Bleats

BTS Taking Time Off Work To “Recharge” Is The Ultimate Mood

‘Due to personal reasons I will be taking a nap’ – Suga, probably.

It’s official: the BTS hiatus has begun. Fans of the uber-successful K-pop boyband have flooded the internet with messages of support after the group’s management, Big Hit Entertainment, tweeted out the bittersweet news. Mandatory fun is the justification for the vacation, as the boys have virtually worked themselves to death since before their debut.

Look, I know the ARMY (collective noun for BTS diehards, for the uninitiated) get enough hate as it is, but I think y’all could’ve chosen a better hashtag. #RestWellBTS clearly confused a decent number of people, since “#RestWellBTS died” is a suggested search on Twitter. They’ll only be gone for two months folks, not forever.

ARMY: This year, I lost my dear idols RM, Jungkook, Jimin, V, Suga, J-Hope, and Jin.
BTS: Quit telling everyone we’re dead!
ARMY: Sometimes, I can still hear their voices.

Half of the band have been recording and performing full time since before they were 20 years old, so they’ve barely had any time to live as ‘normal’ young people – i.e. people who can nip into the local pub without an entourage of a thousand screaming tweens. In their YouTube Original documentary series Burn The Stage, RM lamented the missing years of “meeting friends” and “enjoying nature and walking around”, saying “I didn’t have enough time to live as Kim Namjoon.”

The physical exhaustion of touring the world and jumping around a stage for hours every night has clearly taken a toll on the members, too, making the break long overdue. Their fans have been pleading with them to slow down for over a year, ever since Burn The Stage exposed the reality of their lives on the road, showing Jungkook collapsing after a performance in Chile.

Pushing the talent too far is a common problem in the K-pop scene, with performers being forced to suffer through chronic health issues to fulfill the demands of their contracts, in exchange for a shot at fame. That’s one reason why the announcement of the BTS hiatus is so important – as the most popular K-pop group in the world, they have a lot of influence.

Though the ARMY are relentless in their love for the band, sometimes at the cost of the members’ privacy and safety, the majority seem nothing but relieved to see their beloved boys get the rest they deserve. Big Hit made an unambiguous request for any fans who stumble upon their idols to respect their personal space, and many have promised to defend the sanctity of the vacation against stalkers. To be fair this is only day one, so who knows what kind of chaos might ensure in the following content-free weeks.

BTS and their management have set a precedent for giving the world’s biggest and busiest K-pop stars a decent holiday, at last! We should all be embracing that liberating philosophy. Thanks to BTS, I will now be using this rationale to get out of any and all social responsibilities. No Aunt Carol, I can’t babysit your grandchildren next week, for I am on “an official and extended period of rest and relaxation”.

Lollapalooza Proved That Music Festivals Are A Better Soapbox Than The Senate

Preach it!

Music festivals have an extraordinary power to unite people – emotionally and physically, because when you’re crammed up against a wall of stranger’s bodies, you’ve just got to go with the flow. Others have unity in despair at missing out on tickets, or take action and storm the fences. For some artists, however, the stage is a platform not only for their music, but their messages about social issues.

Over the weekend, at Lollapalooza in Chicago, many of the performers opened their acts with a speech to the enormous crowds. Mass shootings took place in Texas and Ohio at the same time as artists like Twenty One Pilots and Ariana Grande prepared to take to the stage, inspiring country singer Kacey Musgraves to break up her set with a call to politicians to take action on gun control.

She pleaded with her enraptured audience to contact their representatives, driving home the point by rousing a chant of “Somebody f*cking do something!”

The Revivalists chose to make a similar statement, using a giant banner reading “End Gun Violence Now” as the backdrop for their performance, which featured an anti-gun violence protest song released late last year. Lead singer David Shaw used slightly subtler phrasing than Musgraves, saying, “We’ve got a problem in this country and I think you know what it is. … It’s up to the young people in this nation to speak out.”

Janelle Monae used her slot earlier in the Lollapalooza lineup to hit home some particularly provocative social and political messages. As well as performing her fiercely feminist songs ‘Django Jane’ and ‘Pynk’, she had some words for anyone who didn’t get the subtext. “We’re fighting against the abuse of power,” she said, “We’re fighting to get Donald Trump impeached.”

And it’s not just Lollapalooza that features this kind of expression. The history of political speech at music festivals is as long as they’ve been around, and an increasing number of artists are choosing to use them as an opportunity to protest and inspire.

At this year’s Glastonbury festival, Lizzo passionately encouraging her audience to take on a self-love mantra, and Olly Alexander of Years and Years defended himself against haters by drawing attention to the history and future of the LGBT+ community.

“The fight for equality began before the Stonewall riots, it continues today and it will go on until tomorrow, into the future,” he said, “But the future is not fixed. And our histories cannot predict what tomorrow might bring or what we might do with it.”

Incidental Music Can Now Hack Your Phone, So By All Means Bop Away

*ominous elevator music*

Satanic mind control is dead and hackers killed it, because a German university has found a way to use music to send information to a smartphone without you being able to hear it.

Yeah, if it sounds suss to you, you’re not the only one.

The experiment took 400 bits of extra data per second and disguised it in a song, hiding the URL for the press release by masking them under ‘dominant’ notes.

The idea is that the microphone in your phone would be able to read the secret message while you listen, which is a pretty terrifying concept when you think about all the ambient music that you hear every day.

And okay, maybe this is just my paranoid, conspiracy-wired brain freaking out over nothing, but the whole thing sounds suspiciously hackable.

The researchers suggested that it could be useful in places like hotels and cafes, making the traditional methods – like those tiny blackboards at the cash register that makes you look obnoxious squinting at – obsolete. Theoretically, the music playing in the lobby could give your phone special access by telling it how to connect without you ever needing to hit the keyboard.

It’s kind of similar to how your car radio will display the station and song info, only instead of being transmitted using the radio waves, it’ll be contained in the song itself, all together in one neat little package.

Seems pretty sensible except I go to dark places when it comes to tech news, and I don’t know if I love the notion that I can have my phone hacked by someone blasting Beyonce in the carpark.

Someone would absolutely use this for malware or spyware or whatever-other-bad-stuff-there-is-ware because the world is an awful place full of terrible people. The optimist in me would love it if someone would just use this technology to fire off some spicy memes or cute animal pics.

And there is a sliver of hope, because it sounds like – for now – you’d need to download an app and give it the appropriate permissions for this system to work. So as long as you don’t reckon your phone is spying on you constantly anyway, you’ll be right! Right..?

Let’s just go back to the good old days, when artists used subliminal messaging to sell your soul to the Devil by backmasking on their albums. After all, even evil loves a good bop.

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