Love is so painful. Good-byes are even more painful, and millions upon millions felt that pain when BTS announced its hiatus. The group — RM, Jimin, J-Hope, V, Jungkook, Jin, and Suga – told their devoted followers, the BTS ARMYs, that they were going their seven separate ways in June 2022. What prompted this split? Is the breakup permanent? What does this mean for V’s adorable pup, Yeontan? As the K-Pop world wipes its eyes and patiently waits for news, here’s the scoop on why the group is going on hiatus after nearly a decade together.
BTS Announces Hiatus
Millions of hearts broke on Tuesday, June 14, when BTS held its FESTA dinner celebrating its ninth anniversary. The group had just released its first anthology album, Proof, which contained its third No. 1 song on Billboard Hot Trending Songs (“Yet To Come”). With Proof expected to be BTS’s sixth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, it seemed that the sky was the limit for the Bangtan Boys. Except, during the FESTA, they shared that things weren’t as they appeared.
“I started music and became BTS because I had a message for the world,” said RM (h/t Us Weekly.) “I didn’t know what I would do after ‘ON,’ but then COVID-19 came up, so we did ‘Dynamite,’ ‘Butter,’ ‘Permission to Dance,’ ‘Life Goes On.’ And then I realized the group has definitely changed. We have to accept that we’ve changed.” RM said the busy schedule – five albums, three compilations, a soundtrack album, a couple of EPs, and numerous tours over the past four years alone – was taking a toll.
“After ‘Butter’ and ‘Permission to Dance,’ I didn’t know what kind of group we were anymore,” said RM, who explained he was physically and creatively exhausted. “Whenever I write lyrics and songs, it’s really important what kind of story and message I want to give out, but it was like that was gone now. I don’t know what kind of story I should tell now.”
“I always thought that BTS was different from other groups, but the problem with K-pop and the whole idol system is that they don’t give you time to mature,” continued RM. “You have to keep producing music and keep doing something. After I get up in the morning and get makeup done, there’s no time left for work. And it’s not just about music and work. I’ve changed as a human over the past ten years, so I needed to think and have some alone time, and then those thoughts can mature into something uniquely mine.”
“We’ve lost our direction, and I just want to take some time to think and then return, but that just feels rude to our fans and like I’m letting [them] down,” said RM.
“But I think most of our fans wouldn’t think like that because they know our sincerity,” added V. Jimin said that the group has begun to think about “what kind of artists we each want to be remembered as [by] our fans. I think that’s why we’re going through a rough patch right now. We’re trying to find our identity, and that’s an exhausting and long process.”
Suga also added that he “never purely enjoyed’ making any of the music that’s come out over the past nine years. “Back then, I had something to say, but I just lacked the skills. Now I don’t have anything to say. I don’t know what to say,” he added.
“We could focus on our solo work this time, and later when we gather again as a group, that synergy will be like no other,” V added. “We’ll be better than before.”
BTS Band Members With Solo Careers
BTS first announced they were taking a hiatus in 2019 and then again in late 2021. “This period of rest will provide the members of BTS—who have tirelessly committed themselves to their activities—a chance to get re-inspired and recharge with creative energy,” the group’s music company, Big Hit, said in a statement, per Newsweek. The 2019 hiatus was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the group stayed “active in order to engage with fans in 2020 and 2021” as ambassadors of love and goodwill. However, the 2022 hiatus seemed more real, since one of the members had already lined up their first major solo performance.
J-Hope landed a headlining slot at the 2022 Lollapalooza festival in Chicago’s Grant Park. This booking made history, as J-Hope became the first South Korean artist to headline the main stage of a major U.S. festival. “I’m happy to welcome J-Hope and [K-Pop group] Tomorrow x Together into the Lollapalooza family,” said Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell in a statement, per Variety. “[…] These are the superstars of the global phenomenon of K-Pop, and we are so excited to have them at this year’s festival.”
J-Hope dropped his first mixtape, Hope World, in 2018. He also teamed with Becky G for “Chicken Noodle Soup” in 2019, a song that topped the Billboard U.S. World chart (while reaching No. 81 on the Hot 100 chart).
Under his August D persona, Suga released a pair of mixtapes in 2016 and 2020. He has also been an in-demand feature artist, appearing on tracks by MAX, Juice Wrld, and PSY.
RM, which once stood for Rap Monster, also has a pair of mixtapes under his belt: 2015’s RM, and 2018’s Mono. He’s worked with Fall Out boy, Warren G, Primary, and others.
Plans To Reunite?
As of June 2022, there are no plans for BTS to reunite. However, the ARMY should not worry.
“It’s not like we’re disbanding,” said Suga at the end of the 2022 FESTA dinner. As the song “Love Is Not Over” says, the band will one day “come back to [the fans’] arms.” After all, love is not over.
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