Welcome to Close Reads! In this series, Leah Schnelbach and their guests dig into the tiny, weird moments of pop culture—from books to theme songs to viral internet hits—that have burrowed into our minds, found rent-stabilized apartments, started community gardens, and refused to be forced out by corporate interests. This time out, Delia Harrington executes a tightly-choreographed dance through the evolution of BTS’ pop hit, “Black Swan.”
At the Grammy Awards on April 3rd, global music phenomenon BTS’s new staging of their billboard-topping song “Butter” blew the audience away. It was easy to feel the excitement in the room even through the TV screen, and host Trevor Noah followed the performance up with an awed and impressed “What was that?!” But those of us familiar with the Korean seven-person band know that this performance, though exceptional, is no exception. If anything, it’s typical of the kind of boundary-pushing, technically exacting, joy-creating performances that BTS fans and those familiar in the industry have come to expect from them.