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Fans of South Korean boy band BTS (an acronym for Bangtan Sonyeondan or “Beyond the Scene”) had a lot to chew on over the past 24 hours. Much of it has to do with the Sunday release of a teaser video for the K-pop idols’ first-ever collaboration with American singer Halsey. Does it mean that a member of BTS is about to come out? Fans sure think so.
The song, “Boy With Luv,” and its full music video are set to drop in a few days on Friday along with the group’s highly anticipated comeback album, Map of the World: Persona.
There are no details yet on whether this track—the lead for the upcoming album—will be an all-English or English-Korean single.
BTS’ management, BigHit Entertainment, released the 45-second teaser on YouTube, which it also posted on its Twitter account.
Halsey also posted about it on Twitter, saying “Showtime baby.”
New BTS music: What we know
The 45-second clip shows Halsey manning a movie booth and immediately closing shop before she steps out to walk by the seven members of BTS: RM (Kim Namjoon), Jin (Kim Seokjin), Suga (Min Yoongi), J-hope (Jung Hoseok), Jimin (Park Jimin), V (Kim Taehyung), and Jung Kook (Jeon Jeong-guk). She glances at them as they nonchalantly sit beneath a neon sign that reads “Persona.” The clip closes with the boys’ silhouettes standing under a sign that reads “Love,” as the song’s title in both Korean and English appears. “While dubbed ‘Boy With Luv’ in English, the Korean title ‘작은 것들을 위한 시’ translates roughly to mean ‘A Poem for the Small Things,’” Billboard reports.
Prior to the release of the “Boy With Luv” teaser, the only pre-album release content the boys have dropped are two versions of concept photos or teaser images that offer glimpses at each of the boys’ many personas, and a comeback trailer for the album by the group’s leader, RM, released at the end of March. According to K-pop website Soompi, “It’s BTS’s tradition to have one member perform in a solo trailer to kick off their comeback teasers, with the song serving as the intro track to their new release.”
The 45-second clip was enough to send antsy fans into a frenzy on Twitter. The YouTube teaser already has over 12 million views as of this writing.
While this is the first time Halsey has worked with BTS, it comes as no surprise. As Entertainment Tonight points out, “BTS and Halsey have been friends since meeting in 2017. Last August, Halsey took to Instagram to share a group shot of herself with the band in Seoul, South Korea, writing that she was ‘hella proud’ of them.”
“Boy With Luv” is the septet’s first single of 2019. Persona comes less than a year after BTS dropped Love Yourself: Answer, the third and final Korean-language compilation album in their chart-topping 2017-2019 Love Yourself series that featured record-breaking track “Idol” as its lead single.
New BTS music: Fan theories
The BTS fandom, called BTS ARMY (for “Adorable Representative M.C for Youth”), is generally happy about the collaboration, with members expressing their approval on Twitter with hearts and “yeses”:
Halsey and BTS? Yes yes yes oh yes— Michael Felder (@InTheBleachers) April 7, 2019
All it took was a 45-second teaser from BTS to fill the internet with lots of interpretations for what the song is about.
First, there’s the title of the track. As MTV notes, “BTS teasers are notoriously hard to decipher. … Of course, astute fans have already caught on to the fact that the point choreography seen in the teaser mimics that of their 2014 single, ‘Boy In Luv.’ Given the fact that leader and rapper RM’s Persona intro track also featured a sample from the group’s 2014 song, ‘Intro: Skool Luv Affair,’ it seems like BTS are coming full circle with their latest release, a testament to their growth and maturity as a group and also as individuals.”
BTS ARMY member @lukewaltham tweeted that “the past has come back but it is full of fruit and success! This is a tale of growth, nourishment and self actualisation to achieve the ultimate goal: self-love.”
BOY WITH LUV. Like the past has come back but it is full of fruit and success! This is a tale of growth, nourishment and self actualisation to achieve the ultimate goal: self-love— Luke Waltham (@lukewaltham) April 7, 2019
Other fans think it’s no coincidence that BTS collaborated with Halsey, who openly identifies as bisexual. Twitter user @kimparkdaily posts, “BTS collab with Halsey, a bisexual artist and this? A coincidence? I think not.”
@TamarWrites also tweets, “I had a terrible night’s sleep but a good portion of that time spent tossing and turning was given over to my thinking about how forking cool it is that BTS is working with Halsey, an openly LGBTQ+ artist. I cannot wait for ‘Boy With Luv,’ & to see how they interpret the title.”
I had a terrible night’s sleep but a good portion of that time spent tossing and turning was given over to my thinking about how forking cool it is that BTS is working with Halsey, an openly LGBTQ+ artist. I cannot wait for Boy With Luv, & to see how they interpret the title.— Tamar Herman @ Seoul (@TamarWrites) April 8, 2019
As Newsweek notes, fans think a band member is going to come out on this song as it’s been a huge topic in the K-pop rumor mill.
On another note, user @pipertaetae seems to think there’s “beef between Taehyung and Halsey” because of the way they exchanged looks in the clip. There’s even an entire thread on Asian entertainment forum OneHallyu about it.
what's the beef between taehyung and halsey pic.twitter.com/olMDC5pz8i— ᴄᴀᴛᴀ (@pipertaetae) April 7, 2019
Meanwhile, this YouTuber believes BTS and Halsey “are playing us.”
Other YouTubers also posted reaction videos, and commenters are impressed that these are much longer (10-15 minutes longer) than the teaser that’s only mere seconds:
BTS fans up in arms over “leaked” clip
Speaking of drama, some members of the BTS fandom are out for blood, as someone supposedly “released a one-minute clip of BTS’s upcoming title song ft. Halsey,” according to @aamazinggraciee.
ATTENTION ARMY!! SOMEONE ILLEGALLY RELEASED A ONE MINUTE CLIP OF BTS' UPCOMING TITLE SOMG FT. HALSEY SO PLS REPORT THIS ACCOUNT AND INFORM BIGHIT BY TAGGING THEM! THIS IS TRULY UNFAIR TO ARMYS, BTS, HALSEY, AND THEIR STAFF!! @BTS_twt @bts_bighit @halsey pic.twitter.com/q5jIRP9vD6— BANGTAN TRASH (@aamazinggraciee) April 8, 2019
This is reportedly a portion of what was leaked.
@nutellapjm asked the fans to clear “leaked” from the searches.
LET'S CLEAR THE L*** FROM THE SEARCHES— Nutella™ loves Mel (kinda IA) (@nutellapjm) April 8, 2019
PERSONA COMING SOON
PERSONA APRIL 12TH
BTS X HALSEY
BOY WITH LOVE HALSEY
RT, COMMENT, QUOTE. CLEAR THE SEARCHES pic.twitter.com/m71Ik6mkwU
@ultiggukk urged fellow fans not to pirate the music: “Guys please don’t interact with the tweet who leaked the song or click on the link, we’re … making the situation worse. BTS and Halsey worked so hard [on] this so let’s just not ruin this and wait for 4 more days! Send the link to BigHit and report.”
guys please don't interact with the tweet who leaked the song or click on the link, we're doing no help but instead making the situation worse. bts and halsey worked so hard for this so lets just not ruin this and wait for 4 more days! send the link to bighit and report. pic.twitter.com/mRVdvkMhKG— 𝙖𝙨𝙝𝙞; ot7 or else fuck yourself 🙂 (@ultiggukk) April 8, 2019
Indeed, it’s just four more days until the song, music video, and entire album are released, so we can understand how the anticipation for new BTS music is reaching a fever pitch. We’ll be waiting with bated breath.
Trixie Reyna-Benedicto is a lifestyle editor and writer based in the Philippines. Previously, she helmed Cosmopolitan Philippines’ website, Cosmo.ph, as its founding editor. She later served as editor-in-chief of lifestyle and entertainment portals for Manila-based media company TV5. Her work has appeared in several print and online publications in her country, and she contributes to Speed Magazine, DG Traveler, and Connected Women, among others. Visit her website, trixiereyna.com.