Time Traveling Space Pirates – aka the KPOP Boy Group ATEEZ (with some recs!)

Need some new music to listen to? Need a soundtrack for whenever you start a rebellion? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Over the past few months, I started dipping my toes in the realm of K-POP music, short for Korean Pop. Although it is somewhat similar to Western pop music, K-POP has a culture of its own. Most might be familiar with the boy group BTS, as they have become increasingly popular over the past 5 or so years. However, the group of today’s interest is a slightly less popular boy group. They are predominantly known for their seemingly aggressive stage presence and personalities, but also for their remarkable talent.

ATEEZ is comprised of 8 members with two of them being the composers of their songs. The flavor of their music is hard to pinpoint—it’s not entirely upbeat and joyful, and they also don’t always sing love songs. They don’t just stick to one style of music. They’re quite eclectic but tend to touch on a few cliches with every album they come out with. Topics ranging from love, enjoying life, and starting a rebellion are not off the table.

Within and across their albums, they also have in-depth and complicated lore. With each new album release, there is more revealed about the group’s story. However, the information about their story doesn’t come out chronologically, which adds to the confusing nature of their storyline. (Save for Hongjoong–the “captain” or leader of the group–most of the members aren’t fully aware of their own lore!) To keep it short and sweet, there are two different dimensions in their storyline: one set in the current day and another set in the future where any sort of creative expression is outlawed. The group travels between the two dimensions by means of a large hourglass. Due to a series of events, ATEEZ becomes the leader of a rebellion against the government in the dimension that outlaws creativity, and fights for the right to have individuality. To top it all off, at one point they travel on a pirate ship.

Below, I have cherry-picked songs from their discography that I believe capture their style the best (and some popular songs in general)! This isn’t an exhaustive list, but for my full list of recommendations check out this Spotify playlist!

HALAZIA will put you in a trance, much like the imagery of the music video suggests. Told from the perspective of a “witness,” they sing about rebelling against the government to hopefully be able to see color again.

If you like ballads and sad songs, the song MIST is the right one for you! The vocals from main vocalists San and Jongho are absolutely incredible and tear-jerking.

If you’re one to prefer American or more Western Pop music, Utopia has the vibes most similar to it! This song values chasing and accomplishing your dreams, even if others don’t believe in you.

The second biggest consumers of K-POP, other than native Koreans, are Japanese people! Most K-POP companies dedicate a single or album to be completely in Japanese. ATEEZ is no different!

Guerilla is a really popular song for its lyrics and performance! The ending is iconic and an anticipated part of the concert experience. Guerilla is a predecessor to HALAZIA, where ATEEZ is the catalyst of a rebellion against their “world’s” government, loudly proclaiming something needs to be done in order for change to happen.

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