K-Pop, Korean Popular Music, US No. 1 Hits: NPR

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Korean pop group BTS scored their first No. 1 album in the United States, debuting atop the charts with “Love Yourself: Tear.” It is the first primarily foreign-language album to reach No. 1 in 12 years.



RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

K-pop is having a moment – a big moment. Korean popular music has climbed the US charts over the past decade and has now reached another milestone. Billboard Magazine has announced that K-pop boy group BTS will have the No. 1 album in the United States this week.

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF THE SONG, “SO WHAT”)

BTS: (Singing in Korean).

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Anastasia Tsioulcas writes for NPR Music, and she’s been waiting a long time for the United States to understand the phenomenon that is BTS.

ANASTASIA TSIOULCAS, BYLINE: BTS represents a number of names – Bangtan Boys or Bulletproof Boy Scouts or Beyond The Scene, more Anglo-Saxon.

INSKEEP: To give you an idea of ​​their influence, whatever the initials, she reports that last year, BTS were the most tweeted celebrities in the world.

TSIOULCAS: Their tweets have been liked or retweeted half a billion times, and that’s apparently more than those of President Trump or Justin Bieber or even Trump and Bieber combined.

MARTIN: Wow. OK, just a few weeks ago, BTS blew the roof off the Billboard Music Awards with a dazzling performance of their new single, “Fake Love.”

(SOUNDBITE FROM THE 2018 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS TEL BROADCAST)

BTS: (Singing in Korean) I love you so much…

MARTIN: Imagine seven young men in a tightly choreographed whirlwind, each taking turns posing and grooming the crowd. People Magazine wrote, BTS brings screaming fans to tears.

INSKEEP: (Laughs) Okay. Now I know what you’re thinking because you’re such a culturally sensitive person. You think, hey, wasn’t there another great Korean pop song a few years ago?

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF THE SONG, “GANGNAM STYLE”)

PSY: Oppan Gangnam style

MARTIN: Yeah, it’s the artist Psy. It took the hit “Gangnam Style” to No. 2 on the singles chart. But he never charted an entire album. Again, Anastasia Tsioulcas.

TSIOULCAS: “Gangnam Style” was new, but I think it really opened doors for BTS and K-pop in the US

INSKEEP: And now that the doors are out, could other K-pop groups be far behind? It’s been a while since the British invasion. Maybe it’s time for a Korean. BTS’ new album is called “Love Yourself: Tear”.

(SOUNDTRACK FROM THE SONG, “FAKE LOVE”)

BTS: (Singing) I’m so sick of this fake love, fake love, fake love. I’m so sorry but this is fake love, fake love, fake love. I want to be…

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