Is this the beginning of the end for BTS?
In June, the South Korean sensations released a career-spanning anthology, Proof, and announced they were taking a break while working on solo projects. And on Friday, J-Hope became the first BTS member to release a solo album, Jack in the Box.
On the 10-track LP — which, at 22 minutes, is shorter than some EPs — the 28-year-old artist, born Jung Ho-seok, finds darker, edgier beats than you’d expect from “Butter.” boy band. And just to prove he’s gone from bubblegum to badass, he even drops the F-bomb on the album’s close, Arson.
“I burned it all/And I want it all,” J-Hope raps over an eerie, almost sinister undercurrent.
With the heavier hip-hop of “Jack in the Box” – which sees J-Hope switching between English and Korean – he clearly wants to set his old BTS image on fire.
But perhaps the track that has the biggest hit potential, “= (Equal Sign),” brings J-Hope back into popier territory, delivering a “come together” message with echoes of the Black Eyed Peas and Justin Timberlake hit “Where.” Is the Love”. ?”
Though J-Hope will make history as the first South Korean artist to rock Lollapalooza as the headliner of a major US festival on July 31, the question of whether he can pull a Timberlake and become a solo superstar is yet to be decided.
Here we look back at the hits (Harry Styles) and failures (Nick Carter) of when boy banders went solo.
MJ laid the groundwork for his transition from boy band to solo idol as he outpaced his brothers in the Jackson 5 and with the back-to-back blockbusters 1979’s “Off the Wall” and “Thriller.” ascended the throne of the King of Pop in 1982. and 1987’s “Bad.” And while allegations of child abuse before and after his death in 2009 have tainted his legacy, no one has ruled the music world quite like he has.
The former One Direction heartthrob still sings the group’s biggest hit ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ in his concerts. But after winning a Grammy for his debut No. 1 single, 2020’s “Watermelon Sugar,” and now topping the charts with “As It Was” — for week nine and on — he’s a one- Mann phenomenon who has 15(!) shows at Madison Square Garden starting August 20th.
Though he recently got dragged for bringing papa moves to the “Beat Ya Feet” dance, JT didn’t miss a beat when he said “Bye Bye Bye” to *NSYNC and solo studdom with hits like “Cry Me” welcomed a River”, “Rock Your Body” and “SexyBack”. We even give him credit for 2018’s Man of the Woods.
When Brown was kicked out of New Edition, he wanted revenge on his former fellow boy band members. And with Don’t Be Cruel, his hit 1988 solo album, he showed them what he could do while exercising his own prerogative. And though he never came close to that success again and only released two more solo albums, Brown remains the biggest star to emerge from NE.
The only true solo sensation from Puerto Rican boy band Menudo, Martin helped spearhead the Latin pop crossover movement with his 1999 hit “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” while also producing a string of Spanish-language hits over the years. However, Martin is now embroiled in a spat with his 21-year-old nephew Dennis Yadiel Sanchez, who has accused him of domestic abuse – allegations the singer has denied.
The youngest Jonas Brother made for a sexy solo performance in 2014 with his hit “Jealous,” but since then his biggest hit has been with the JoBros on their #1 single “Sucker” in 2019. And he’s also made other relevant moves as an actor and coach on The Voice.
25 years after the Backstreet Boys released their US debut album, the boy band has not produced a single solo star. Carter seemed most likely to succeed without BSB with 2002’s Now or Never, but that turned out to be the first of three unforgettable solo albums. Still, Backstreet are back – and strong – touring this summer, with their “DNA” trek hitting Jones Beach on Saturday.
Lachey released his debut solo album, SoulO, at the exact same time his reality show, Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, starring his then-wife Jessica Simpson, premiered on MTV in 2003. Lachey couldn’t have had a better moment to break out of 98 degrees. But his solo career quickly took the path of their marriage.
As with the Backstreet Boys, it’s surprising that no member of New Kids on the Block managed to achieve respectable solo success. For many, Knight would have been the choice to take that step (step by step) to solo stardom, but things have been downhill since his 1999 self-titled debut. Still, he’s persistent on the mixtape tour with NKOTB this summer.
Ashley Parker Angel
Do you remember O Town? Neither do we. Angel emerged from the type group formed on MTV’s Making the Band, and hit the big time in 2006 with his debut solo single “Let U Go,” which was co-authored by hitmakers Max Martin and Dr. Luke, peaked at number 12 on the pop charts. Respectable, yes, but that was the only semi-high point of his solo career.