K-pop’s BTS does it again, shattering records with all-English ‘Dynamite’


It hasn’t felt like much of a summer, but BTS is determined to give us the song of the summer anyway.

The K-pop boy band and international sensation dropped its newest song and music video, “Dynamite,” on Thursday at midnight, and fans ate it up: The video smashed YouTube’s premiere record with at least 3 million concurrent viewers.

As the South Korean group’s first song sung entirely in English, the track is soaked in color and nostalgia. It fuses the novelty of “Old Town Road” with the international flair of “I Like It” and “Despacito” and all the sunny hype of “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” In other words, all the ingredients for a summer success.

“We built this song to give strength to the people who listen to it,” band member Suga said in a Thursday press conference. “Our goal is to have as many people as possible hear it and get a little bit of reassurance and healing from it.”

A group of men in suits singing and dancing on a stage
BTS performs on ABC’s “Good Morning America” in May 2019.
(Associated Press)

Although the single features all-English lyrics — RM is fluent, but most of the other six band members are not — BTS has previously reached unprecedented heights on a global scale in its native Korean. (Think: three Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 hits, four No. 1 albums and sold-out world tours.)

Yet Suga mentioned at Thursday’s news conference that BTS would focus on “reach and impact” with this song, rather than charts and rankings.

“No matter what the chart is, no matter what the rank is … it’s always an honor,” band member Jin agreed. “It means many people have listened to and like our song. Any time we see that report card, we’re always thankful.”

“Dynamite’s” relatable lyrics (drinking a cup of milk in the morning, the simple pleasures of “ice tea and a game of ping pong”), earworm chorus (“Shining through the city with a little funk and soul / So I’ma light it up like dynamite”) and disco-meets-bubblegum-pop vibes seem intended to help fans through quarantine.

In fact, “the release of ‘Dynamite’ wasn’t in our plans at all,” band member RM said at the news conference. “As soon as we heard it, we thought it was really fun and exciting, a fun and cheery song that wasn’t that serious. It just made us feel good when we heard it. We really wanted to share this energy with the fans as soon as possible.”

And share it they did. The boy band will keep spreading that energy too, at the upcoming Video Music Awards on Aug. 30, where it’ll be performing the track and its hypnotizing choreography.

The boys are nervous, RM said at the conference, but excited for this career first.

And fans craving even more won’t have too long to wait: “Break the Silence,” BTS’ fourth concert film, is set to begin limited screenings on Sept. 24. Tickets go live on Aug. 27 — pandemic permitting.