been nominated at the awards but never had the opportunity to perform there. It would have been best if we were able to do it in person," RM said, reassuring fans that the band "will do our best to present the stage" regardless of the situation.