Hello everyone! I always enjoy topics linking books and music, two of my great loves, and what better theme to use than one of my most recent great loves – the K-pop powerhouse BTS?!
(Warning: slight gushing ahead:)
Aside from being amazing entertainers who create meaningful music, their personalities, humour, chemistry and charisma are utterly magnetic. Plus their eccentric group dynamic remind me an awful lot of my own friends from uni! I haven’t seen them in over a year… I miss them a lot and watching (and laughing with/at) BTS in interviews and their ‘RUN’ episodes make me really happy. Definitely need that extra boost this year and I’m very thankful to have found them!
ANYWAY let’s move on to the books, shall we?
Ten(ish) Books that could be BTS Song Titles
First up, we have…
The ‘Legend’ series by Marie Lu (‘Legend’, ‘Prodigy’, ‘Champion’, ‘Rebel’)
The first three especially could make great diss track titles (‘Legend’, ‘Prodigy’, Champion’) and the fourth, ‘Rebel’ gives me early era BTS vibes!
OOH now I’m thinking of them in terms of a four-part song narrative – kind of like what BTS did with their ‘Love Yourself’ album series! Except all would be epic diss tracks hahahaha.
‘Perfume’ by Patrick Süskind
This title oddly reminds me of ‘Coffee’ from their 2013 ‘O!RUL8,2?’ album. Could this be a sweet song? A sexy song? A sad song? If this was a Jimin solo it could be any or all, you never know with this guy…
‘I Was Born For This’ by Alice Oseman
This could be such a feel-good song with a bombastic beat, perhaps along the lines of ‘Idol’!
There’s this quote from IWBFT (which itself features a boyband!) that perfectly sums up why I love BTS, and how grateful I am to be so emotionally moved by them and their music:
In an otherwise mediocre existence, we choose to feel passion.Alice Oseman, ‘I Was Born For This’ (2018, p.172)
‘Seven Devils’ by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May
Seven BTS members. Need I say more?! I could definitely see this one being either a jokey song along the lines of ‘War of Hormone’ or another diss track (I do love their diss tracks…)
BTS could refer to themselves as seven devils (or rebels, whatever) like they refer to themselves as baepsae in ‘Silver Spoon’/’Baepsae’. Baepsae are crow-tits (basically underdogs as we’d understand in English) and the song itself comments on the ridiculous socio-economic inequality in Korean society (particularly experienced by the younger generation) and BTS’ desire to change the system – a theme which fits well with the book ‘Seven Devils’. (Check out this great explanation if you’re interested!)
‘Shadows on the Moon’ and ‘Barefoot on the Wind’ by Zoë Marriott
BTS have a big fanbase in Japan, and either of these titles could perhaps form the opening lines of a chorus in traditional haiku form (a Japanese poetry style). BTS do sing in Japanese as well, so the songs could be entirely in Japanese too!
‘The Space Between Worlds’ by Micaiah Johnson
This could be a simultaneously melancholy, bittersweet yet hopeful song, like ‘Spring Day‘ from their 2017 album ‘You Never Walk Alone’. ‘Spring Day’ is one of the most emotionally moving songs I’ve ever heard, singing about missing your loved ones and using ‘winter’ as a metaphor for the time between now and the ‘spring’ of when you can be reunited. It hits especially hard right now during COVID. (Honestly I’m literally welling up typing this right now)
‘The Space Between Worlds’ title also makes more sense if you consider the popular theory that ‘Spring Day’ was at least partially in tribute to the 2014 Sewol ferry disaster, which had a death toll of 304 – most of whom were high school students on a school trip. Enduring the winter of ‘Spring Day’ could be like the hellish experience (as depicted in the book) of traversing the in-between space dividing the world of the living and the world of the dead?
‘Mirage’ by Somaiya Daud
This could perhaps be a follow-up to their song ‘Sea’ (a hidden track on their 2017 ‘Love Yourself: Her’ album) – another simultaneously devastating yet hopeful song. This song could be about the mirage/dream that SUGA raps about in his verse.
‘Afterlove’ by Tanya Byrne
The title just reminds me of their 2018 song ‘Fake Love’ hahaha. I could see this as a V solo song with Singularity vibes?
‘These Violent Delights’ by Chloe Gong (my current read!)
This song could be a condemnation of the use of violence for its own sake, verbal violence or mental abuse? Akin to how the rapline song ‘UGH!’ in their 2020 album ‘Map of the Soul: 7’ criticised the toxic use of malicious anger, as opposed to the channeling of justified anger to enact positive change. (See explanation here.) UGH! is one of my fave BTS songs. God I love it. Like a full on energy drink.
‘If I Had Your Face’ by Frances Cha
Closing the list with a contemporary set in Seoul! I’m super excited to read it. This song could be about what it might be like to not be famous…probably a near-impossibility now for BTS.