If there’s a K-pop act that is navigating the global music scene best, BTS is arguably the top choice. Since their 2013 debut, the boy band has broken records on the Billboard 200 — becoming the Korean act to land the most albums on the chart and net the biggest first-week opening — in addition to being a constant presence on charts like Billboard‘s Social 50, World Albums and World Digital Song Sales tallies. Yet, it’s only with their latest release “Spring Day” that a BTS single seems most likely to break the group into new chart territory and that’s thanks to smart artistic and professional decisions.
Undoubtedly, BTS has found the major enthusiasm for their LPs thanks to the deeper social and personal topics the band discusses with past album tracks touching on bullying, mental health and the dark sides of adolescence. Meanwhile, past singles like “Run” and “Blood, Sweat & Tears” and their accompanying videos stood out for exploring deep devotion, but ultimately only explored that one topic. “Spring Day” takes things a step farther by getting more into the journey one takes during a tough time or break up.
On the single, the members sing and rap about an internal winter inside them due to missing someone and, at first, there does not seem to be an end to the heartache — likely a commentary on depression and mental health, topics the band had discussed in past album tracks and mixtapes. Yet by the end of “Spring Day,” there is a change and the boys describe how there is a light and warmness that inevitably comes with Jungkook declaring, “No darkness, no season, is forever.”
The guys are still pining for their lost love, but they aren’t staying in a one-track mindset. Instead, they use the weather and seasonal metaphors to describe how things get better — a lesson many of their young fans can find comfort in when dealing with relationships, or school, friends, family, their careers or beyond. While it’s all done over hard-hitting beats, buttery vocals and punchy rap verses — as one would expect from any BTS release — it’s this newfound maturity and enlightenment that makes the single stand out so much.
Not only was “Spring Day” a smart artistic move, but it was extremely savvy for BTS and their Korean label BigHit Entertainment to focus on one single for the repackaged deluxe version of their hit album Wings titled You Never Walk Alone.
Wings already broke — and continues to break — multiple chart records, including when it became the first K-pop album to spend multiple weeks on the Billboard 200 and also as it celebrates a remarkable 18th week on World Albums this week. By leading a re-ignited excitement over You Never Walk Alone with one single, fans are more than ever collectively focused on this one song.
That focus was seen when “Spring Day” flew into the the Top 10 of the Top Overall Songs chart on U.S. iTunes after its release on Sunday and remained high even as tracks from the 2017 Grammys began racing up the rankings. No K-pop group has sent a song as high on the iTunes singles chart, with only PSY being the other Korean act to land a song as high when “Gangnam Style” topped the ranking in 2012. A tweet from BigHit’s CEO Bang Sihyuk even commented on the accomplishment on Twitter:
What an honor! Thanks! BTS is the first K-pop group to reach the US iTunes Top 10 with #SpringDay!
— hitman (@hitmanb) February 12, 2017
The hype for “Spring Day” is particularly high in America as the band gears up for three arena concerts in America, a major indication of the fans ready to support, buy, stream and watch the music video for this single and not be as distracted by a full-length album’s worth of material. (Though, one should not disregard the new tracks including ultra-fierce “Not Today,” the long-awaited thumper “Outro: Wings,” or the introspective “A Supplemental Story: You Never Walk Alone.”)
There are hurdles BTS will need to jump over to have their single be a chart hit in America, including releasing the song two days after the charting period started on Friday and major competition from songs associated with the Grammys. But if the numbers end up in BTS’ favor and they chart a single on the Billboard Hot 100 — or even the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart, which counts the 25 singles just below the top 100 — it will be a major accomplishment, but not one unearned. By continuing to progress as artists, the band’s business- and chart-savvy moves only make their releases able to be that much more celebrated.