Why I’m here (a.k.a how I got into K-Pop)

BTS became important to me because they understood. They were growing with me and they somehow managed to get exactly what I was going through…

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I became a K-Pop fan on September 26th, 2015. Why do I remember the exact date? Because I had gone to a concert that day in the hopes of running into a guy I liked and I had! Only he’d blown me off. So in the midst of my embarrassment and self-hatred, I asked my best friend to introduce me to the thing she hadn’t stopped talking about for the past couple of months: K-Pop.

We watched Just Right, Dope, and Call Me Baby–what were, then, the greatest hits. Just Right was right up my alley and I ended up committing to GOT7 before any other group. Then came Dope. It was a bizarre dialogue, of which I only remember snippets, but I recall it going something like this:

Me: Who’s this?

Her: Rap Monster.

Me, disappointed: Oh. (For context, this was just after Namjoon had gotten in trouble for some colorist comments and that was literally all I knew about him. Times have changed. I love him now.)

Her, sighing: Yeah.

Me: This one?

Her: That’s Jungkook. He’s 18 and people are really weird about it.

Me: Ew. Okay, this one’s your favorite, right?

Her: Yup, that’s Jimin.

Me: Right, and this one?

Her: That one’s V.

Me: Got it. Okay, this one, he yells too much.

Her, laughing: That’s J-Hope. And this one’s Suga.

Me: He looks very angry.

Her: He kind of is.

Me: Who’s this one? He’s the handsomest one.

Her: Yeah, that’s Jin.

Then Call Me Baby. They were all bright and elaborate and I was overwhelmed by the dance moves and the perfect styling and the fact that instead of four members passionately playing instruments (I’d been an emo chick for the majority of my teenage life, I only knew bands) it was seven+ dudes doing crisply choreographed moves. I was stunned, to say the least.

Still, I told myself You can resist this. You will not be one of those K-Pop people.

We all know how that went.

The next day I watched the Just Right video again. Then the dance practice. Then I discovered Real GOT7. It was an inundation of content. A group that actually provides extra content for the fans? An entire genre embracing and elevating the concept of fan service? What a world.

Because I’m an all-in type of person, I was instantly obsessed. By the end of the week, I had already bought my first piece of fan merch (a long sleeve shirt with Mark’s name on it) and I had already made my way through a significant chunk of GOT7 content. I was a certified IGOT7.

But everything changed when I sat down and listened to the masterpiece that is The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Part 1.

For point of reference, this was a time in my life where I was still mourning the very recent death of my grandfather. I was in my last year of college. I was in a time of extreme ecstasy and extreme despair. It was tumultuous and joyous and nostalgic. And in comes BTS.

The Most Beautiful Moment in Life spoke to me in a very visceral way. I had never heard anything that so accurately captured my emotions. Even though the lyrics weren’t exactly matched to my situation, the feeling of it. That was everything.

BTS became important to me because they understood. They were growing with me and they somehow managed to get exactly what I was going through even thousands of miles away.

That’s not to say that EXO didn’t become important to me (I saw them in concert in February of 2016) or that I wasn’t thankful for GOT7, but BTS made things real for me.

And because of them, I kept listening to the comebacks, I kept watching the videos, and I stuck around long enough to find something that makes me happy. After two years, I’m still here, still excited. And the journey continues.

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