Idol (BTS song)

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"Idol"
Single by BTS
from the album Love Yourself: Answer
ReleasedAugust 24, 2018
Format
Studio
  • Dogg Bounce
  • The Rock Pitt
Genre
Length3:43
4:20 (with Nicki Minaj)
LabelBig Hit
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)Pdogg
BTS singles chronology
"Fake Love"
(2018)
"Idol"
(2018)
"Waste It on Me"
(2018)
Nicki Minaj singles chronology
"Goodbye"
(2018)
"Idol"
(2018)
"Woman Like Me"
(2018)
Music video
"Idol" on YouTube
"Idol (feat. Nicki Minaj)" on YouTube

"Idol" (stylized in all caps) is a song recorded by South Korean group BTS, released on August 24, 2018, by Big Hit Entertainment as the lead single from their third compilation album Love Yourself: Answer (2018). An alternative version of the song, which features Nicki Minaj, was also included as a bonus track with the digital album.[4][5] The single debuted at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the two versions combined sold 43,000 downloads in their first week of sale in the US.[6] It is certified gold by the RIAA.

On July 3, 2019, the Japanese version of the song will be released as a B-side track, along with the Japanese version of "Boy With Luv" and an original Japanese track titled "Lights".

Background and release[edit]

The day before the release of the single when its trailer was released, rumors about a collaboration track between BTS and Nicki Minaj had surfaced when Shazam identified the teaser video of the track as "Idol by BTS (feat. Nicki Minaj)".[5] On August 24, 2018, two hours before the official release of the album, Big Hit Entertainment confirmed that an alternative version of "Idol" featuring Nicki Minaj would be included in the digital version of the album as a bonus track.[7]

After its release, the song inspired an Internet dance challenge known as the "Idol Challenge", in which people dance to the chorus of the song, to try out the song's choreography.[8] The challenge has been done by different celebrities such as B.A.P member Zelo and Stephen "tWitch" Boss on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[9]

Composition[edit]

As described by Billboard's Tamar Herman, "Idol" is a "traditionally inspired track" featuring different classical Korean instruments.[10] According to media outlets, the song and the music video were inspired by Korean genre pansori and John Woo's 1997 movie Face/Off.[11] Yonhap reported, "The song is electronic dance music in the style of South African dance music. The African beats are layered with traditional Korean rhythms, as well as the pounding of a Korean folk percussion instrument used in the performance of traditional Korean farmers' ensemble.[12] Rolling Stone India said, "According to the group’s label Big Hit Entertainment, “Idol” was inspired by gqom, a style of house music that originated in Durban, South Africa. Gqom combines powerful traditional thumping drum with bass and house synths in a balance between tradition and trend." adding, "The track’s blend of Korean instruments like the gakgung (the Korean horn-bow which explains the shehnai-like sounds) with African rhythms, trap rap and electronica contribute to expanding its culturally rich, diverse, global sound".[13]

"Idol" is in the key of C# minor and incorporates various styles such as pop, world, contemporary R&B, and K-pop.[14] Both versions are 126 beats per minute.[15] One of the writers, Ali Tamposi, stated the rep from Big Hit wanted the song to feel intense.[16]

Music video[edit]

On August 22, 2018, the teaser video of the track was released,[17] while the full music video was released on August 24.[18] YouTube's official tally saw the music video garner over 56 million views within 24 hours of its release, breaking Black Pink previous record for "Ddu-Du Ddu-Du", of being the most viewed K-pop group music video within the first 24 hours[19] and making it the most watched music video within the first 24 hours,[20] surpassing American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift’s music video for “Look What You Made Me Do”, which recorded 43.2 million views in 2017.[21] On August 29, 2018, the music video became the fastest to reach 100 million views on YouTube in 2018.[22] The record was eventually broken in December 2018 by Ariana Grande, with the song "Thank U, Next".[23]

On September 6, 2018, the music video featuring Nicki Minaj was released. The music video is similar to the original music video, but with some additional scenes and Nicki Minaj rapping her part with Korean transliteration of the lyrics at her back. The video ends with several "Idol Challenge" video clips uploaded from their fans.[24]

The music video was created by the director Choi Yong-seok of Lumpens. Assistant directors include Guzza, MinJe, Jeong, Park Hye-heong all from Lumpens. The director of photohgraphy was Man Hyun-woo from GDW. Other key personnel are Song Hyun-seok who controlled the gaffer, Kim Bona and Park Jin-sil as art directors, Ahn Ye-min and Lee Hyun-seung making up the art team. Song Sukki as the construction manager, Ma Seung-keun working the show light, and Kang Jong working the lift operator. The key scenic artists were Hong Yeong-jun, Lim Kwang-hyun, and Seo Sang-hyeok.[25]

Critical reception[edit]

Raisa Bruner of Time described the song as "a clubby, beat-heavy track that pulses with energy and a sax melody line off the top", with the song being "hard-charging" during its runtime. Regarding the collaboration with Minaj, Bruner thought that the "collaboration mark[s] the beginning of BTS’ impending arrival on the U.S. scene."[26]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, "Idol" debuted at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was ranked first in sales for the week, the two versions combined selling 43,000 downloads in their first week of sales, and generated 24.4 million first-week streams combined.[6][27] The song dropped 70 positions in its second week, charting at number 81.[28] PopBuzz ranked it on their list "The best music videos of 2018 (so far)".[29]

In January 2019 it was announced that BTS would collaborate with the manufacturer Mattel to create dolls modeled off the outfits from the music video "Idol".[30]

Accolades[edit]

Year-end lists
Critic/Publication List Rank Ref.
Los 40 10 Music Videos of 2018 That Remain in Our Memory N/A [31]
CelebMix CelebMix’s Top Music Videos Of 2018 [32]
Elite Daily The 12 Best New Songs Of 2018 7 [33]
Entertainment Tonight Best Music Videos of 2018 N/A [34]
Gallup Korea The Best Songs in 2018 2 [35]
Hypable 10 great K-Pop songs from 2018 N/A [36]
The Inquirer Most covered K-pop song of 2018 2 [37]
JawaPos 9 K-Pop Songs Popular Throughout 2018 8 [38]
KultScene Best K-Pop Music Videos of 2018 N/A [39]
MTV 20 Music Videos That (Should've) Got Everyone Talking In 2018 [40]
Nación Rex Top 10: The Best Music Videos of 2018 3 [41]
Playground The best songs of 2018 4 [42]
SBS PopAsia Top 100 Asian pop songs of 2018 1 [43]
Spotify Best of 2018: K-Pop 16 [44]
Youtube Rewind Top 10 Most Popular Music Videos in Korea Released in 2018 9 [45]
Top 10 Most Popular Music Videos in Korea From 2018 4 [46]
Awards
Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2018 E! People's Choice Awards Song of the Year Won [47]
Music Video of the Year Won
Korea Popular Music Awards Best Digital Song Nominated [48]
Mnet Asian Music Awards TikTok Best Music Video Won [49]
Favorite Music Video Won
MBC Plus X Genie Music Awards Dance Track (Male) Won [50][51]
Song of the Year Nominated
Best Music Video Won
2019 Gaon Chart Music Awards Song of the Year – August Nominated [52][53][54]
Korean Music Awards Song of the Year Nominated [55]
Best Pop Song Nominated

Promotion[edit]

BTS promoted the song on various music programs in South Korea including M Countdown, Music Bank, Show! Music Core, and Inkigayo garnering a total of eight wins despite its short promotion. On December 1, 2018, BTS performed the single at the Melon Music Awards.[65] In the same month they promoted it at SBS Gayo Daejeon.[66] The song was promoted at the 2018 MBC Plus X Genie Music Awards and MBC Gayo Daejejeon as well.[67] In 2019 it was performed at the Seoul Music Awards.[68]

BTS performed the single on America's Got Talent Season 13 semi-final which was aired September 12, 2018.[69] They also performed it on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Good Morning America.[70]

On October 12, 2018, the group performed the single on The Graham Norton Show in the UK.[71]

Track listing[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Idol"
Pdogg3:43
Digital bonus track
No.TitleWriter(s)Producer(s)Length
1."Idol" (featuring Nicki Minaj)
  • "hitman" bang
  • Ali Tamposi
  • Onika Maraj
  • Pdogg
  • RM
  • Roman Campolo
  • Supreme Boi
Pdogg4:20

Credits and personnel[edit]

Korean version[edit]

The song's original credits are adapted from the CD liner notes of Love Yourself: Answer.[72]

  • Pdogg – producer, keyboard, synthesizer, vocal & rap arrangement, digital editing, recording engineer @ Dogg Bounce
  • Supreme Boi – producer, chorus, gang vocal, vocal & rap arrangement, digital editing, recording engineer @ The Rock Pitt
  • ”Hitman” Bang – producer
  • Ali Tamposi – producer
  • Roman Campolo – producer
  • RM – producer, gang vocal
  • Jungkook – chorus, gang vocal
  • J-Hope – gang vocal
  • ADORA – digital editing
  • Hiss noise – digital editing
  • James F. Reynolds – mix engineer

Usage in media[edit]

"Idol" is featured in the 2018 YouTube Rewind video.[73]

Charts[edit]

Year-end charts
Chart (2018) Position
South Korea (Gaon Singles Chart)[110] 70

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United States (RIAA)[111] Gold 500,000double-dagger

double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Version Label Ref.
Various August 24, 2018 Digital download Original Big Hit [112]
United Kingdom September 28, 2018 Contemporary hit radio Nicki Minaj Remix
[113]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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