Ultimate BTS Song Guide: All 97 Tracks, Ranked
Amid their five year anniversary (June 13), superstar South Korean music group BTS continues to take the U.S. by storm, charming over fans old and new with their addictive choruses, flawless choreography and winning personalities. With so many songs in their ever-growing discography—97 to be exact—if you’re a new member of their fanbase, the ARMY, it might seem impossible to find the right place to properly start listening to the group. Should it be the BTS’ first 2013 release, 2 COOL 4 SKOOL, or how about their most recent album, Love Yourself: Tear?
Thankfully, the rest of BTS’ worldwide ARMY has your back: Using a poll, PopCrush asked BTS’ dedicated fanbase to vote for their favorite songs in order to accurately rank BTS’ music from the fans’ perspective. (In the voting process, we did not include the group’s many Japanese releases or remixes, as well as the intros, outros or skits where the members recorded conversations instead of songs.)
Based on the fandom’s responses, we’ve compiled the list of BTS’ most popular songs, as ranked according to the ARMY. Want to see where your favorite lands on the list? Let’s get started!
BTS has had a sweet side since making their debut, and that can be seen on “24/7=Heaven,” a glittering track from the perspective of a lovesick teenage boy about to go on his first date.
An easy listening, slow-grooving R&B song, “Outro: Luv In Skool” closes out BTS’ 2013 EP O!RUL8,2? on happy note.
The first of BTS’ iconic cyphers is J-Hope, RM and Suga’s fiery clapback to jealous haters. The rap line asserts their dominance as real rappers that demand not to be disregarded just because they are part of the K-pop industry.
Without a doubt, “Converse High” was made to create an identity crisis between BTS fans. What are we supposed to do when RM and J-Hope say they love girls who wear high-top Converse, but Suga says he likes girls who wear Jordans? And what about when Jimin says to never wear low-top Converse? Can’t we all just get along?
RM kicks off the group’s 2013 EP with some sage advice, all in English: “Nothing lasts forever / You only live once / So live your life, not any other’s life / Take chances and never regret, never / Never be late to do what you wanna do right now.”
A mid-tempo hip-hop song inspired by both Nas’ 1996 rendition and Kurtis Blow’s 1985 original song of the same name.
A brutal introduction to the highly celebrated The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Part 1, Suga’s solo rap is an open exploration of fear, peer pressure and the unknown that is faced by a teenager on the cusp of adulthood.
In the beginning of BTS’ career, the intros to each album were RM’s playground: His solo rap song would set the tone for the album. That said, “Intro: 2 Cool 4 Skool” reveals BTS as a representative voice for teens and those in their early 20s.
Just as its title suggests, “Hip-Hop Lover” is a love letter to all of BTS’ favorite artists who inspired them to begin rapping, referencing Epik High, Jay-Z, CL, Nas, Dogmatic and Eminem.
The rap line’s “Intro: Skool Luv Affair” is one of the group’s cutest intros and features each member’s different style of hip-hop intermixed with adorable bickering between each other about which one is better. Spoiler alert: RM wins.
A short, sweet, tropical dance single that encourages fans to fly on the wings of their dreams.
The introduction to Dark & Wild, “Intro: What Am I To You?” prefaces the album by telling a story of teenage love that quickly turns sour. Rapped solely by RM, he does an amazing job shifting from happy lyrics to all but growling as he yells the song’s final lines. Those feelings of adoration and betrayal in the name of love he conveys so effortlessly sets the tone for the rest of the album.
The vocal line (members Jungkook, V, Jimin and Jin) wrap up Dark & Wild with a slow, sensual tune pleading for closure after a bad breakup.
BTS’ first comeback single, “N.O” is one of the first few examples of the group taking a critical view of problematic customs that are typically not talked about in Korean culture, least of all in K-pop. In “N.O,” the members highlight the hardships students face as they endlessly study for college entrance exams, which are notoriously difficult in South Korea. Suga bemoans, “Who made us study machines?” as RM wonders, “Will this really make our parents happy?”
The group’s first outro shows the members speaking to one another before Suga interrupts: “I wrote a killer beat!” The members then decide to do a cypher and take turns freestyling. It’s extremely fun to listen to the members playfully diss each other and to see the vocal line try their hand at rapping to mixed levels of success.
With a peppy backbeat, playful guitar riffs and cheeky lyrics about trying to impress a girl, “Look Here” is reminiscent of artists like George Michael, Prince and Michael Jackson.
“Blanket Kick” takes on the unique perspective of a boy who acts cruel to his crush when he runs into them, and when he returns home lays on his bed and kicks his blankets, mad at his actions. It deals with the topic of young love in an honest, sweet way, even if the boy can’t properly express his feelings in person.
The vocal line’s outro is basically a proposal, swearing love to the listener in a cute ending track.
Accompanied only by piano, RM chronicles his experience as a trainee at Big Hit Entertainment and what it means to fully debut as an idol. He shares that he used to think, “Once I debut, I will conquer the music industry.” If only he knew what was in store for him ahead.
“I Like It” is a prime example of what BTS does best; it features all of their signature styling, including an easy, flowing R&B chorus, relaxed tempo and solid rapping. Even though they may experiment with other genres, tracks like “I Like It” hearteningly prove that BTS is still the same group they were five years ago.
This is the type of song that’s impossible not to want to smile or dance along to. “2nd Grade” is a feel-good song that celebrates BTS’ second year as a group.
One of the last tracks on Wings, this jazzy song samples Keb’ Mo’s “Am I Wrong,” but that’s about where the similarities stop. While the original track is about a secret love affair, BTS’ version takes a critical look at the political turmoil in South Korea at the time, including the impeachment of president of Park Geun-Hye. “Stork versus crow-tit warring everyday,” Suga raps, a reference to a Korean proverb which says that a crow-tit that walks like a stork everyday will tear its legs. The proverb helps to convey BTS’ message of the disparity between politicians and the people they are elected to represent.
In Korean, the word "satoori" can be translated to "accent" or "dialect," and two of the most commonly known dialects are from the Gyeongsang and Jeolla provinces. Member Suga comes from Gyeongsang province via Daegu, and J-Hope is from Gwangju in the Jeolla province. “Satoori Rap” allows them to spit in their own hometown dialects to create a unique rap that, if you’re from those provinces, feels even more special.
BTS’ cyphers are used by the rap line as a platform to criticize someone or a part of society, and they follow a structure of each member rapping one after another. BTS’ second cypher was a fire back against rapper B-Free who made comments about the group. Though the official comments were never shared, it’s easy to infer that there was some bad blood left over from the incident.
“Would You Turn Off Your Cellphone?” speaks to a feeling everyone has felt before. The song is a critical take on people who live their lives on their phones, taking selfies and texting rather than being actively present. The lyric “I didn’t come to see your phone or food, but I came to see you” rings especially true nowadays.
This song’s title is not just a random formation of numbers: “134340” is actually the new designated number of former planet Pluto. BTS translated the demotion of the planet into a song about feeling alienated from those around you.
BTS takes a lot of pride coming from all over South Korea. Set to a snappy backbeat, this song is a special shoutout to each of their hometowns, including Gwangju, Busan and Ilsan.
If cyphers weren’t enough to go on, BTS is unafraid to pen tracks that decimate “keyboard warriors” that hate on the group online. They take down disbelievers, rappers who think they aren’t authentic and those who hate the K-pop industry. The song’s melody isn’t incredibly complex; this is about taking a stand and telling the haters how the group really feels.
When the group returned with You Never Walk Alone, a 2017 repackaged version of their album Wings, BTS transformed “Wings” from an interlude to an outro featuring an additional verse from J-Hope.
The members of BTS are able to find comfort in their life decisions by writing introspective songs. This can be seen in “Path,” which questions what life would be like for each of the members if they had never decided to follow their dreams and become music idols. This song will forever hold a special place in the hearts of ARMYs after BTS cried while singing it on the final night of their Wings tour.
RM’s solo contribution, “Reflection,” is a moment of fresh introspection from the rapper who confesses all of his indecisiveness, anxiety and sadness to the listener. His pain can be felt when he sings, “I wish I could love myself.” But like those who listen to Wings, RM is on a journey, and knowledge of his struggles makes his self-affirmation of love at the end of the album that much sweeter.
Jungkook’s solo single on Wings was penned by RM and is about the love and support brothers share with each other—in this case, between Jungkook and his fellow members. (He is the youngest member and shares his feelings about wishing to alleviate the problems his brothers face.)
A song as brutal as its name, “Spine Breaker” deals with classism, greed, peer pressure and how money affects people. The members call spoiled children who demand for expensive clothing “spine breakers,” because their parents must work harder to provide for them and hurt themselves along the way. It’s a tune that really puts childhood wants and needs in perspective: Is it worth it to look cool at the expense of your parents’ well-being?
All that needs to be said about this song is that Suga, who frequently considers himself “not romantic,” raps the lines, “Instead of holding designer bags, you hold my hand / Instead of jealousy and envy, you understand my nature / With you, I draw out my future / In between our couple shoes are a pair of baby sneakers.” Be still, our beating hearts.
Coastal synthesizers are the first thing to hit listeners on this song. The next is the lyrics, in which the members shamelessly flirt with the listener. “Where Did You Come From?” is a song about love at first sight and the lengths people will go for it, even to the point of trying to convince the girl to break up with her boyfriend.
The comeback single from BTS’ first album is an explosive track highlighting the quintessential alpha-male concept that was featured prominently in the beginning of the BTS’ career. That heavy, low drop as the song’s chorus begins creates a thrill every listen.
This outro keeps with the tone of dreamy romanticism heard in other songs on The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Part 1, like “Hold Me Tight.” Also, can we talk about those high notes?
The strength of “Just One Day” is its chair choreography, with each member taking a moment to stand and confess their feelings to their crush. The best way to catch the group’s dance, however, is not to watch the track’s music video, but rather the “Appeal Version” of their dance practice. The video really showcases the group’s silly personalities—especially V, who can’t stop laughing.
Featuring dreamy lyrics and musical composition by V, “Hold Me Tight” is a secret gem on The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Part 1. RM, Suga and J-Hope’s rapping doesn’t dominate the song’s soft feeling, and the vocal line’s harmonies take the track to the next level.
The rap line experiments with soft jazz on the closing track on 2017’s Love Yourself: Her. When speaking about this track to Billboard, RM shared, “The hook is saying that love is not all about the happiness, it's just not just about the joy, it's not just about delight. If you want to love a person, you should know that there are tears and there can even be hatred inside of it. I think a love really includes all of that. That's what I was trying to say. It's complex.”
The relationship between BTS and their ARMYs is a reciprocated love that can be especially felt in “A Supplemental Story: You Never Walk Alone.” The group reaffirms to their fans that, through thick and thin, BTS will always be by their side: “I never walk alone / From your hands, I feel your warmth / You never walk alone / Feel me, you’re not alone either.”
V’s solo single for Wings is a heart-wrenching track about trying to cope with insurmountable guilt. Sonically, the song’s neo-soul sound paves the way for his later single, “Intro: Singularity.” His vocal ability to bounce back and forth from high-pitched falsettos to lower tones can make a listener shiver — especially when he asks, “Are you calling me a sinner?”
Get yourself a group who will write their own hype song! “Attack on Bangtan” knocks down the door and shows that BTS is here to stay with their powerful hip-hop flair. “Who are we?” leader RM shouts in the chorus. The rest of the group quickly reply: “We are BTS!” This is the type of song that makes fans go crazy when performed live.
The second single on Dark & Wild, “War of Hormone” continues on the group’s trend of mixing hard rock and hip-hop influences earlier heard on “Danger.” Though the lyrics are a little awkward, “War of Hormone” is a great showcase of V’s growling, low tones.
This track is a remake of Korean R&B group Urban Zakapa’s song of the same name. It compares a relationship with a girl to various different types of coffee: sweet at the beginning, but with a bitter aftertaste.
While the other members’ Wings solo tracks may have focused on their own self-growth and personal passions, J-Hope’s song “MAMA” has a much sweeter backstory: it’s all about his love for his mom. In order to support J-Hope’s passion for dancing, his mother had to accept a job overseas. Now, he’s in a position where he can support his mom and keep her by his side.
Following the schoolboy concept of BTS’ Skool Luv Affair EP is “Jump,” which is about the importance of maintaining a youthful innocence when it comes to life. The members wish to be like the superheroes they idolized as children; to feel joyous and free. Holding onto that spirit, BTS are ready to be a new generation’s heroes, fighting for their fans.
Opening to the cheers and chants of ARMY is “Intro: Never Mind,” an autobiographical account of Suga’s life growing up as a teenager. A gifted rapper and songwriter who knew music was his dream as a child, Suga encourages himself and fans to face failures and keep fighting for their dreams: “If you feel like you’re going to crash then accelerate more, you idiot / We’re too young and immature to give up.”
BTS’ alpha-male concept is on full display in “We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2,” which features boastful lyrics declaring the group better than other idol rappers.
Jin’s solo contribution to the group’s 2016 album, Wings, “Awake,” is a soaring track that shares his determination to overcome all obstacles that come his way, even when they seem insurmountable. In a tender moment, he even shares that when he feels especially scared, he holds tightly to his six flowers — an allusion to the other members.
The group’s very first single is an attempt to liberate teenage listeners who feel they must sacrifice their passions and dreams to be successful in life. BTS commiserate with the listener, sharing how they’ve experienced the same rhetoric but instead chose to chase their dreams: “Grownups and my parents keep instilling confined dreams to me / Number one future career is a government worker?” A dominating force, J-Hope adds, “Rebel against the hellish society, dreams are a special pardon / Ask yourself about your dream profile / Become the main subject of your life that has always been suppressed.”
With lyrics written by RM, the neo-soul song has a slow-grooving, melancholy sound that complements V’s raspy, emotional vocals. A day after its release, the video for “Singularity” had received over 12 million views on YouTube—a huge accomplishment given it only featured one member of the group.
Bangtan Sonyeondan? After a listen to “Boyz With Fun,” there’s only Heungtan Sonyeondan: the fun boys! With an boisterous brass band behind them, the members’ voices bounce all over this track, from electric rapping by RM to standout vocals from Jimin to V’s… eccentric attempt at rapping. This song is the kind that is impossible not to dance along to: it’s pure happiness in a bottle.
Do you believe in first sight? What about love at first glance of someone’s dimples? That’s the basis of this track. The lyrics even feature the cheeky line: “Those dimples are illegal / So I call you ille-girl.”
Sung by the vocal team consisting of Jimin, Jin, V and Jungkook, “Lost” is from the perspective of someone who is following their dream despite adversity and constant push-backs. With so many deterrents, the members begin to question the road they are on, before they affirm that they have enough passion to achieve their dreams. BTS is unafraid to show their hesitancy and struggles, and as such, “Lost” provides comfort to those who feel the same way.
Simply put: this song is iconic. Featuring a mix of rock and hip-pop that BTS pulls off so well, “Boy in Luv” pours all of the band’s bravado into a love song. This song is perfect for highlighting the vocal line’s different ranges, from Jimin’s insane high note, to Jungkook and Jin’s growling in the chorus, to V’s low tones.
Rapper Suga stole fans hearts worldwide with “First Love,” an emotional self-penned track about his relationship with music that began with learning the piano as a child.
A high-energy track from the get-go, “So What” is a feel-good, EDM explosion made for fans to scream along to at concerts.
“Paradise” expertly provides comfort to listeners who may feel lost, and while lyrics address feelings of aimlessness, BTS insist that it’s okay to slow down and reconsider any game plan. Featuring relaxed rap and R&B notes, the slow-grooving “Paradise” is an oasis of calm on Love Yourself: Tear.
“Intro: Boy Meets Evil” is not only the opening track of Wings,, but was also the opening of BTS’ performance at the 2016 MAMA Awards. Featuring members Jimin and J-Hope, the song’s choreography was one of the most captivating of the ceremony, and the duo’s ability to dance in perfect synchronicity while Jimin was blindfolded demonstrated just how talented BTS is.
Get ready to break out the tissues, because “2! 3! Still Wishing For Better Days” is a tough one. The track offers fans comfort in times of struggle and members note that while they can’t promise fans that everything will be perfect, they can help them forget their problems.
A soft jazz song with a hip-hop backbeat, “Rain” feels like the perfect, dreamy song to listen to at a cafe in Seoul during a storm.
“Sea” is a hidden single off of Love Yourself: Her, and isn’t actually available on any online retailers — fans have to buy physical copies to hear it. A sweet, lilting electric guitar provides the backdrop for BTS to share pain that come from being told they’d never be successful K-pop idols. The members spell out gratefulness for current success, but can still vividly remember what it was like to feel disregarded.
“Best of Me,” a collaboration with The Chainsmokers, sounds like a fun mixture of the two artists, and features a killer, EDM style breakdown in the chorus paired against BTS’ catchy lyrics.
The sister track to promo single “DNA,” “Go Go” is a song that doesn’t have a whole lot of depth — but hey, it doesn’t need to. With a funky use of flute across a hip-hop track, “Go Go” encourages listeners to take all of their hard-earned money and treat themselves right for just one day, whether that means going on a shopping spree, grabbing a nice dinner or partying.
BTS fans consider “21st Century Girls” a feminist anthem, a topic that K-pop rarely addresses. The song serves as BTS’ vehicle to urge women to love themselves and to know their self-worth: “To the 21st century girls / Tell them that you’re strong / Tell them that you’re enough.”
The intro to 2017’s Love Yourself: Her comes Jimin’s solo single. It was actually released prior to the album as a teaser to ramp up excitement for fans, but still remains a beautiful, ambient complement that shows off Jimin’s soft, emotional vocals.
One step ahead of Jimin’s “Intro: Serendipity” is “Lie,” is a perfect mixture of beautiful vocals and dark, dangerous melody. The use of haunting violins, eerie vocal harmonies and synthesizers juxtaposed with Jimin’s sweet vocal tone make “Lie” a track that can’t be overlooked.
The premise of Love Yourself: Tear is that love is complex, and features beautiful, dark and sad sides. “Love Maze” tells the story of shrugging off a relationship’s naysayers. The track is one of two songs written and produced by DJ Swivel, who has worked with everyone from Beyonce to The Chainsmokers.
“Whalien 52,” a mix of allusions to a 52 Hertz whale and an alien, recounts the story of the “most lonely creature in the world,” and the only being of its kind. It releases its mating call at a frequency too high for others to hear, and despite all of the creature’s loneliness, BTS sing hopefully for the future ahead. The high, lilting vocals are even slightly reminiscent of whale calls.
There are certain songs that can take a listener back to a familiar place, and BTS take that feeling to the next level with “Moving On,” a love letter the group’s first shared dormitory. In the song, BTS share memories of living together in the beginning of their careers and equate moving into a new dorm together to moving on to new prospects in life. Each of them interprets the move differently: J-Hope remembers silly fights and Suga shares personal struggles that come with moving frequently as a child. RM wraps all of their perspectives up nicely: “This place smells like us / Let’s not forget this scent, wherever we are / We cried a lot and laughed a lot, but it was so beautiful / Nonhyungdong, 3rd floor, thank you.”
Calling all underdogs! Need a song to pump you up in the morning, blast on the car ride home or push you to run an extra five minutes on the treadmill? Look no further than “Not Today.” This song may feature some of BTS’ most impressive choreography, magnified by the dozens of background dancers behind them.
After the release of The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Part 1, largely known as the EP that catapulted BTS into worldwide stardom, expectations for the follow-up single were high, and “Run” did (and does) not disappoint. A mixture of Britrock and hip-hop, the song opens with soft guitar strumming before it quickly swells into a powerful storm. BTS recount a destructive relationship that its members fight to keep alive. “Run, run, run, again / I can’t help it / This is all I can do anyway / All I know how to do is love you.”
A house of cards can never last — it’s fragile, delicate, and easy to destroy. BTS takes the idea and applies it to a relationship in “Outro: House of Cards.” The song’s harmonies align beautifully as the song builds to an emotional climax and Jimin’s and V’s vocals are true standouts.
“DOPE,” the follow-up promotional single from The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Part 1 after “I NEED U,” is more in keeping with BTS’ classic hip-hop style. An electronic, hip-hop affair featuring heavy synth, “Dope” is a declaration of pride that comes from hard work and perseverance.
Perhaps the most blistering of BTS’ cyphers is its third iteration “KILLER.” In the track, RM, J-Hope and Suga destroy other rappers who try to undermine BTS’ credibility by calling them “idol rappers” (in other words: talentless). “The official standpoint of this fourth album is Cypher,” RM raps. “When this track comes out, haters will fall silent. In this illegal scene, this track is the law.”
One of BTS’ first dreamy, ambient songs was 2014’s “Let Me Know,” written and produced by Suga. “Let Me Know” highlights the horrible, hollow feeling and desperate need for closure that comes when someone breaks your heart. Jimin’s high note at the end of the track is absolutely killer.
Upon the release of The Most Beautiful Moment in Life 1 and 2, BTS began to steadily expand their growing musical empire, and the hard-hitting “Fire” helped quicken the pace. The song was a certified “all-kill,” meaning that it charted in the No. 1 position on all Korean streaming charts.
By comparing a fading romance to falling autumn leaves, BTS try to salvage a relationship doomed from the start on “Dead Leaves,” a sultry, R&B-lite slow jam. Fellow K-pop stars EXO sampled the same song for their 2016 single “They Never Know,” but BTS make it their own.
“Butterfly” is gentle and gorgeous, but with a darkened edge, comparing a fleeting encounter with a butterfly to the fear of losing a loved one. Not only is it a haunting, subdued effort, but it showcases one of BTS’ biggest strengths: The ability to be open and vulnerable in the face of difficult topics.
“Silver Spoon” is one of BTS’ most overt criticisms of South Korean culture, tackling everything from young, part-time workers not getting fair pay to discrepancies between the older and younger generations. Ultimately, the group urges action against the unfair rules and expectations placed upon young Koreans. “Change the rules, change change / The ones who came before us want to, want to maintain / But we can’t do that, bang bang / This ain’t normal,” they proclaim.
Though a step out of BTS’ then-hip-hop-heavy comfort zone, “I NEED U” was a risk that paid off big, helping the group breakthrough to K-pop’s forefront. It’s a smooth, electro-accented entry full of delicate synthesizers and a flashy EDM drop. “I NEED U” built upon BTS’ already strong lyricism, vocals and choreography and shone them under a new light, ultimately setting the course for their worldwide domination.
If “I NEED U” marked the first spark of BTS’ popularity, “DNA” lit the full fire. The electro pop single, a lovelorn effort featured on 2017’s Love Yourself: Her, racked up a record-breaking 21 million hits in the first 24 hours from its video’s release, and the numbers have only continued to rise. Currently, the song has over 408 million views.
A favorite among fans, “Tomorrow” hones in on the feelings of inadequacy and frustration felt by younger generations, especially when it comes to finding jobs and achieving dreams. Suga raps, “Jobless twenty-somethings are afraid of tomorrow / It’s funny, you think anything is possible when you’re a kid.” Still, amidst all of their furious venting, the members find a way to be positive: “I scream out of frustration, but the empty air echoes / I hope tomorrow will be different from today.”
BTS’ last official cypher, “Pt. 4” confronts the group’s critics not by pushing back, but by brushing them off with self-love. With respect for themselves and their career, RM, J-Hope and Suga tell any haters they should redirect all of the energy they spend dissing BTS and focus on their own lives, but not without a few burns for good measure, because what would a cypher be without them? “I love myself,” they chant in the song’s chorus. “Ya playa haters you should love yourself.”
“Epilogue: Young Forever” captures the members’ desire to continue being young, performing in front of crowds and achieving their dreams. Their youthful innocence and unyielding passion can be felt when Jin sings, “even when I fall and hurt myself / I keep running toward my dream.”
BTS’ swag comes to life in “Mic Drop,” a quintessential hip-hop track that sees the group advance their sound while keeping their old roots intact. With a heavy drumbeat and repetitive chanting, BTS boasts about all of their success, even calling out their Billboard Top Social Artist win from 2017. When the song was remixed by Steve Aoki, it quickly skyrocketed to even more fame: Currently, the remix’s music video has over 271 million views.
“Pied Piper” is a funky, flute-accented disco tune inspired by the famed tale of the same name. The story depicts a magical piper tasked to lead rats away from a city, but when officials refuse to pay him, he uses his powers to steal their children as punishment. Here, BTS take on the role of the piper and their fans the children, who they lure away from their studies with their music. It’s a thankful acknowledgement of the power they have on the lives of their ARMY, saying, “If I’m ruining you right now please forgive me / Because you can’t live without me / Because you know all of this / I’m takin’ over you.”
Produced by Jungkook, “Magic Shop” is a love letter to their fervent ARMY that aims to create a place where fans can meet with BTS and find comfort with one another. Members Suga, RM and J-Hope rap atop a buoyant beat as they lovingly admit that ARMYs are the group’s real reason for living. They also reference “Best of Me” from Love Yourself: Her, but turn the song’s message on its head: Now, it’s the ARMY that give BTS the strength to continue working.
“Anpanman” is titled after a Japanese cartoon superhero with a head made out of bread. He’s not the strongest, but still spreads happiness, which is the kind of superheroes BTS, too, aim to be. With “Anpanman,” the group merges ‘90s hip-hop with loud organs to provide energy and hope throughout the track and its exhilarating stage performance, but the song’s chorus is the undisputable highlight, making listeners want to dance but also affirming that no matter how successful they may get, BTS will never lose sight of themselves.
Taking inspiration from J-Hope’s solo single “Airplane,” the rest of BTS share their feelings in the song’s sequel, “Airplane Pt.2,” a Latin-influenced track that highlights the turbulent, unpredictable life of a K-pop idol.
The highest ranked, and most recently added, outro is from Love Yourself: Tear. Like its title, the song plays into the multiple meanings of the word “tear” to explain a harrowing breakup. This is RM at his most passionate: His rapping is so fierce and raw that listeners can feel how much pain he’s in.
A voguish fusion of trop house and future bass, “Save Me” turns a call for help into a radio-ready serenade. The lyrics find the members reaching for a crush to save them from their feelings of anxiety and madness, the affection acting as a remedy for all of their troubles. The accompanying visuals feature all seven members performing smooth choreography on a cloudy day at the beach. The darkened skies and endless landscape further solidify the song’s dreamlike feeling.
“Blood, Sweat & Tears” taps into the Moombahton trap popular at the time of its release, highlighting BTS’ proven ability to appeal to the global market. The track deals with a love that is sweet yet sinister, too good to be true and draining the life away from the members. The lyrics also use heavy religious imagery, including lines like, “chocolate cheeks and chocolate wings / but your wings are the devil’s / before your sweetness there is bitter, bitter,” and the song’s music video is just as complex: Fan theories abound about the artwork, V’s missing angel wings, and the novel RM reads.
BTS worked alongside Steve Aoki on heartbreaking ballad “The Truth Untold,” marking their second collaboration with the American DJ and producer. But where the Aoki-remixed “MIC Drop” is a boisterous party anthem, “The Truth Untold” has a slow, melancholy sound with a simple melody, allowing Jimin, Jin, Jungkook and V’s vocals to take center stage. It is a truly beautiful and haunting track.
The group’s latest single, “Fake Love,” is a future bass track about falling so deeply in love with someone that you lose your own identity. But, as BTS sorrowfully conclude, a love based on conforming to someone else’s wishes can never last: “I wish love was as perfect as love itself / I wish that all my weaknesses could be hidden / I grew a flower that can’t be bloomed in a dream that can’t come true.” A mixture of past, present, and future, “Fake Love” is a seamless blend of BTS’ emotive lyrics and their ear for on-trend production.
Taking first place by a landslide is “Spring Day,” one of two comeback singles on the 2017 repackaged version of BTS’ Wings album You Never Walk Alone. An instantaneous hit that landed BTS four first-place trophies on Korean music programs, “Spring Day” weaves electronic, brit rock and alternative hip-hop into a dreamy song full of longing. It’s about missing a loved one who has passed away or lives very far away, and questioning if things will be different once they’re reunited. “Is it you who changed? / Or is it me? / I hate this moment, this time flowing by / We are changed you know / Just like everyone you know,” Suga raps.
The accompanying music video also makes reference to Those Who Walk Away From Omelas, a short story about a city where everything is perfect at the expense of a lifetime of misery for one child. Once discovered, some choose to stay, but others cannot overlook the injustice. It’s an apt snapshot of BTS’ work: Their songs and music videos frequently deal with the idea of a loss of innocence that changes one’s life forever; and “Spring Day” captures that stunningly.