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19 Ways BTS Brought Much-Needed Joy To 2020

BTS gave their fans a lot to look forward to and enjoy throughout 2020.

BTS are always prolific, but in 2020 the enormous volume of excellent content they released felt even more special.

BTS wears colourful satin suits standing in a line on a lit-up stage
Ama2020 / Getty Images

With their world tour cancelled, BTS channeled their energies into serving new music, social media updates, performances, and other assorted content to their fans, ARMY. It helped ARMY not only feel connected to the band themselves, but to each other, giving people things to look forward to and, crucially, ways to enjoy them together.

It's been a year of isolation and sadness, and everything BTS did helped to alleviate that for their fans to some degree. It's literally impossible to include everything, because they truly did SO much, but here are some of the highlights that show how BTS helped bring joy and connection to millions this year...

1. They celebrated every milestone with fans.

BTS are unashamed in sharing their feelings โ€” both the light and the dark. While there was no shortage of dark feelings for anyone this year (more on those in regards to BTS in a sec), BTS had a few very happy moments, and shared them in a way that made fans feel included and a part of that joy. It kicked off with the countdown to 2020, when we all still had hope for the year (lol), but continued throughout the year, not only with members' birthdays but also notable moments. This included when they achieved their dream of hitting number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (first with "Dynamite", then later with "Savage Love Remix" and "Life Goes On") as well as their first Grammy nomination. It's impossible not to get caught up in their joy when they share it so willingly and openly.

2. They released A LOT of new music, starting with Map of the Soul: 7.

Black and white photo of BTS leaning on each other in a pile on the floor, with doodles drawn around and on them
Big Hit Entertainment

Map of the Soul: 7 is their fourth studio album, and uses Jungian concepts of the Persona, Shadow, and Ego to explore BTS' inner feelings, especially regarding their careers. The music on the album delves into dark feelings but also seizes the light, creating a cathartic journey. Though it was released before the pandemic spread globally, many of the songs offer comfort and hit differently in lockdown. Personally "00:00", with its concept of midnight offering a reset even when you're feeling terrible, and its refrain of "and you're gonna be happy", has been vital throughout 2020.

3. Their Japanese album Map of the Soul: 7 โ€” The Journey offered more original songs.

The BTS members frolic in front of a house as petals drift in the air
Big Hit Entertainment /

While this album was mostly Japanese versions of Map of the Soul: 7 songs, it included a few welcome additions, including the boppy title song "Stay Gold", accompanied by a whimsical music video, as well as the soaring love song "Your Eyes Tell", composed by youngest member Jungkook.

4. "Dynamite" blew everything up in the best possible way.

BTS wear colorful clothes and pose in a field in the Dynamite music video
Big Hit Entertainment /

"Dynamite" was a surprise release from BTS โ€” both as a standalone single (at least until its inclusion on BE months later) and as their first ever group song with lyrics entirely in English. In many interviews and press conferences, the band said they wanted to release the song to offer comfort and joy to fans and anyone struggling, and it certainly did that. A bright song with an even brighter music video and literally dozens of irresistibly fun performances, "Dynamite" set 2020 alight alright.

5. Suga released his second mixtape as Agust D, D-2.

Agust D smirks in the "Daechwita" music video
Big Hit Entertainment

The BTS members don't only work on music as a group โ€” they also all release solo projects on the side. This year, Suga, who releases solo work under the name Agust D, unveiled his second mixtape, D-2. Starting with a mysterious daily countdown and culminating in the release of the album as well as the music video for title track "Daechwita", it provided an unexpected and exciting group experience for fans. Suga topped it off with a nearly two-hour live stream in which he sipped alcohol, discussed each track, and joyously lip synced to his own songs. Pure delight.

6. The vocal line released a bunch of solo songs, most of which were free.

The soundcloud cover of "Christmas Love" by Jimin

At least two of BTS' four vocalists are currently actively working on mixtapes of their own, and in the meantime they released several solo songs this year, mostly as gifts for fans. V created "Sweet Night" for his friend Park Seojoon's drama Itaweon Class, and he also released the lovely "Snow Flower" for fans on Christmas Day. Jimin also gave fans a sweet Christmas song, "Christmas Love", while Jungkook offered fans his very first original solo work "Still With You", about how much he misses performing for them at concerts, in honor of BTS' seventh anniversary. For his own birthday eldest member Jin gifted fans his second original solo track, "Abyss", which explores mental health in a vulnerable and open way.

7. They released some iconic collabs.

In addition to group releases and solo projects, the BTS members kept fans well and truly fed by collaborating on some huge songs this year โ€” sometimes on their own, and other times in small subunits. RM worked on "Winter Flower" with Younha, Jimin and Jungkook featured on Lauv's "Who", Suga produced and featured on IU's "Eight" and featured on Max's "Blueberry Eyes", and Suga, J-Hope, and Jungkook worked on a remix of Jason Derulo and Jawsh 685's smash "Savage Love", propelling the song to number one in the process.

8. They released another album, BE.

Promo photo for BE in which BTS sit in a bedroom, surrounded by instruments
Big Hit Entertainment

BE was unplanned, filling the void in the members' lives when their tour was cancelled. They channeled their feelings and experiences of the pandemic into this album, with each member participating in songwriting and other aspects of the album production process to a greater degree than ever before. The result is a beautiful, cohesive, and comforting journey, exploring feelings of depression, isolation, anxiety, and fear, while also offering hope and a sense of determination โ€”ย all of which are encompassed wonderfully in the title track "Life Goes On".

9. They documented the album-making process in real time for fans.

The BTS members sit around a meeting table eating and talking

BE was unique in many ways, one of which was the way BTS gave fans access to the making of it in a way they had never done with previous albums. They released a series of YouTube videos โ€” sometimes pre-recorded, sometimes live-streamed โ€” that showed them practicing, planning, writing, figuring out logistics, and even painting. It was fascinating insight that fuelled excitement for the album and made fans feel a part of the whole process.

10. They held BangBangCon โ€” two days of old concerts streamed live for free.

A close up of BTS' hands holding ARMY bombs (their light sticks)
Big Hit Entertainment

Soon after their tour was cancelled, BTS' company Big Hit announced BangBangCon โ€”ย a whole weekend of previous BTS concerts streamed for free. Not only was it a chance for old fans to revisit their fave performances and new fans to experience them for the first time, it offered a joyful communal experience at a time when it was very much needed

11. They put on multiple online concerts.

The BTS members in costume on stage
Big Hit Entertainment

After testing the waters with BangBangCon, BTS performed BangBangCon: The Live, an online concert that was mostly old songs with a few newer ones mixed in. When it became clear they wouldn't be able to tour for an extended period of time, they performed an online version of their set over two nights for Map of the Soul ON:E. Like BangBangCon, the online concerts were glorious collective experiences, with Map of the Soul ON:E proving to be especially exhilarating, as fans got to witness songs from Map of the Soul: 7 performed for the very first time.

12. They gave endless TV and awards show performances.

BTS wear traditional Korean clothes and stand on stage in front of a palace

Beginning with the Grammys and the release of Map of the Soul: 7 through to the "Dynamite" extravaganza, the release of BE, and the end-of-year awards shows in Korea, BTS has consistently delivered innovative, beautiful, mind-blowing, and incredibly fun performances all through 2020. They turned the inability to perform in front of a crowd to their best advantage, creating stages they never would have been able to do otherwise. A particular highlight was BTS Week on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, which featured nightly performances along with interviews and games.

13. They kept us entertained with media appearances.

Jin, Suga, and V sit in the backseat of a car laughing, with the caption reading "I don't know what he said, but let's laugh"
CBS / Via

BTS are always charming and engaging when they do media, even when they're subjected to the same old tired questions. Luckily this year provided some fresh opportunities for both them and fans โ€” the highlight of which was Carpool Karaoke with James Corden, which is basically a 17-minute supply of serotonin.

14. They offered consistent encouragement and inspiration.

BTS wear suits and sit on stools

Part of the appeal of BTS is their emotional intelligence. They talk about their feelings and stories, offering them to each other and to fans as a way to say "I understand" and "this might help". They do this not just through their music, but also more formal events. This year, that included the Dear Class of 2020 event as well as a virtual appearance at the United Nations.

They extended their influence in other ways, too; becoming art patrons through their global Connect, BTS project, and donating $1 million to Black Lives Matter, a sum which their fans matched within 24 hours.

15. They livestreamed themselves doing quarantine activities.

Jin, Jimin, and Suga play a dance game in front of a couch

Part "we're just like you", part "let us entertain you", BTS did a series of livestreams in the early days of quarantine that were an extremely welcome and soothing distraction. Like everyone else, they made dalgona coffee, did paper craft, made jewellery, and, perhaps best of all, they danced.

16. They made their own "radio" show.

On top of a bunch of other activities they were doing right after COVID hit, Suga began a weekly radio show, Honey FM, which was actually a voice-only livestream. Every Saturday night, he spent an hour (and sometimes more) chatting to fans, performing popular children's stories, playing games, and generally being a warm and calming presence. Each BTS member was a guest at some point, and they finished off the series with a glorious group livestream.

17. The celebrated their seventh anniversary with a huge virtual festival.

The BTS members wear suits and quirky sunglasses while posing in a row
Big Hit Entertainment

Each BTS anniversary is honoured with Festa, an extended celebration for fans in which they release music, special videos, photos, interviews, and more. This year was no exception, and was particularly special given it was their seventh anniversary (a milestone for the seven members, honored in the title of their album Map of the Soul: 7). Highlights included Jungkook's "Still With You", as well as the group singing karaoke together with hilarious results.

18. They released a new reality show In the Soop.

J-Hope, Jimin, and V play with water guns.
Big Hit Entertainment

BTS has a bunch of shows they currently do or have done in the past, but 2020 brought unusual times, and they produced the perfect show to match them: In the Soop. It involved the seven BTS members going to a house in the middle of the forest in Korea for a week, and just...hanging out. They cooked, and ate, and talked about what they wanted to cook and eat, and cooked and ate again, and played ping pong, and painted, and did some more cooking and eating, and had deep personal conversations, and fished, and played with Lego, and cooked and ate some more. It was low-stakes but incredibly compelling in its simplicity. The BTS members described their time on the show as healing, which perfectly encapsulates the viewing experience, too.

19. And they continued to release their variety show, Run BTS.

The BTS members wear pyjamas and lie on a rug
Big Hit Entertainment

Run BTS is a variety show in which the BTS members compete in a variety of challenges and activities, often ruthlessly betraying each other before hugging it out at the end. It's extremely entertaining and a lot of fun. There have been many great episodes this year, but some of the best were BTS' cozy pyjama party and their 100th episode special, in which they revisited some of the most iconic challenges from previous episodes. It's basically a weekly dose of joy, needed in 2020 more than ever.

2020 is finally (almost) over, and weโ€™re looking back on the year. Check out even more from the year here!