meta-scriptBreaking Down Every Solo Act From BTS: Singles, Debut Albums & What's Next For The Septet | GRAMMY.com
Breaking Down Every Solo Act From BTS: Singles, Debut Albums & What's Next For The Septet
BTS (from left): V, Suga, Jin, Jung Kook, RM, Jimin and J-Hope

PHOTO: AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILMMAGIC

feature

Breaking Down Every Solo Act From BTS: Singles, Debut Albums & What's Next For The Septet

In 2022, BTS announced that the group would take a break as they enlist in South Korea's mandatory military service. The solo careers of Jin, Suga, j-hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jung Kook have launched a new era for the K-pop superstars.

GRAMMYs/May 10, 2023 - 02:14 pm

No one can deny that South Korean boy group BTS is a phenomenon. Since their debut in 2013, the septet formed by Jin, Suga, j-hope, RM, Jimin, V and Jung Kook have broken barriers and prejudices against Asian artists, reached notable milestones, and brought together one of the world’s most devoted fandoms — known as ARMY.

Their relatable lyrics discuss societal issues and the pressures of growing up, while their intricate storytelling blends art classics, pop culture, and Korean heritage into something entirely new. BTS also offer a wide-range of musical genres — from hip-hop disses like "Mic Drop," to heartfelt ballads like "Spring Day" and feel-good bubblegum pop like "Butter." Regardless of any opinions, it’s impossible not to be in awe of their oeuvre.

Taking all that in consideration, it’s not surprising that BTS have broken numerous album and tour sales records throughout their career — they sold out Wembley Stadium and the Rose Bowl in 2019, becoming the first non-English-speaking, Asian artists to do so, for example. BTS also won a slew of trophies in South Korean and American award shows, including five GRAMMY nominations. For all of their contributions to South Korea’s culture, they also became the youngest recipients of the country’s Order of Cultural Merit in 2018.

BTS is, in some ways, a symbol of something bigger than themselves. An entity capable of uniting people all over the world and transmitting much-needed messages in their music. However, that wouldn’t be possible if the seven humans behind it weren’t as interesting as the whole. Since the beginning, BTS always encouraged its members to develop their own artistry, and all of them released several solos that spotlight their unique talents.

While 2022 brought in the news that BTS would take a break from group activities as they enlist in the South Korean mandatory military service, that meant their solo careers would take on the spotlight, launching in a new era. From Jin’s "The Astronaut" to Jung Kook’s "Dreamers," GRAMMY.com breaks down all of BTS’s solo releases so far.

Jin

Jin isn’t just "Mr. Worldwide Handsome," as he became known for his good looks. The eldest member of BTS is also a competent vocalist, whose soothing voice gave life to three solo songs under the group’s roster: 2016’s "Awake," 2018’s "Epiphany" and 2020’s "Moon."

The Anyang-born singer also contributed to the band’s SoundCloud with the co-written and co-composed tracks "Tonight" and "Abyss." The former, released in 2019, was inspired by the deaths of Jin’s dog and two sugar glider pets. Released in 2020, "Abyss" dealt with his fears and anxieties. "I want to find you and tell you/Today, I want to get to know you even more, yeah," he sings.

In 2021, Jin was chosen to sing "Yours," the main theme of TvN’s drama "Jirisan." However, the real highlight of that year was "Super Tuna," a short song made for kicks and giggles that wemt viral on YouTube and TikTok.

As the eldest of the group, Jin was also the first to enlist in the military in December of 2022. Shortly before that, he graced fans with his official solo debut single, October’s "The Astronaut." Co-written alongside Coldplay, the track placed No. 51 on the Billboard Hot 100; Jin performed the song in Buenos Aires, during the British band’s Music of the Spheres World Tour. 

Suga

One of BTS’ main songwriters, producers, and rappers, Suga is a prolific artist with a keen view about the world that we live in. Born in the city of Daegu, he began as an underground rapper and initially joined Big Hit Entertainment as a producer. Eventually, Suga became a trainee along with the other members.

Since BTS' debut in 2013, he contributed as a songwriter to the majority of their material, as well as producing and featuring in tracks by other artists such as Halsey’s "Suga’s Interlude," PSY’s "That That," and IU’s "Eight." He released five solo tracks as part of the group’s discography: 2015’s "Intro: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life" and "Intro: Never Mind," 2016’s "First Love," 2018’s "Trivia: Seesaw," and 2019’s "Interlude: Shadow." Each release revealed his talent as a poignant storyteller on the ups and downs of growing up, dealing with fame, and remaining hopeful amid storms.

Concomitantly, he formulated the alter ego Agust D and released two solo mixtapes — 2016’s Agust D and 2020’s D-2. His first studio album under the alias, April’s D-Day, was said to conclude the explosive, evocative trilogy that dealt with themes like anger, vengeance, and pain. Suga is also the first BTS member to headline his own tour, which is happening throughout May and June in the U.S. and Asia.

j-hope

Rapper j-hope was born in the metropolis of Gwangju, where he became known for his dancing skills. His interest in rapping, though, only came once he moved to Seoul and became a trainee under Big Hit Entertainment, where felt inspired by teammates Suga, RM, and producer Supreme Boi.

J-hope gradually developed his skills and became one of BTS' main songwriters, releasing three solo songs: 2016’s "Intro: Boy Meets Evil" and "Mama" and 2018’s "Trivia 起: Just Dance." Also in 2018, j-hope released his buoyant solo debut mixtape, Hope World. The album peaked at No. 38 on Billboard’s 200 chart, turning him into the highest charting Korean soloist at the time. In 2019, he collaborated with Becky G on the hip hop track "Chicken Noodle Soup."

Following the announcement that BTS would be taking a break from group activities in 2022, j-hope was the first member to begin solo promotions. Jack in the Box, his first solo album, came out on July 15, and just 16 days later he became the first South Korean artist to headline Lollapalooza.

As of April, j-hope is currently enlisted in the military, but he left fans a special single to savor while they wait for his return: March’s "On the Street," featuring rapper J. Cole.

RM

RM has often been the group’s main spokesperson and producer. Through his work, he earned a stellar reputation both inside and outside of South Korea, collaborating with artists such as Fall Out Boy, Lil Nas X, Younha, Tiger JK, and Erykah Badu.

Born in Seoul, RM was a trainee under Big Hit Entertainment for three years before debuting, where he honed his songwriting skills in pre-debut tracks and cuts for other K-pop groups. As part of BTS, the gifted singer and rapper released a few solos: 2013’s "Intro: O!RUL8,2?," 2014’s "Intro: What Am I to You?," 2016’s "Reflection," and 2019’s "Trivia: Love" and "Persona." 

He was also the first member of the group to release a solo mixtape, 2015’s RM, which showcased his distinct flow and honest self-reflections about rage and the contradictions of fame. In 2018 came his introspective, minimalistic second mixtape, Mono. Although just as honest about his emotions as the first one, Mono showcased a more pensive, or rather matured, side of RM. 

In December 2022, he released his much-awaited debut studio album, Indigo. Described as "the last archive of my 20s," RM continues his thoughtful reflections on what it means to make art and to be human, settling himself as one of today’s most intelligent minds.

Jimin

Jimin always made an impression through his elegant dance moves and distinct falsettos, giving an aesthetic flair to all of BTS’ releases. The Busan-born artist also showcased more of his talents through three solo tracks under the group’s name: 2016’s "Lie," 2017’s "Serendipity" and 2020’s "Filter."

In 2018, he released his first credited solo song, "Promise," followed by "Christmas Love" in 2020. That same year, Jimin collaborated with close friend and singer Ha Sung-woon on "With You," the soundtrack to TvN’s 2022 drama "Our Blues," and in January 2023, he co-wrote and featured on Big Bang member Taeyang’s single, "Vibe."

In March, Jimin released his long-awaited debut EP, Face. Its single, the synth-pop tune "Like Crazy," topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making Jimin the highest-charting Korean soloist of all time.

V

V’s baritone, husky voice is one of BTS’ most prominent elements, giving depth and texture to their songs. Like Suga, he was born in Daegu and dreamed of becoming a singer. After debuting with BTS, he released three solos under their name: 2016’s "Stigma," 2018’s "Singularity" and 2020’s "Inner Child."

On the group’s SoundCloud, he has slowly developed his own tracks. In 2019, he issued the self-composed ballad "Scenery," and later the all-English "Winter Bear." He also contributed to a few drama soundtracks along the years, most notably 2020’s "Sweet Night," off JTBC’s Itaewon Class, and 2021’s "Christmas Tree," off Studio N’s Our Beloved Summer.

Although V has been teasing an official mixtape for some time now, there is still no indication of when it will be released.

Jung Kook

At 25 years old, Jung Kook is the youngest member of BTS. Like Jimin, he was born in the coastal city of Busan, but moved to Seoul as a teenager to pursue his dreams of becoming a singer. In "Begin," his first solo song released on BTS’ 2016 album Wings, he sings about how the group was largely his introduction to life: "When I was 15 years old, I had nothing/The world was too big and I was small."

Later came 2018’s "Euphoria" and 2020’s "My Time," off BTS’ Love Yourself: Answer and Map of the Soul: 7, respectively. Also in 2020, he released "Stay Alive," the main soundtrack to BTS-based webtoon 7Fates: Chakho. He also publishes occasional solo work via Twitter, including the fan-loved "Decalcomanie," or SoundCloud, where he released "My You" and "Still With You" — the platform’s Most-Streamed Pop Song in 2022, despite being released in 2020.

Last year, Jung Kook explored international collaborations. He participated in Charlie Puth’s pop hit "Left and Right," and released "Dreamers" for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, later performing it at the opening ceremony of the event. With that, he became the first South Korean artist to release an official FIFA World Cup song.

While Jung Kook has mentioned that he intends to release a mixtape one day, it’s still a mystery whether it will happen anytime soon. But judging through his output so far, he has proven to be more than ready to let the world get to know his artistic colors in full — just as all his bandmates have.

Celebrate AAPI Month 2023 With A Genre-Spanning Playlist Featuring BLACKPINK, Yaeji, Olivia Rodrigo & More

6 Takeaways From 'BTS Monuments: Beyond The Star'
BTS (from left): V, Suga, Jin, Jung Kook, RM, Jimin and J-Hope

PHOTO: AXELLE/BAUER-GRIFFIN/FILMMAGIC

news

6 Takeaways From 'BTS Monuments: Beyond The Star'

In honor of BTS' 10th anniversary, Disney+ released 'BTS Monuments: Beyond the Star.' Two of the eight episode docuseries are available to stream; read on for a deeper look at the septet's history, accomplishments, and behind-the-scenes moments.

GRAMMYs/Dec 22, 2023 - 08:38 pm

Today, it’s hard to avoid BTS. You might have heard their GRAMMY-nominated singles "Dynamite" and "Butter" playing at a random store. Maybe you learned about another record they broke in the news. Or, you probably know at least one person in their passionate, loyal fanbase, also known as Army.

But before there was BTS, the international sensation, there was Kim Seok-jin (Jin), Min Yoon-gi (Suga), Jung Ho-seok (J-Hope), Kim Nam-joon (RM), Park Ji-min (Jimin), Kim Tae-hyung (V), and Jeon Jung-kook (Jung Kook), seven hopefuls from across South Korea with one dream and thousands of hours of dedication to their craft.

A decade ago, it might have seemed impossible for a group like BTS to be at the top in their home country — let alone one of the biggest groups on the planet. In Korea, it was only likely to become successful if you had one of the legacy names, such as SM Entertainment, backing you, and they came from the virtually unknown Big Hit Entertainment (now Big Hit Music under conglomerate HYBE).

Year after year, the septet defied odds, from winning Best New Artist at the esteemed Melon Music Awards in 2013 to earning Top Social Artist across the globe at the Billboard Music Awards consecutively between 2017 and 2021. They have amassed 26 Guinness World Records and became the first Korean act to receive multiple nods from the GRAMMYs.

In honor of their 10th anniversary as BTS, Disney+ released BTS Monuments: Beyond the Star. The docuseries offers a deeper look at the septet's massive accomplishments, tracing back to their initial auditions in 2010. The first two of eight episodes are available to stream now.

Below, discover everything we learned thus far about the icons in their latest docuseries, BTS Monuments: Beyond the Star.

The BTS Grind Never Stops

You see their flawless choreography, calculated facial expressions and glamorous outfits, but you never know the amount of preparation it takes to get there.

For example, BTS rehearsed the lead single, "Danger," from their debut studio album, Dark & Wild, until the wee hours of the morning for weeks. They then traveled to Los Angeles to promote the single and, despite Big Hit’s unstable financial state, implemented a huge budget to produce the music video. The goal was to win the television competition "SBS Inkigayo."

"As expected, we didn’t place first and left the charts in a day," RM remarks in the episode.

The intense training and dieting caused them to question if their slow traction was worth the battle. "To be honest, I didn’t think this was fun in the past," Jin tearfully mentioned in a 2013 fan meeting. "There were a lot of things they couldn’t get started because they weren’t sure what path we were on."

Through their frustrations, BTS never gave up, and eventually, the perseverance led to their first mega-hits, "I Need U" and "Fire" in 2017. They obtained their desired results and still never decreased their work ethic, which skyrocketed their career to an even higher level. "We’ve always worked hard, whether there was a crisis or not," Jin explains.

Everyone Had Their Unique Strengths

What makes BTS a powerhouse is that each member had a clear-cut reason they joined, and as Suga notes, it took "countless" changes to perfect it into the current lineup.

According to HYBE chairman and the group’s creator, Bang Si-hyuk, he was impressed by RM’s "depth of character and base of knowledge"; Suga had a unique sarcastic, dark side; J-Hope was "the personification of diligence" and a strong dancer; Jin’s handsome features would easily attract a fandom; Jung Kook had "a lot" of potential; V was effortlessly charming; and Jimin was instantly talented and intrigued the team.

They’re More Than Colleagues — They’re Family

It’s common for manufactured groups not to bond beyond the stage. However, BTS see themselves more like family than co-workers.

Showing up for one another’s personal affairs was second nature. Without question, they watched Jung Kook enter high school, taking photos and teasing their younger brother, or maknae. The docuseries also flashes back to J-Hope’s surprise birthday party, where the six created a sentimental video of his family.

"I had found my place," J-Hope shares. "I believe that [joining BTS] was the most fateful moment of my life."

Being A K-Pop Idol Wasn’t Always Respected

For many aspiring musicians, especially those of Asian heritage, becoming an idol is the ultimate goal. You completely surrender to your art, spending nearly every waking hour doing what you love. If you’re lucky enough to debut at a company like HYBE, you will undoubtedly join the ranks of K-pop’s most influential. Better than anyone else, BTS knows that wasn’t always the case.

"There was a strong negative view of idols," Suga recounts of their breakthrough EP The Most Beautiful Moment in Life. "Nowadays, we are acknowledged for our achievements and performances overseas, but it was a really agonizing time for us back then. We had a lot of unreasonable controversies."

They became "desperate and spiteful," but because of the support from the Army, they overcame the rough patch and switched the narrative. As a thank you to their fans, they wrote "2! 3!" to say, "Let’s forget it all."

The United States Was A Turning Point In Their Career

By 2016, BTS knew they were stars in Korea. They performed in the biggest venue at the time, the Olympic Gymnastics Arena, with a capacity of 25,000 people. They won the Mnet Asian Music Awards' most coveted honor: Artist Of The Year.

"In a movie, the credits would start rolling. At that point, we’d done everything we could as Korean artists," Suga says with a laugh. So, what’s next? Conquer the rest of the world.

The following year, BTS performed at the Billboard Music Awards, certain that nothing would come of it. To their surprise, they won Top Social Artist, which had previously only been awarded to Justin Bieber.

"It was the start of raising people’s awareness of us as the group BTS," RM reveals. Things continued to snowball: they performed at the American Music Awards and dropped a remix with Steve Aoki.

By early 2022, BTS were making history. The group performed their smash hit "Butter" onstage at the 64th GRAMMY Awards.

They Believe In The Power Of Art

When the pandemic began in 2020, entertainment was the first sacrifice. "‘Concerts may never be held again. People are unable to gather,’" Suga recalls hearing on broadcasts. They began to wonder if there was a point in releasing music.

After two years of self-reflection and improvement, they knew COVID-19 could not be the end. Music gave them purpose. "That was the driving force," J-Hope says. "I wasn’t completely aware of how important music and dancing was to me. I realized that I shouldn’t take it all for granted."

The lockdown also showed them the impact Army had on their lives. They motivated them to keep going because they knew how much the band meant to their fans. They witnessed it constantly when they saw the fervent cheers and tears on tour. BTS has brought together millions of people. As Namjoon promises, "Art can change the world," and "Music transcends languages, nationalities and races."

15 K-Pop Songs That Took 2023 By Storm: From Seventeen’s "Super (손오공)" to NewJeans' "Super Shy"

15 K-Pop Songs That Took 2023 By Storm: From Seventeen’s “Super (손오공)” to NewJeans' "Super Shy"
NewJeans perform on stage during Lollapalooza in Chicago in 2023.

Photo: Josh Brasted/ FilmMagic / Getty Images

news

15 K-Pop Songs That Took 2023 By Storm: From Seventeen’s “Super (손오공)” to NewJeans' "Super Shy"

From global tours to viral TikTok hits, explore how acts like Seventeen, Fifty Fifty, and newcomers like NCT DOJAEJUNG shaped the evolution of K-pop with new song releases in 2023.

GRAMMYs/Dec 21, 2023 - 02:16 pm

2023 was a busy year for K-pop. As the South Korean industry moves at lightning speed, new albums were released almost every day, and dozens of artists made their debuts. K-pop tours crossed the globe, and acts like TWICE and BLACKPINK filled out stadiums. Songs like Jung Kook’s "Seven" featuring Latto, or Fifty Fifty’s "Cupid," were playing everywhere, from TikTok to Target stores.

Amidst so much content, what singles best defined this year? There’s mighty chart-toppers, such as NewJeans’s "Super Shy" and AKMU’s "Love Lee," and sales monsters like Seventeen’s "Super" and Jisoo’s "Flower." Of equal importance, there are also songs that entered our collective unconscious — whether for their flawless melodies, such as NCT DOJAEJUNG’s "Perfume", or for their sassy irreverence, like (G)I-dle’s "Queencard".

In terms of musical trends, retro sounds dominated the scene, taking inspiration from synth-pop, to disco, to Jersey club. There’s a few blustering tracks, too, proving K-pop’s versatility and reinvention powers in a style that has been often overused.

Years from now, when we look back to the sounds that shaped 2023, the 15 songs below — listed by order of release — will definitely be remembered:

Fifty Fifty - "Cupid"

Rookie girl group Fifty Fifty turned heads with their sublime debut EP, The Fifty, at the end of 2022. This year, they made their first comeback in February with the sweet "Cupid" and reached even further. The single went massively viral on TikTok, peaked at number 17 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, and reached no. 8 on the UK Singles Chart.

Fifty Fifty were poised to be 2023’s big breakouts — an impressive feat for a group coming from a small company like ATTRAKT. However, at the end of June, the quartet found themselves embroiled in a complex legal battle against the label. In October, ATTRAKT terminated the contracts of members Aran, Sio, and Saena, leaving Keena as the only active member of the group. For all those reasons, "Cupid" is a bittersweet listen. Its sugary synths and bubbly harmonies are still delightful, but its background story and the feeling of lost potential tinge every chord with sadness.

Jimin - "Like Crazy"

BTS’s Jimin had long proved his prowess as a soloist (seen in "Lie," his 2016 solo released under the group), but it wasn’t until this year that he put forward a proper solo debut album. Out in March, Face presented Jimin at his truest: he co-wrote five out of six songs, and helped conceptualize the record and the music video for title track "Like Crazy."

Inspired by the 2011 movie of the same name, "Like Crazy" is a dark synth-pop journey through desperation. In the lyrics, Jimin tries to hold together whatever is left of a crumbling relationship. "I'd rather be / Lost in the lights, lost in the lights / I'm outta my mind / Can you help me numb the pain?" he pleads. Delivered with stirring mastery, the song resonated with audiences across the globe, leading Jimin to become the first South Korean to top Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Jisoo - "Flower"

After Jennie’s "Solo," Rosé’s R and Lisa’s Lalisa, BLACKPINK fans couldn’t be more eager for the quartet’s final member, Jisoo, to make her solo debut. Luckily, her single album Me came out in March, featuring lead single "Flower" and b-side "All Eyes on Me." At the time of release, Jisoo became the first K-pop female solo artist to become a million-seller, with Me exceeding 1.31 million pre-orders.

"Flower" is elegant and delicate, with pop synths that swirl around trap beats and lots of space. Traditional Korean music elements enhance its royal feel, while Jisoo’s husky vocals lament the loss of a relationship. Here, Jisoo proves her potential as a soloist, and opens the doors for BLACKPINK to begin a new era.

IVE - "I Am"

Another promising girl group to emerge in 2022, IVE are hitmakers with an empowering edge. From the meaning of their name ("I have") to their self-penned lyrics, the sextet aims to give the public as much confidence as they display on stage.

"I Am" spearheaded their first full album release in April, I’ve IVE, and quickly topped music charts in South Korea. With a disco flair reminiscent of ABBA, the single is a momentous celebration that reminds us to live life to the fullest. As they sing in the chorus: "That's my life, it’s a beautiful galaxy / Be a writer, the genre is fantasy / A big, big stage will open for me tomorrow / So that is who I am."

NCT DOJAEJUNG - "Perfume"

SM Entertainment’s decision to unite three of the smoothest vocalists under NCT into a subunit was one of 2023’s best decisions. Formed by Doyoung, Jaehyun and Jungwoo — or DOJAEJUNG — the trio released the unexpected but impeccable EP Perfume in April.

The eponymous title track encapsulates their vocal talents in a sultry R&B jam, overflowing with ‘90s nostalgia and heavenly harmonies. "I'll fill your day with heavenly scents / To remind you of my name at every step," they sing. Like the best perfumes, its notes spread and linger, creating a mesmerizing effect. Few songs flow so effortlessly.

Seventeen - "Super (손오공)"

Since their debut in 2015, one of K-pop’s most beloved acts, Seventeen, shows no signs of slowing down. The 13-member group continues to grow their fanbase and break records every year — 2023’s proof being their tenth EP released in April, FML. According to their agency, Pledis Entertainment, the EP sold 6.2 million copies — the highest sales ever in K-pop — and recently won Album of the Year at the 2023 MAMA Awards.

FML came with two lead singles, "F*ck My Life" and "Super," but it’s the latter’s grandiosity that stood out the most. Inspired by Sun Wukong, the mythological Monkey King of classic Chinese novel Journey to the West, the boisterous track blends Jersey club and bass drums into a larger-than-life celebration. "I love my team, I love my crew / We already made it this far," they sing, acknowledging what brought them to where they are.

Le Sserafim - "Unforgiven"

When the legendary Nile Rodgers chooses your song to be his first foray into K-pop, you must be doing something right. That is the case of Le Sserafim, the fearless girl group under Source Music (a sub-label of HYBE), and their May single "Unforgiven."

Off their debut studio album, also named Unforgiven, the track samples Ennio Morricone’s theme song from the 1966 film The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, with Rodgers’ funky chords adding even more flair to a pop-country, hip-hop feast. "Never asked for forgiveness or anything / Gonna target taboos, watch me now," the quintet professes. Above all, "Unforgiven" is about freedom, and extends that concept to music creation as well.

aespa - "Spicy"

"Tell me what you see / When you look at me / ‘Cause I am a 10 out of 10, honestly," raps Giselle in the ultra-confident "Spicy." Off aespa’s third EP released in May, MY World, this gripping single provides the best of cheeky ‘90s pop mixed with rubbery synths and a revving pulse.

The SM Entertainment quartet gained attention upon their 2020 debut for incorporating avatars of themselves (æ-aespa) and an AI-inspired lore in their music. As their discography has grown, their concept and sound evolved to encompass new styles that reflect a bulletproof self-esteem. With "Spicy," aespa have proven to be more than just a hyper-tech fad, and entered main character territory.

(G)I-dle - "Queencard"

During a press conference for the release of their sixth EP in May, I Feel, the leader and producer of (G)I-dle, Soyeon, said that "the core message of 'Queencard' is that you can be a beautiful person if you adore yourself."   

If you aren’t there yet, "Queencard" might just be the antidote. Here, (G)I-dle employ their megawatt charisma to deliver an irreverent, unabashedly pop track with hints of rock and roll. Part satire, part girl power anthem, "Queencard, I’m hot / My boob and booty is hot," is one of the most iconic lines of 2023, and if that doesn’t boost your self-esteem just a little, you might be taking yourself too seriously.

ATEEZ - "Bouncy (K-Hot Chilli Peppers)"

ATEEZ are one of the most commanding boy groups in K-pop. Since debuting in 2018, they captivate the stage: their facial expressions, knife-sharp choreographies, and hard-hitting sounds make it impossible to do otherwise.

Cut to 2023, when they made everyone "slow it down" and "make it bouncy," as goes the chorus of their June single "Bouncy (K-Hot Chilli Peppers)." Aside from the name reference, this has nothing to do with the Red Hot Chili Peppers — ATEEZ just wanted to show the world "A different kind of spicy, Cheongyang chili pepper vibe." It works. "Bouncy" is a tour de force in their discography, making a wild spectacle out of distorted, dystopian chaos.

NewJeans - "Super Shy"

2023’s definite hit of the summer came by the hands of NewJeans — the trailblazing girl group from HYBE’s sub-label ADOR. Their 2022 debut EP, New Jeans, took K-pop by storm, but this year proved they’re global stars to watch: the quintet was nominated Time's Next Generation Leaders, landed high fashion ambassadorships with brands like Gucci and YSL, performed at Lollapalooza in August, and released their sophomore EP in July, Get Up.

"Super Shy" is the album’s effervescent first single. "I'm super shy, super shy / But wait a minute while I / Make you mine, make you mine," they sing in flirtatious lilts, underpinned by UK garage and Jersey club beats. The result is a shot of pure pop serotonin.

NCT Dream - "ISTJ"

July’s "ISTJ" brings soaring harmonies and a propulsive melody to shape one of this year’s most enthusiastic hits. Off NCT Dream’s third studio album of the same name, it was inspired by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality test, which is widely popular in South Korea. Individuals with the ISTJ personality type are said to be quiet and practical — nothing to do with the high-energy hip hop that NCT Dream portray in their song.

However, that’s because "ISTJ" is written from the point of view of their opposite type: ENFPs, who are usually the life of the party. Such a creative concept reinforces why NCT Dream keep on rising — from the teen sub-group made up of the youngest members from the collective NCT, they have now matured into charismatic leaders of their own.

AKMU - "Love Lee"

The first release in two years from sibling duo AKMU — formed by Lee Su-hyun and Lee Chan-hyuk — "Love Lee" is as lovely as it sounds. Out in August along b-side "Fry’s Dream," the track swept Korean charts since day one, and stayed atop the Circle Digital Chart (one of the biggest music charts in the country) for six non-consecutive weeks.

Initially unassuming, this jaunty ballad reveals its charms slowly, like honey dripping from a spoon. Su-hyun’s crystalline voice would be enough to steal the show, but here it is paired with sweet production quirks from Chan-hyuk, making the track a simple, yet memorable highlight of 2023.

RIIZE - "Get a Guitar"

For the past seven years, all male trainees under SM Entertainment eventually debuted in NCT — a larger group which holds several units like NCT 127 and NCT Dream. 2023 marked a change in that dynamic: in September, fresh-faced RIIZE launched their first single album, Get a Guitar.

The groovy title track is anchored by guitar plucks and retro synths, providing a feel-good introduction to their charms and a bright, light vibe to follow. Preceded by the wistful "Memories," Get a Guitar was a commercial success, receiving over 1 million pre-order sales — a new record for debut albums under SM. In 2024, these young men are sure to rise even higher, starting with an upcoming comeback on January 5.

Jung Kook - "Standing Next to You"

BTS’s youngest member Jung Kook took his time to officially launch a solo career. Since the band announced a break in group activities last year, he carefully directed his efforts to the Western market, releasing a series of collaborative singles like "Left and Right" with Charlie Puth, 2022 FIFA World Cup’s "Dreamers,"  "Seven" with rapper Latto and "3D" featuring Jack Harlow.

While all these songs are hits on their own, it turns out Jung Kook was saving the best for last. In November, he finally dropped his debut solo album, Golden, and title track "Standing Next to You." Inspired by the best of Michael Jackson, he moves through the song with conviction and poise, delivering a timeless hit for years to come.

2023 In Review: 5 Trends That Defined K-Pop

15 Must-Hear Albums This November: Dolly Parton, Jung Kook, Marshmello & More
(Clockwise) Chris Stapelton, Ana Tijoux, Steve Aoki, Dolly Parton, Jung Kook, Marshmello, Jimmy Buffett, AJR, Zoe Wees

Photos: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images; Pilar Castro Evensen; TAO Group; Mike Marsland/WireImages; Gotham WireImage; Ivan Apfel/Getty Images; Douglas Mason/Getty Images; AJR; Kristy Sparow/Getty Images

list

15 Must-Hear Albums This November: Dolly Parton, Jung Kook, Marshmello & More

Fill up on a bevy of releases from Chris Brown, Mon Laferte, and the late Jimmy Buffett — whose name reflects the collective musical appetite this month.

GRAMMYs/Nov 1, 2023 - 01:12 pm

November arrives with a cornucopia of new albums to fill your playlist and platters — from Latin American hip-hop, to DIY alt-pop, to classic rock 'n' roll.

Jung Kook, BTS’s youngest member, kicks off the month with his solo album debut, Golden while the posthumous Equal Strain on All Parts celebrates the life of Jimmy Buffett. Jason Aldean brings forth Highway Desperado for all country lovers, while British band the Struts maintain their stylish rock origins in Pretty Vicious

Later in November, Dolly Parton arrives with her first rock album, Chris Brown shares his mystical 11:11, and Chilean singer Ana Tijoux shares her first new album in nine years. 

Below, we compiled a handy guide to all the must-hear albums dropping November 2023 — from fresh names like Zoe Wees to resident hitmakers like Steve Aoki.

Espectro Caudillo - La Liturgia del Tigre Blanco

Release date: Nov. 2

Espectro Caudillo — the experimental electronic project of Reuben Torres — based their upcoming studio album, La Liturgia del Tigre Blanco, on Daniel Salinas Bavase’s book of the same name.

With Tigre Blanco, the Tijuana-raised producer and former member of Los Macuanos explores the life of the city’s former president and controversial figure, Jorge Hank Rhon, as well as the legacy of his father, politician Carlos Hank González.

The album also celebrates Tijuana’s vivid electronic scene. Hyperlocal genres such as Nortec (norteño techno) and ruidosón are heard  on singles "04’20″88" (which refers to the murder of journalist Hector "El Gato" Félix Miranda by two of Rhon’s guards) and "El Temible Grupo Jaguar."

Marshmello - Sugar Papi

Release date: Nov. 3

GRAMMY-nominated DJ and producer Marshmello is gearing up to release his first Latin album. After breaking into the mainstream with electronic hits such as "Wolves" with Selena Gomez and "Happier" with Bastille, the Philadelphia-born artist unveils Sugar Papi.

"I’ve had the pleasure of being able to perform all across the world and it’s hard to match the love and energy I’ve felt from the Latin community," he shared on Instagram. "Because of that I knew it was important for me to find a way to bring my audience into this world as much as I could."

Completed in less than two weeks, the album was crafted through a lot of "on the spot creation" in the studio, Marshmello told Billboard. Each of its 10 tracks features one Latin artist, including pre-release singles "El Merengue" with Manuel Turizo, "Tempo" featuring Young Miko, and "Como Yo :(" featuring Tiago PZK.

Zoe Wees - Therapy

Release date: Nov. 3

German newcomer Zoe Wees is ready to give fans a full treat with her debut studio album, Therapy. The much anticipated, 20-track effort has been "a long time in the making, and I have found writing it to be such a healing experience. I hope you feel the same comfort when you hear it," Wees shared on Instagram.

Since her 2020 hit "Control," the singer has proven an exceptional sensibility and a knack for supporting people — much like a therapist. Her soulful voice and resilient lyrics explore themes like self-discovery, self-esteem and healing. "When I’ve pushed through it all, I’ve found motivation that’s made me even stronger. Don’t ever doubt how powerful you can be," she shared in a statement about recent single "Lightning."

Therapy also features previously released tracks "Don’t Give Up," "Daddy’s Eyes," "Third Wheel," "Girls Like Us," and the aforementioned "Control."

Jimmy Buffett - Equal Strain on All Parts

Release date: Nov. 3

Despite battling skin cancer for years, Jimmy Buffett continued to sing and perform until died on Sept. 1 of this year. His diligence made it possible for Equal Strain on All Parts, the 32nd album in his impressive discography, to be completed and set to release next month.

According to Rolling Stone, the title refers to how Buffett’s grandfather would describe a good nap. With 14 tracks, the album features Paul McCartney, Angélique Kidjo, Emmylou Harris, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and two covers — "Mozambique" by Bob Dylan and "Like My Dog" by Billy Currigan.

Equal Strain is spearheaded by lead single "Bubbles Up," which McCartney described as "the best I’ve heard him sing ever." 

Jason Aldean -  Highway Desperado

Release date: Nov. 3

"I think when I look back on it, I built my career early on my live show, and have been on the road touring since I was 18 years old," said country star Jason Aldean in a recent statement about his forthcoming album, Highway Desperado.

These on-the-road experiences served as the main inspiration behind the record — his 11th studio LP. It’s the Nashville singer’s first effort since 2021 and 2022’s double album, Macon, Georgia, and features 14 tracks.

Ahead of the release, Aldean shared the lead single "Try That in a Small Town," as well as "Tough Crowd," "Let Your Boys Be Country," and "Whiskey Drink." 

Jung Kook - GOLDEN

Release date: Nov. 3

After a lengthy wait and a slew of singles and collaborations — including a performance of "Dreamers" at the opening ceremony of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year — BTS’ Jung Kook will finally release his first solo album, Golden.

The title comes from both the K-pop expression "golden maknae" (or "golden youngest" in Korean), for which he became known since his early days, and from Jung Kook’s own golden moments as a soloist, according to a press release.

Featuring 11 tracks, including the hit "3D" featuring Jack Harlow, Golden will come out on Nov. 3, alongside lead single "Standing Next to You."

The Struts - Pretty Vicious

Release date: Nov. 3

Following 2020’s Strange Days, British rock band the Struts will release their fourth studio LP, Pretty Vicious via Big Machine. It was produced by the quartet alongside Julian Raymond (Fleetwood Mac, Cheap Trick).

"This record showcases each individual member’s strengths," vocalist Luke Spiller shared in a statement. "It’s some of my favorite music, hands down, we’ve ever conjured up. It’s the record everyone’s been waiting for."

For a preview of what the 11 tracks in Pretty Vicious will sound like, the band shared the single and opening song "Too Good At Raising Hell." On Nov. 6, the Struts will begin their Remember the Name tour across the U.S.

Chris Stapleton - Highеr

Release date: Nov. 10

Following his 2020 GRAMMY-winning LP, Starting Over, Chris Stapleton will release his fifth studio album, Higher. Produced by Stapleton, longtime collaborator Dave Cobb, and his wife, Morgane, Higher will feature 14 tracks that cross beyond his country leanings and dare to explore further genres.

Such experimentations can be seen in lead single "White Horse," which mixes soaring rock riffs with Stapleton’s thundering vocals, and in the funky bassline of "Think I’m in Love with You," raising expectations for the Nashville star’s latest reinvention.

AJR - The Maybe Man

Release date: Nov. 10

When life hit sibling trio AJR with the death of their father this year, they turned to what they do best: music. From their grief first came their upcoming fifth studio album, The Maybe Man.

According to a press release, the titular character is "a big sad superhero who is always questioning who he is," and whose "emotion hangs over his head, so it doesn’t have to hang over yours." Over Instagram, the New York alt-pop band said "We put absolutely everything we had into this album, visuals, and tour. Down to every little detail. Get ready to immerse yourself in this world."

This is AJR’s first release since 2021’s Ok Orchestra, and features 12 tracks. The album is preceded by singles "Yes I’m a Mess," "The Dumb Song," "The DJ Is Crying for Help," and "I Won’t."

Mon Laferte - Autopoiética

Release date: Nov. 10

"Our cells create themselves. In other words, life creates life. Everything in the end is cyclical," Mon Laferte said in an interview for Tótem magazine (via Rock&Pop Chile). She was explaining the title of her forthcoming ninth studio album, Autopoiética. "So, I loved that idea and I took it to a poetic sense: we are all autopoietic beings, I am autopoietic, I have the ability to recreate myself all the time, to create this universe, my personal mythology."

Following 2021’s GRAMMY-nominated 1940 Carmen, Laferte explained to Rock&Pop Chile that this album is "much deeper in the lyrics, much more reflexive as well. The sound is more electronic, I used a lot of samples. The idea was to make a record with the machine in my house."

Autopoiética is preceded by several singles that carry Laferte’s known eclecticism, such as "Te juro que volveré," "Tenochtitlán," "40 y MM," and "NO+SAD." In a statement, she shared that "I loved this new creative work, I wanted to try new things from previous albums. I'm really excited, I feel that this is my best album yet."

Chris Brown - 11:11

Release date: Nov. 11

For his upcoming 11th album, Chris Brown doubled down on a lucky number. Titled 11:11, his latest album will come out on Nov. 11, and features sides A and B, each containing 11 songs that will be released at 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., respectively.

Superstitions aside, the record was also supposed to be more concise than his previous works. On Instagram, the singer shared "I see some of my die hard fans wanting me to add more songs for the new project and I love y’all for that. But, I just feel I need you all to really miss me and take my art seriously." However, with 22 songs, 11:11 sits close to 2022’s Breezy and its 23 tracks now. 

Brown has shared two tracks off the project: the chill lead single "Summer Too Hot" and the sultry "Sensational," featuring Nigerian singers Lojay and Davido.

Dolly Parton - Rockstar

Release date: Nov. 17

Last year, the legendary Dolly Parton was inducted to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. However, due to her country background, her first response was to politely decline. "I don’t feel that I have earned that right," she shared in a statement over social media. "This has, however, inspired me to put out a hopefully great rock n’ roll album at some point in the future, which I have always wanted to do!"

The world didn’t have to wait long, as Parton’s first foray into the genre, Rockstar, is due Nov. 17. The album features rock’s biggest stars — Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Steven Tyler, Joan Jett, and more — through a whopping 30 tracks that vary from well-known covers to exclusive compositions, offering a panoply of styles and infusing them with Parton’s unique charm.

 "I am very honored and privileged to have worked with some of the greatest iconic singers and musicians of all time, and to be able to sing all the iconic songs throughout the album was a joy beyond measure," the 10-time GRAMMY winner shared in a statement.

A couple of days before the release, Dolly Parton Rockstar: The Global First Listen Event will hit select movie theaters around the globe, offering fans a sneak peek of the album, behind-the-scenes footage, and exclusive performances. Parton has already released six singles off the project: "World on Fire," "Magic Man" featuring Ann Wilson, "Bygones" featuring Rob Halford, Nikki Sixx, and John5, "We Are the Champions"/"We Will Rock You," "Let It Be" featuring McCartney and Starr, and "What’s Up?" featuring Linda Perry.

Steve Aoki - HiROQUEST: Double Helix

Release date: Nov. 17

In 2022’s HiROQUEST: Genesis, DJ and producer Steve Aoki crafted an entire sonic world for the adventures of a puzzling character named HiRO. Next month, Aoki and HiRO return for a brand new journey on HiROQUEST: Double Helix.

"Part I was largely driven by my alt-music roots in hardcore punk bands," Aoki shared in a statement. "Now, the story continues on Double Helix, which embraces dance culture while intertwining the pulse of contemporary Latin music." He also added that the album "harmonizes nostalgia and contemporary sounds, placing collaboration at its core."

Double Helix features Galantis and Hayley Kiyoko, as well as singles "Invítame A Un Café" with Ángela Aguilar, "Diferente" with CNCO, "The Show" with JJ Lin, "Muñecas" with TINI and La Joaqui, "Lighter" featuring Paris Hilton, and a remake of Akon’s 2003 hit, "Locked Up," with duo TRINIX.

Plain White T's - Plain White T's

Release date: Nov. 17

Five years have passed since the Plain White T’s latest record, Parallel Universe, but they are finally ready for a new era to begin. On their upcoming self-titled album, the Illinois rockers are "trying to hark back to sounds we’ve used in the past with a freshness," frontman Tom Higgenson said in a press release.

"This one came from a really authentic place of understanding who we are and what we do," he added. "I’m more excited than I’ve been in a long time. As musicians, we’re always trying to outdo ourselves or go somewhere we haven’t gone before. Somehow, we figured out how to go to a fresh spot and still sound like Plain White T’s."

A preview of the band’s newfound freshness can be seen through six unveiled singles: "Would You Even," "Happy," "Spaghetti Tattoo," "Red Flags," "You Plus Me," and "Fired Up." The album features 13 tracks in total.

Ana Tijoux - VIDA

Release date: TBD

[Editor’s note: Since publication, Ana Tijoux has delayed this release until the new year.]

To announce her first album in nine years, VIDA, Ana Tijoux released the single "Niñx." The hip-hop and reggaeton fusion track is "born as a manifesto to the child we all have inside of us," Tijoux explained in a press release. "That living being that is capable of dreaming and building infinite castles of humanity and love."

More recently, she also unveiled second single "Tania," which pays homage to her late sister. Both songs were produced by longtime collaborator Andrés Celis, and foreshadow how the Chilean veteran has grown and why she continues to be one of Latin American hip hop’s most important voices.

Recently, Tijoux also published the memoir Sacar La Voz, and was invited by Alicia Keys to perform her hit "1977" during the latter’s Chile arena tour in May.

How To Watch The 2024 GRAMMY Nominations: St. Vincent, Jeff Tweedy, Muni Long, Kim Petras, Jon Bon Jovi, "Weird Al" Yankovic & More To Announce The Nominees; Streaming Live Friday, Nov. 10

11 Iconic Concert Films To Watch After 'Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour'
(From left) Chris Frantz, Tina Weymouth, David Byrne and Jerry Harrison of Talking Heads attend a 'Stop Making Sense' Q&A in Brooklyn

Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for BAM

list

11 Iconic Concert Films To Watch After 'Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour'

The concert film seems to be having a moment. From the Talking Heads to Queen, read on for 11 concert film experiences that will help keep the party going.

GRAMMYs/Oct 18, 2023 - 02:51 pm

A lavender haze has descended upon movie theaters across America. 

Taylor Swift’s filmed version of her historic Eras tour is the movie-music event of the year, dominating the box office becoming highest grossing dometic concert film in Hollywood history after a single weekend. Byt the time the Eras credits roll, you know all too well that you’re going to want to keep the party going.

Luckily, there are a breadth of artists whose musical singularity is reflected on the silver screen. Swift's major influence notwithstanding, the concert film seems to be having a moment in recent years: Pop stars such as Lizzo (Live in Concert), Selena Gomez (My Mind and Me) and Lewis Capaldi have released popular concert films.

From Beyoncé’s stunning Homecoming, to acclaimed concert films from Queen to Talking Heads and new entries like from the boys in BTS, read on for 11 excellent concert film experiences.

Homecoming: A Film by Beyonce (2019)

When Beyoncé headlined the Coachella Music and Arts Festival — the first Black woman to do so — in 2018, she didn’t just perform; she delivered a tour de force extravaganza that spurred a whole new moniker: Beychella. 

Shot over two nights, the Netflix film Homecoming includes a discography-spanning retrospective and memorable performances of "Run the World," "Single Ladies" and "Formation." Layered in ware nods to the Historically Black College and University experience, legends like Nina Simone and dazzling array of choreography, wardrobe and vocal chops. 

The New Yorker later hailed it a "triumphant self portrait" and "a spectacle of soul." Directed by Queen Bey herself, Homecoming took home the golden gramophone for Best Music Film at hte 62nd GRAMMYs. 

Stop Making Sense (1984)

The filmmaker Jonathan Demme is known for classics like Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia, but he was also a major force in concert films. Among his achievements in this field is Stop Making Sense, his 1984 portrait of David Byrne and his Talking Heads.

Filmed at the peak of the band's popularity and following the release of Speaking in Tongues (which featured "This Must Be The Place" and "Burning Down the House,"), Stop Making Sense  is a cult classic, from its array of hits to the band’s massive suits which became their calling card. 

The film was re-released in theaters last month. "I'm kind of looking at it and thinking, who is that guy?," said David Byrne in a recent interview with NPR about watching his younger self. "I'm impressed with the film and impressed with our performance. But I'm also having this really jarring experience of thinking, ‘He's so serious.’" 

BTS: Yet to Come in Cinemas (2023)

While the GRAMMY-nominated South Korean superstars BTS may be on a break — Jung Kook recently announced that he will release his debut solo full-length- bask in the glow of the K-pop and their rollicking concert film earlier this year. In the film, Jung Kook alongside Jin, RM, Jimin, V, J-Hope as they smoothly perform their calvadace of hits, including "Butter" and"Dynamite" in a 2022 performance for Busan, South Korea’s rally to host the 2030 World Expo. 

The boys are actually no stranger to the genre, with Yet To Come marking their fifth concert film in addition to BTS Permission to Dance on Stage — Seoul: Live Viewing and 2020’s Break the Silence: The Movie among others. 

Madonna: Truth or Dare (1991)

With off-stage footage shot in black and white and performances in vivid color, this early '90s classic depicts Queen Madge at the height of her power. Taken from an actual game Madonna and friends play towards the end of the film (to scandalous results), Truth or Dare showcases the breadth of Madonna’s superstardom up until that point with performances of classics like "Holiday" and "Like a Virgin" with its artfully-shot juxtaposition of performance and documentary footage a trailblazer in the concert film genre. 

"The surprise of Truth or Dare is just what a blast Madonna is," wrote the Guardian on the occasion of the film’s 30th anniversary. "Nastily funny, openly horny, undisguised in her contempt for anyone she deems less fabulous than herself and her blessed collaborators." 

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never (2011)

Way before Swiftmania, there was Bieber Fever. In the wake of Justin Bieber’s explosive rise, Never Say Never interspersed performances with snapshots of his journey from humble Canadian roots to global pop force to be reckoned with. 

Helmed by Jon M. Chu (who’d go onto direct blockbusters like Crazy Rich Asians and In the Heights), Never Say Never is a time capsule of a younger, more innocent Bieber and his early earworm bubblegum hits. Until Swift's Eras is tallied it’s the top-grossing concert movie ever released in the USA. 

Prince: Sign o’ the Times (1987)

This iconic concert film was once hard to come by; after its theatrical run, Sign o’ the Times was only issued on VHS and eventually went out of print. But thanks to the magic of streaming, one can now easily transport oneself back to the '80s and enjoy the magic that is Prince

Directed by the artist and using his acclaimed 1987 album Sign o’ the Times as a jumping off point (the album itself was a 2017 inductee into the GRAMMY Hall of Fame), the film reminds viewers of the Purple One's magnetism. Under an array of colorful lights and performing to a raucous crowd, the icon may have died in 2016, but Sign o’ the Times serves as a deft time capsule of his royal talent. 

Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012)

As Katy Perry was in the midst of releasing her acclaimed album Teenage Dream, the pop singer had the foresight to chronicle the ensuing pandemonium.

 "I feel like it was, like, a big wave coming," she told ABC upon the release of Katy Perry: Part of Me, the 2012 concert film that documented her blockbuster California Dreams tour. "I thought to myself, 'Well, I think this is going to be a moment. Maybe I should catch it on tape. I'm either going to go completely mental, completely bankrupt, or have the best success of my life." 

Fortunately the later wound up occurring, with the subsequent film a celebrity-packed (featuring everyone from Lady Gaga to Adele) hit-filled ("Teenage Dream" and "California Girls") look into the life, times and music of the star. 

Queen: Live at Wembley ‘86 (1986)

Freddie Mercury and Queen were staples of London's Wembley Stadium, performing many memorable shows, including an iconic turn at Live Aid in the early '80s and a Mercury tribute show in the '90s. 

Songs like "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" fit right in on Wembley's massive stage, with the concert film depicting the thundering live versions of those classics. Relive those heady days with this film which showcases just what made Mercury and his band rock icons, and huge ones at that. 

"Mercury was indeed a born ringmaster," wrote CNN in a piece about their status as stadium savants. "There was no alienating affectation, no wallowing in sentiment... Queen consciously wrote their songs as vehicles for theatrics."

Summer of Soul (2021)

Back in 1969, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Nina Simone and B.B. King joined forces for the Harlem Cultural Festival, a mostly forgotten multi-week legendary summit. That all changed when Roots frontman Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson obtained a treasure trove worth of footage and directed this stunning film, aptly dubbed Summer of Soul, which brought the event back to vivid life and subsequent acclaim including a GRAMMY Award for Best Music Film. 

"It was gold," Thompson told Pitchfork of his process of sifting through the footage to create what would become a passion project. "If anything, it was an embarrassment of riches. It was too much. I kept this on a 24-hour loop for about six months straight. Slept to it. Traveled to it. It was the only thing I consumed."

Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids (2016)

Also directed by Jonathan Demme and released before his 2017 death, Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids showcases Timberlake's  popular 20/20 Experience World Tour and litany of solo hits including "Sexyback" and "Suit & Tie."  

"I don’t think anything can compete with live performance," admitted Demme to Rolling Stone before his death in 2017. "You can’t beat it. But we strive to provide the most exciting interpretation of that feeling, as filmmakers. We can provide a roving best seat in the house. We can linger on closeups. We can follow the dynamics of the music. I love shooting music." 

The Last Waltz (1978)

One of the earliest projects of director Martin Scorsese’s career was helping edit the monumental film version of Woodstock in 1970. But as that decade progressed and the auteur became known for narrative features including Mean Streets, he revisited his roots by directing The Last Waltz. A trailblazer in the genre, the film captures the last performance of The Band featuring frontman Robbie Robertson alongside a range of guests including Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr and Eric Clapton. Filmed on Thanksgiving Day in 1976, it’s a time capsule of the day’s biggest acts at the height of their artistry. 

"It's a picture that kind of saved my life at the time," Scorsese told an audience at the Toronto International Film Festival during a 2019 screening. "It's very special to me. Forty years on, it's very special to a great number of us."

6 Must-Watch Hip-Hop Documentaries: 'Hip-Hop x Siempre,' 'My Mic Sounds Nice' & More