BTS started a self-love revolution and it’s beautiful to see. It started in September 2017 with Bangtan Sonyeondan leader RM telling fans during the Billboard Music Awards to remember the message to “Love Myself, Love Yourself.” On Thursday, BTS entertainment company BigHit dropped the comeback trailer video titled Epiphany for their latest repackage album Love Yourself: Answer. The album, set for release on August 24, will mark the end of the four-part storytelling series focused on character development and the “love yourself” message. Epiphany is a work of art from the visuals to the vocals, but what really had ARMYs shaking is the message of self-love, writes SHAAZIA EBRAHIM and FATIMA MOOSA.
In a unique concept to the K-pop world, BigHit (BTS entertainment company) have for the past years been releasing videos that centered around multiple storylines that were connected. These videos have caused fans to release well-researched fan theories about what it all means.
BTS started with the HYYH (Hwa Yong Yeon Hwa) series. There’s been the theory that Jin is actually a time traveller trying to correct the mistakes made in the past. Then there have been the ones where all of the different storylines are actually taking place in multiverses.
The HYYH series is the boys’ coming of age story. It speaks about them growing up and transitioning into adulthood. They are all struggling with different things like self-hatred, depression, anger, confusion, longing and denial. The series was about reconciling with these struggles and moving forward. Upon the completion of the HYYH series, the Love Yourself series started. This was now about their struggles as adults and making sense of the world. It began with Love Yourself: Her and will end with Love Yourself: Answer.
In Love Yourself: Her, it started with the boys being confident and almost boastful in their relationships. However, this newfound relationship is spoken about in a way that makes it seem fake and as if they are hiding behind a facade. As the story and the albums progressed, we learnt that by hiding their true selves from the person they were in the relationship with, they ruined their relationship.
In Love Yourself: Tear, the most recent release of the group, there is a definite darker tone. Here the boys have lost their relationships because of the untruths and hiding their true selves. Now with the series at an end, the overarching message that the company and group seemingly leave us with is that whatever happens in this world, the most important thing is to love oneself in order to get the answers one needs.
We have yet to see what Love Yourself: Answer will bring. While the comeback trailer does tease that there will be some definite conclusions in terms of what love means, there is sure to be a continuation of the darker themes of Love Yourself: Tear. Loving yourself is never an easy thing and while it does hold the answers, the process is sure to be difficult. It is likely that the album will touch on aspects of what it means to love yourself and then how that can translate to your relationships with others. We can only hope that the album deals with how difficult the process of self-love can be and how not everyone shares the same path to attaining it.
Whatever the fan theories, the most important thing is the message of self-love which is perfectly personified in Epiphany.
In a tweet released just before the comeback trailer dropped, BTS oldest member Jin said that the series had come to an end and it was now time to celebrate.
16년 3월부터 진행됐던 LOVE YOURSELF 시리즈! 드디어 結 ‘Answer’ 앨범으로 기승전결의 대미를 맞게 되네요.
2년 5개월의 작업이 종착역에 다다른 것 같아요. 이번 리팩 앨범은 여러분들과 그저 온전히 즐기고 싶은 마음으로 작업했습니다.
곧 축제가 시작됩니다 !! 다 같이 즐겨주세용!
— 방탄소년단 (@BTS_twt) August 9, 2018
BTS Jin is also the member responsible for the angelic rendition of Epiphany. ARMYs have been waiting for Jin to sing an intro – or Jintro as it became known – since all the other members of the vocal line sang solo intros to previous albums.
Love Yourself HER: Serendipity
Love Yourself TEAR: Singularity
Love Yourself WONDER: Euphoria
Love Yourself ANSWER: Epiphany
— aira •̀ɞ•́ (@meanyoongi0309) August 9, 2018
Epiphany is a dreamy rock ballad which showcases BTS Jin’s vast vocal range. But it isn’t just Jin’s visuals (which are pure art) and the song that has ARMYs around the world in their feels. It’s the lyrics:
“I’m the one I should love in this world The shining me, the precious soul of mine
I realise only now, so I love me Though I’m not perfect, I’m so beautiful I’m the one I should love”
The BTS Love Yourself message is profound. We live in an era that constantly tells us that we’re not enough. As the author of the book Radical Self-Love Gala Darling writes that self-hatred is a multi-billion dollar industry. It’s messaging tells us we can never be enough: never white enough, skinny enough, wealthy enough. The world we live in creates impossible standards for perfection and sells it to us. As a result, it’s easy to feel like you are never good enough. That’s why we need self-love.
Self-love may seem like an overused buzzword, but it’s so important. Psychology studies show that self-love and compassion are key for mental health and well-being, to keep depression and anxiety away. Most of us are raised to chase perfection and to be critical of ourselves for never reaching it. But perfection can be bad for you. Criticising yourself over every little mistake you make can gradually erode your sense of self-worth and makes you less happy.
BTS spreads the message of self-love in all it’s radical glory. Their message says to listeners that we are enough, that it’s safe to be who we really are. When you love yourself, you help others to love themselves too. And that’s a revolution.
We don’t have to chase perfection because perfection is subjective. We can reject what the world is telling us perfection is. “Not so perfect, but so beautiful. I’m the one I should love,” Jin sings angelically. The thing is, if perfection is a subjective ideal then nobody is perfect. Nobody can be perfect. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe we’re beautiful anyway.
Watch this video (with the Eng subs on) and weep.
Check out some of our other K-pop coverage:
11 Reasons You Should Stan BTS
Redefining masculinity the BTS way
Here’s Why BTS Has Such A Strong ARMY In SA
All The Words You Need To Know To Join A K-Pop Fandom
Presenting BTS: What You Need To Know About Each Member
What It Means To Be Part Of BTS ARMY