The number-one album in the U.S. is almost entirely in Korean.
Love Yourself: Tear by the Korean pop group BTS moved 135,000 units in its first week of release, putting it at number one on the Billboard 200 Album chart.
It’s the first album sung primarily in a foreign language to hit the top spot in nearly 12 years. The last time that happened was Il Divo’s Ancora in 2006. It was sung primarily in Spanish, Italian and French.
The achievement is being widely celebrated by K-pop fans and also acknowledged by South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday.
“At the very heart of BTS’s outstanding dancing and singing is sincerity. This magical power turns grief into hope and differences into similarity,” Moon wrote in a statement posted online.
“Their melody and lyrics transcend regional borders, language, culture, and institutions.”
Gerald Belanger, whose event management group Pop! Goes The World! brings K-pop acts to Canada for conventions and performances, also noted that BTS and other artists have moved beyond language barriers and outdated stereotypes to appeal to and resonate with scores of young music lovers worldwide.
“When BTS performed in Toronto back in 2015 to a tiny crowd, we never imagined they would someday reach the heights that they have and we couldn’t happier for them,” Belanger told CBC News in a statement.
“This is what resonates with the new generations of young people, not what’s being force-fed down the clogged pipes of commercial radio.”
Last week’s number-one album, Post Malone’s Beerbongs and Bentleys, falls to second. Lil Baby is third with Harder Than Ever, followed by Five Finger Death Punch with And Justice For None and Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy.