Who do you think is the center among the BTS members? To be sure, each of you would give a different answer: a great many ARMYs would arise with different answers! No, it must be non-sense to throw such a question, because the members are all full of their own uniqueness and attractions. But as for me, it was RM who attracted my attention more than the others when I saw them first. And if you ask me who has the most attractive appearance I cannot help but pick Jungkook. He is as much handsome as to rank first at the 100 Most Handsome Faces of 2019 selected by <TC Candler>. Of course, someone might say, “How dare you ignore V or Jin?” If they say V ranked second and Jungkook ranked fourth in 2020, I have nothing to say against them.
Actually, it is not fair to talk about Jungkook only in terms of his looks, because he is the main vocal, a leading dancer and second to none rapper among the BTS members. Being the youngest among them, he had been loved with the image of the cute youngest and a pretty boy for a while but his endeavor and time brought to another place both him and us looking at him. His appearance changed while the boy grew to be a man. The time he has taken in practicing dancing, singing and rapping and the active time performing across online and offline stages making world tours have changed his looks, singing style and even the dancing mood. Now it is as hard as to believe that he was so shy and reserved as a trainee that he sometimes cried.
There must be no fan who does not know that after he had been selected number one trainee of month before his debut had a chance to go to the US to learn to dance, Jungkook’s dance was upgraded further more. Does not one’s talent bloom until sigh of agony is mixed together with sweat of endeavor as time goes by?
Jungkook did not cut a brilliant figure as a singer as soon as BTS debuted in June 13, 2013 and continued their career. In the early days, they were designed to be a hip-hop boy group unlike now, so Jungkook did not appear in his true colors. BTS was not an idol group appearing in a perfect form. Like the narratives of The Most Beautiful Moment In Life series as known as School series 1-3, some of the early works, BTS grew through the youth of the storm and stresses. They needed to have time to reflect, humbly accepting that their works were not perfect. BTS, however, found out the better direction to talk about what to say and how to do it through this process. BTS succeeded not because they did not fail, but because they failed, learned and moved on.
Jungkook also expanded his capacity participating in writing and producing the album The Most Beautiful Moment pt.1. Dancing and singing were not all he wanted. Jungkook’s song writing continued and another album was made. And as BTS’ albums increased in number, single albums entered the chart and their fans explosively multiplied, Jungkook gradually found out the way to make his voice more beautiful. Jungkook’s vocal, so mild but skillful, was not perfected at a stroke. It was a result of covering countless songs, releasing new albums, performing at many stages small or large domestically or abroad, tolerating hardships and trying hard. No need to talk again about which album the post-2017 BTS has released and how they have worked. Since 2017 BTS has become a team we cannot but see and listen to even when we do not want to.
Only the BTS fans know Jungkook’s ‘blood, sweats and tears’ he has dropped as himself and as one of the members till BTS becomes popular and loved all over the world like this; his warm heart and care shown to the fans during the time and his pure passion and unceasing steadfastness burning up even the unspeakable despair. Nothing was possible only with talents. The seven young men have done what seemed impossible and Jungkook wrote all this legendary story with them together. And the story is not over.
Suh Jung Min-gap
Pop Music Critic; working as one of Korean Pop Music Award committee members since 2004; worked for Kwangmyung Music Valley Festival as a programmer; worked for Red Siren concert, Kwon Hae-hyo and Stubby Pencil concert, Seoul Wow Books Festival and planning directing and evaluating many festivals; wrote books like Passionate Love With Music, The Best Music For Someone, Favor For Music-Siding With Music, Bob Dylan, Not the Same Song Ever; co-wrote the books like Understanding Pop Music, Pop Music Hitch-hiking, Shin Hae-chul and the Next City; assisted in writing the books like 100 Korean Pop Music Masterpieces Reviews, 100 Korean Pop Music Masterpieces Interviews, Legendary 100 Artists, Music Appendix, B-rank Culture of Bad Genres, and 100 Korean Pop Music Masterpieces.
Translated by Park Eun-sun
* 《Cultura》 2021 November (Vol. 89) *