This summer is being dominated by BTS. The septet’s May single “Butter” has been an unstoppable force, topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart every week since its release seven weeks ago. As an anniversary gift to ARMY, BTS’ fanbase, the band has complemented its upward trajectory with its third English-language track “Permission to Dance.” Released July 9, the sunny song celebrates the aftermath of COVID-19, a healing world and a happier tomorrow.
Like everyone else last year, BTS had its world come to a staggering halt. The cancellations of the band’s travels left the members stuck at home with a pool of messy emotions. Its 2020 album Be encapsulated all of BTS’ irrepressible feelings, particularly in “Life Goes On” and “Blue & Grey.” But as things continue to improve and the reality of returning to a pre-pandemic state looms, “Permission to Dance” is BTS’ faithful and optimistic epilogue to those blue and grey months.
The track elevates with positivity and hope, both in lyricism and instrumentation. Co-written by Ed Sheeran, “Permission to Dance” carries a simple, yet meaningful message about the past year — the song’s title is an anagram for “stories on pandemic.” Vocalists Jin, Jimin, V and Jungkook alternate in singing about how “We don’t need to worry/ ‘Cause when we fall, we know how to land” and “The wait is over/ The time is now so let’s do it right.” The feel-good beat gets stuck in your head, making you want to dance along no matter where you are.
Notably, “Permission to Dance” is free of the rap verses BTS typically incorporates. Rappers RM, SUGA and j-hope sing parts of verses, each adding their own flair. They individually take a memorable part in the post-chorus ending, “Don’t need to talk the talk, just walk the walk tonight,” which will keep ARMY obsessing for days.
The music video for “Permission to Dance” is like a field of happiness. Every race, ethnicity and age is represented, as well as essential workers most impacted by the pandemic. BTS also transcends sonic boundaries, as it thoughtfully integrates “joy,” “dance” and “peace” in sign language to its choreography. The bandmates parade alongside everyone taking off their masks and a sky of purple balloons, reflecting ARMY’s official color and COVID-19’s end, as indicated in the song’s teaser. These images are heartwarming and touching, as we all relate to the jubilant return of normality.
“Permission to Dance” is the uplifting anthem we didn’t know we needed. As BTS continues to surpass expectations in unprecedented ways, it’s best to sit back and enjoy. This vibrant song reaffirms that BTS is deserving of its global popularity, and now, with the worst of 2020 behind us, there is every permission to dance.