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BTS Take Number One Spot on Billboard 200

The South Korean group’s new LP is the first non-English album to chart at number one in 12 years

Riddhi Chakraborty May 28, 2018

BTS' atmospheric rise to Number One on the Billboard 200 is a defining moment for K-pop and Asian representation in global music. Photo: Courtesy of BigHit Entertainment

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South Korean group BTS made history earlier today by becoming the first Korean act to top the Billboard 200 chart with their third studio album  Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear.’

Released on May 18th,  Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’ is performed primarily in Korean and is the first non-English album to chart at number one in over 12 years; the last album to achieve this feat was multi-national classical group Il Divo’s Ancora in February 2006.

It was a tight race against American rapper Post Malone who was aiming for a third week at number one with his second studio album Beerbongs & Bentleys, but BTS leaped ahead with 135,000 album units sold in the U.S. in Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear”s first week, including 100,000 units in traditional album sales. The debut is the second-biggest of the year on the Billboard 200, preceded by MigosCulture II which sold 199,000 units in its first week.

Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear’ is probably the most versatile album BTS have done yet, featuring several genres including emo hip-hop, R&B ballads, Latin pop and more. The group’s previous release Love Yourself 承 ‘Her’ (2017) marked their first appearance on the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 at number seven. The septet will embark on a 14-date tour of the U.S. from September to October followed by a world tour with dates yet to be announced.

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BTS’ atmospheric rise to Number One on the Billboard 200 is a defining moment for K-pop and Asian representation in global music. However, it’s still impossible to foresee what this unprecedented moment will mean for Korea, Asia and POC in general; will there be acceptance or resentment from the masses?

The group’s success and increased visibility in Western media has kindled several racist and xenophobic reactions across the world over the past few weeks–including several from established publications. In addition to the skepticism around an Asian act being capable of producing genuinely insightful, chart-topping work, comments about the group’s success stemming from “rabid fangirls who only care for their looks” have been making the rounds on social media.

Watch “Fake Love,” the lead single off BTS’ ‘Love Yourself 轉 ‘Tear” below:

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