Book review: BTS Icons of Pop

BTS Icons of Pop The Unofficial Biography

Adrian Besley

Michael O’Mara

Review: Lauren O’Connor-May

I’m not usually a fan of celebrity biographies but I was intrigued by this book because I had to wonder, what was so special about this boy band that I heard so much about (I have teen daughters).

Now that I have read this book, which my daughters and their friends are already queueing for, I think I get it.

While K-Pop and lots of pop music in general sound pretty much the same to my undiscerning ear, according to author Adrian Besley, the seven-piece ensemble broke barriers to make a name for themselves in an industry where similar bands are mostly manufactured.

Obviously, this book would be a must-have for any uberfan or members of the ARMY (what the band’s fans apparently call themselves) but the mildly curious like me might also like it because the band’s story is quite interesting, especially since, unlike their contemporaries, they were not manufactured.

This book was printed with larger than regular text and has lots of graphics. It is also parcelled in what is best described as bites − short chapters, interspersed with images, graphics, member profiles, and “Bangtan Bombs”.

In BTS world, Bangtan Bombs are short videos of behind-the-scenes antics by the band but in the book, the bombs break up chapter text to describe what video content the members were posting online at the time of the narrative.

This book is a third edition, the first was published in 2018, and in the acknowledgments, the author writes: “I don’t think any of us who originally worked on the book telling the story of a successful pop group realised quite how far their journey would take them.”

Earlier this year the band decided to follow solo careers so it looks like the third may be the last.

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