BTS performing at the 2022 Grammy Awards.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
It all happened so fast. Off the back of their anthology album’s release in June, BTS shared a prerecorded dinner with the fans. Amidst a delicious-looking display of shrimp and meat and side dishes, the boys announced that they were taking a break from making music as a group to pursue solo projects. Looking back, the announcement wasn’t surprising — BTS spent the last decade living and making music together, so a break to find their own personal sounds and stories was perhaps overdue. But in the immediate aftermath of the announcement, the news of BTS’s break elicited a kind of hysteria: Hybe’s stocks tanked (this would be BTS’s management company), many observers speculated that the “hiatus” would look like One Direction’s (namely, BTS would never return as a group), and fans began to plan for their lives without constant updates from the Tannies (some resolved to work on themselves).
The dinner was a harbinger of an announcement that led many to self-identify as a military wife: BTS is now on a three-year hiatus to complete mandatory service. Off the heels of their October concert to promote Busan’s bid for the 2030 World Expo, the band announced their intention to serve in the military sequentially until a planned reunion in 2025. (Korean men are required to begin their 18-month service by the time they turn 28, though BTS was granted a two-year extension for their cultural achievements.) Jin, who turns the big 3-0 in December, will be the first member to enlist.
So far, a BTS break to pursue solo projects hasn’t meant a curtailing of activities. Instead, it’s multiplied all of their activities by seven, making it nearly impossible to keep track of it all. But let’s try to anyway — below, a handy little list of their group and solo activities:
BTS is back! Through archival footage and interviews, anyway. As part of a deal between Hybe and Disney, BTS released a 4K concert film, BTS: Permission to Dance on Stage — LA, tied to their November 2021 show in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the group is also getting an original docuseries. According to Disney, BTS Monument: Beyond the Star will include “a vast library of music and footage over the past nine years,” as well as “the daily lives, thoughts, and plans of BTS members, as they prepare for their second chapter.” The docuseries is scheduled to start streaming sometime in 2023.
In August, the band’s vocal line (Jungkook, V, Jimin, and Jin) released a track with Snoop Dogg and Benny Blanco, “Bad Decisions.”
After months of teasing new music with unsubtle pics of album files and Logic Pro screenshots, RM took to the group’s Weverse page to confirm a release date for his debut solo album, Indigo. “I’ve worked hard on it for four years,” he said on November 10, per a fan translation. “It’s very different from my previous works, and fun people are included in it.” One of the fun people in question is probably Pharrell, who said he wanted to make a song for RM’s upcoming album in the duo’s Rolling Stone “Musicians on Musicians” interview (the producer already cut a different track with the group for his own upcoming album, Phriends). Others speculate that Jungkook and J-Hope will make an appearance, alongside Korean R&B singer BIBI and rock band Cherry Filter. “Indigo recounts the stories and experiences RM has gone through, like a diary,” the press release states. The album drops December 2.
RM’s last solo release arrived in September, when he featured on alternative K-pop group Balming Tiger’s hip-hop track “Sexy Nukim.” (“Nukim” means “feeling” in Korean … We suggest you watch the many angles of RM’s first live performance of the song, where he embodies the track’s ethos to a terrifying degree.) He previously released two solo mixtapes — mono in 2018 and RM in 2015. Meanwhile, he’s slated to host the Korean variety show The Dictionary of Useless Human Knowledge, where the show’s expert panelists discuss literature, physics, forensics, and astronomy. It airs weekly beginning December 2.
Fresh off the release of his first solo single, “The Astronaut,” on October 28 — the song earned Jin his first solo Hot 100 hit, debuting at No. 51, along with a top spot on Billboard’s Digital Song Sales chart — the eldest has been working the variety-show circuit. As of writing, he made appearances on Running Man, Halmyungsoo, and rapper Young-ji’s talk show Nothing Much Prepared (the latter gets chaotic and real about the cost of fame … plus, the host passes out drunk in the bathroom, so Jin has to close the show alone). He also became the spokesperson for the ramen brand Jin Ramen in November. You’d think he would have already earned that gig, but, yeah, his dream collab only just came true.
Jin will also host a brand-new variety show with famous Korean chef Baek Jong-won. From the looks of the trailer, the series is centered around two things: making alcohol and eating food, with special guests and random activities sprinkled in to keep it spicy. Drunk Talk premieres November 12 on BTS’s YouTube channel. Following the end of his planned solo activities, Jin will enlist in the military to complete his mandatory service. An enlistment date has not yet been set.
This one has had studio sessions with damn near every producer under the sun. In the past few months, Jimin met with frequent Ye collaborator Hudson Mohawke, TBHits and Mr. Franks (the engineers behind Ariana Grande’s biggest hits), and Taylor Hill, to name a few. He was also pictured recording with a full choir overseen by musician Duane Benjamin days before “WAP” mastermind Ayo the Producer followed Jimin on Instagram (are we getting “Church Girl (Jimin’s Version”?).
The streets The label is saying the album will drop sometime next year.
In an interview with Weverse Magazine, Jimin says the solo album will be “raw” and “explicit.” “I just think I can show something a little more raw about me. That might include a more mature side, too, but what I’m really interested in is showing something closer to my real, personal rawness directly in a format like music or music videos,” he says. “I want to be better and cooler.”
Two months after the release of his debut studio album, Jack in the Box, J-Hope featured on Crush’s “Rush Hour.” The groovy hip-hop track dropped on September 24. Along with the song came a ’90s-inspired music video with exuberant choreography (obviously, the dance aficionado expertly hit every step). Over the summer, the virtuoso made his solo stage debut at
Lollapalooza Hobipalooza on July 31, an hour-long showcase of his skills as a seasoned entertainer, performing tracks from Jack in the Box, his mixtape Hope World, and various BTS albums.
V landed on the cover of Vogue Korea in September, teasing music that would show a new side of the artist. “I want to present a kind of music that I’ve never tried before, something that sets apart from the style BTS’s V has shown,” he told the magazine. “Being able to pursue one’s own music style lights the passion and enthusiasm in us. That’s what keeps us in love with what we do.” Though nothing has been confirmed, outlets report his debut solo album will arrive sometime next year (Tae’s been teasing his solo stuff for a while, but has admittedly deleted everything that doesn’t make the cut).
Over the summer, he featured in Disney +’s In the Soop: Friendcation, a variety show that follows a four-day friendcation to a seaside town with Choi Woo-shik (Parasite), Park Seo-joon (Itaewon Class), Park Hyung-sik (Strong Woman Do Bong Soon), and musician Peakboy. If you’re at all familiar with Korean vacation-variety shows, then you’ll know that these quiet, drama-free series about hot friends getting together to make each other breakfast is a balm for your chapped brain. The show premiered on July 22.
The rumor mill also teases a return to acting — he had a part in the K-drama Hwarang: The Warrior Poet in 2016 — though there’s really been no confirmations in that department. People really want to see him in Squid Game 2.
The youngest was the first to release a track in the post-BTS-break world. Featuring on Charlie Puth’s summer earworm “Left and Right,” Jungkook sings about how he can’t get a vague lover out of his head because they “did things to me that I just can’t forget.” The song is cute and very fun to drive to. The music video is the second one to depict Jungkook both getting hit by a car and perhaps having a gay lover. He is currently working on his debut album.
“Long hair, don’t care” era.
This is a developing story.