As CL continues to flop with her misguided attempt to break the U.S. market, boy band BTS have done the impossible without even trying.
Their new album, Wings, just shattered 2NE1’s record for the highest-charting K-pop album on the Billboard 200. The disc debuted at No. 23, selling 16,000 copies in the States alone while entering the charts in Canada, New Zealand, the UK and more.
It just takes one spin of Wings to see why it’s wowing international listeners. It’s a near impeccable collection of Westernized urban-pop, the kind that current top forty kingpins like Bieber, Drake and Zayn would release in a heartbeat.
Lead single “Blood Sweat and Tears” would easily dominate radio with its reggaeton hook. If Bieber recorded it, he’d have another No. 1 hit.
As I type this, Rihanna is surely screaming at her A&R for giving her the janky Ariana leftover “Love On The Brain” instead of BTS’ infinitely cooler “Lie.” And the slow-burning dance-pop of “Begin” could’ve been the next step in The Weeknd’s journey from indie blog staple to commercial pop tart.
Half the tracks on Wings are solo cuts from each one of the group’s seven members, but I didn’t know this until someone told me. Billboard also points out that the album’s lyrics (co-written by the members) tackle topics like mental health and female empowerment, but I didn’t bother digging that deep – I’m just happy to soak up the sick beats.
Although Wings isn’t a conscious effort to break the Western music market, YG Entertainment would do well to take note of what BTS has done. Wings takes cues from American hip-pop, mimicking the best stuff , making it catchier, but never dumbing it down. YG sometimes has a tendency to emulate the worst Western pop; the more basic and contrived, the better.
Just look at CL’s “Lifted.” The former Baddest Female was reduced to a twerking Fifth Harmony thot singing a song that sounds like Rita Ora doing Kidz Bop raps. Since when does CL get drunk on malt liqueur and grind on ‘shawties’? NEVER.
That’s why CL’s English album will never see the light of day, despite her large international fanbase. Meanwhile all BTS had to do was put out some good music and voila, No. 1 on iTunes!
Watch ‘n’ learn, YG.