BTS makes history as ‘Life Goes On’ becomes first Korean song to top Billboard main singles chart

December 2, 2020

 K-pop megastar BTS has achieved another milestone with its new song “Life Goes On,” becoming the first Korean song to land at No. 1 on the Billboard’s main singles chart.

“‘Life Goes On’ officially debuts at No. 1 on this week’s Hot 100,” Billboard said in a Twitter post Monday (U.S. time), one day before the weekly chart will be refreshed.

“‘Life Goes On’ is also the first Hot 100 No. 1 in the chart’s 62-year history sung predominantly in Korean,” the U.S. music publication said, adding that the song “drew 14.9 million U.S. streams and sold 150,000 in the week ending Nov. 26.”

This composite image provided by Big Hit Entertainment shows members of K-pop group BTS in the music video for the song "Life Goes On." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This image, from the Billboard Twitter account (@billboardcharts) on Dec. 1, 2020, shows the rankings for its main singles chart, the Hot 100, for the week ending Nov. 26. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
This photo, provided by Big Hit Entertainment, shows a concept photo for BTS' latest album "BE." (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

This composite image provided by Big Hit Entertainment shows members of K-pop group BTS in the music video for the song “Life Goes On.” (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Apart from being the first single predominantly sung in Korean to top the main singles chart, BTS set a spate of new milestones with the achievement.

It marks the second BTS song to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard’s main single chart after its pop-disco track “Dynamite” debuted at the top of the chart earlier in the year.

“BTS is now the first and only group in history with multiple No. 1 debuts on the Hot 100,” Billboard tweeted.

“Dynamite” is still ranked at No. 3 on this week’s Hot 100, according to the Billboard.

With its latest song, BTS now has three top-charted songs that include BTS remix version of “Savage Love” by U.S. singer Jason Derulo and New Zealand producer Jawsh 685.

All three songs reached the summit of the Billboard singles chart within a span of just three months, Billboard said, noting how BTS became the first act to earn “the fastest accumulation of three Hot 100 No. 1s in 42 years, since the BeeGees earned three No. 1s in two months and three weeks.”

Storming Billboard success places BTS alongside The Beatles

“Life Goes On” is also the first song “sung mostly in a non-English language” since “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi in 2017 to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, it added. The previous record before the two hits came two decades ago with Los Del Rio’s “Macarena (Bayside Boys Mix)” in 1996.

Including “Life Goes On,” a total of seven songs from the eight-track album “BE” charted on the Hot 100, according to Billboard. Its previous “Map of the Soul: 7,” released in February, has three Hot 100 songs including “On,” which rose to the fourth place.

Along with No. 1 “Life Goes On” and No. 3 “Dynamite,” “Blue & Grey” placed 13th and “Stay” came in 22nd. “Fly to My Room” ranked 69th, followed by “Telepathy” in 70th and “Dis-ease” in 72nd.

“Skit,” a non-musical spoken word piece, is the only track that failed to make the top 100.

BTS thanked its fans, also known as ARMY, for their unwavering support in the group’s record-breaking musical journey.

“Thank you so, so much. We are grateful for No. 1 and to have two of our songs in the top three,” the band tweeted in Korean. “We sincerely thank all ARMY who love us. We will do our best to give you a better album going forward.”

“Life Goes On,” a relaxed ballad in which members RM, Suga and J-Hope took part in songwriting, is the lead track for the septet’s latest album “BE.” It recently became their fifth album to top the Billboard’s main albums chart, the Billboard 200.

The song is about going ahead with life whatever comes its way, with the lyrics “One day the world stopped/without any warning/spring didn’t know to wait/showed up not even a minute late” poetically depicting a world that has come to a sudden pause. It then goes on to suggest how things will eventually be OK, “Like an echo in the forest/the day will come back around/as if nothing happened/yeah life goes on.”

In media interviews and a showcase marking the album’s release on Nov. 20, the band said they hope to provide a message of hope and comfort with it.

“‘Life Goes On’ is a song that is weighty and firm but also soft and comforting in a sincere way,” RM said in the Nov. 20 press conference. “It’s a track in which we tried to show the obvious yet stern truth that life goes on, in a warm way through the color of BTS.”

The album, packed with eight songs, including the smash hit “Dynamite,” addresses what it means to live at a time when traveling is no longer possible and meeting fans in person is a distant dream.

“We encountered a situation where everything came to a stop,” Jin said. “I feel that the past year was spent in confusion and in emptiness. … We tried to honestly put in that sentiment in the album.”