After years of massive popularity around the world, Korean boy band BTS is breaking through to the top of mainstream American culture. They just dropped a new album (Map of the Soul: Persona), which includes the single “Boy with Luv,” featuring Halsey; and they played Saturday Night Live, a first for a Korean act. They also recently surpassed 5 billion streams on Spotify.
All of this has many Americans wondering what, exactly, is going on with these seven boys with pastel-colored hair, Korean lyrics, impeccable stage production, and supernaturally synched dance moves. We walk through the BTS basics with Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly’s critic-at-large, who wrote the magazine’s cover story on the group.