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The 25 Best BTS Songs, Ranked Before I Change My Mind Again

This is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, and tomorrow my opinion will definitely change, so do with that what you will.

BTS Love Yourself album cover.

With a discography nearly 10 years in the making, and more than 200 songs spanning 3 languages, concerning a range of topics from mental health to the effects of fame, it’s almost scary to say that BTS haven’t yet reached their peak. They are the biggest band in the world for a reason, and it seems as though there’s no limit as to how far they can go.  

There are compounding factors for the groups’ success, however, in order to amass and entrance millions of people from different races nationalities and gender expressions as they have, the music and the message has to take precedence so without further ado here are the 25 best BTS songs.                                                    

25. No More Dream (2013)

Dreams and the subversion of societal expectations have always been recurring themes in BTS’ music. You could even say it’s part of their DNA. (See what I did there?) “No More Dream” speaks to the lost hopes and passion of the youth brought upon by expectations, family, or simply the loss of one’s self through the process of aging. NMD was the launching pad for some of the group’s biggest hits and it still sounds fresh every time it’s performed 9 years later.

24. Pied Piper (2017)

BTS are known to have a close relationship with their fans and this admiration can be felt in a myriad of ways, but it’s often expressed through music. If you’re unfamiliar with this dynamic, however, “Pied Piper” might seem a bit off-putting at the outset. The song takes on, in jest, the fact BTS know that they’re a distraction.

In the opening verse, Namjoon references all of the stereotypical and often looked-down-upon deeds of “fangirls” and tells them to stop while at the same time offering the song as a reward for all they do, thus encapsulating the symbiotic relationship between the group and ARMY. It’s self aware, funny, flirtatious and borderline hypnotizing, all the while retaining a certain level of edge and bearing one of the group’s best choruses to date.

23. Save Me (2016)

The temperatures were dropping so much so that they could barely feel their fingers, the wind and rain was making it harder for them to see, and the landlord was beating down the door of the practice room …they had one take. The best BTS is when they talk about love—romantic love, platonic love, losing love … just give me all the love. With “Save Me” containing lyrics like “Listen to my heartbeat, It’s calling you on its own will, because, in this pitch-black darkness, you’re shining like this,” it was always going to be excellent. I won’t even bring up Namjoon’s bridge.

22. I Need You (2015)

“I Need You” served as a turning point for not not only the commercial success of the group, but built on some of their previously explored themes albeit in a more sophisticated way. Though on the surface the lyrics reference a breakup, the MV speaks to the undertones of despair and contradiction that take center stage in the way the characters cope when they’re alone vs. when with the group. 

21. Baepsae (Silver Spoon, 2015)

BTS have never been a group to shy away from politics in their music (e.g. “Am I Wrong”), but one of their most popular songs, “Baepsae,” is a scathing critique on the socioeconomic inequality and class disparity in Korea. The Korean title is taken from a Korean idiom which more or less translates to “If a crow-tit (parrotbill) tries to walk like a stork, he will break his legs.” The very basic understanding of this phrase is essentially “Stay in your lane and don’t try to enter spaces you don’t belong,” and if you know anything about the group, they’ve been doing the exact opposite.

20. Autumn Leaves (2015)

The Most Beautiful Moment in Life contains some of the best written and produced BTS songs, and “Autumn Leaves” is no different. This is BTS at their best, when using an all-encompassing metaphor that you’ve never thought of to describe the inevitability of falling in and losing love. The song takes the end of a relationship and compares it to the imagery of fall and winter, begging the leaves not to fall even though they must and displaying the very human characteristic of still having hope when you know all is lost. 

19. House of Cards (2016)

Jungkook is scatting on this record, and that’s the only thing you really need to know. There’s no denying that BTS’ performance as vocalists have grown over the years, but though released in 2015, as Jin, Jimin, Taehyung, and JK croon over a doomed relationship collapsing in front of their very eyes, “House of Cards” remains one of the best vocal line performances to date. 

18. Her (2017) 

The world is a complex, and we really was looking for love.

“Her” was the outro on the Love Yourself: Her project, which served as the introduction to their acclaimed Love Yourself series. This rapline track bridges the two worlds perfectly. Going from Namjoon saying, “Is it that I learned after meeting you that I’m a book, or is it that you turned my page,” to Yoongi’s “Today, too, makeup to wake up and dress up to mask on, to become myself that you love,” is the definition of whiplash.

17. Outro: Tear (2018)

“Tear” served as the closer to Love Yourself: Tear, and I’ve been thinking about those moments since 2018. Each member of the rapline delivered a stellar performance and writing in general, with the word “tear” being used as a homonym and then being used to relate to fear. The song is a moment on its own but is elevated when context is added to its creation.

In Break The Silence: The Movie, Yoongi said, “The lyrics for Tear were written for the members. When I was writing the melody, at the time, we were deeply contemplating whether we should quit or not. When I played the song for the members, we all cried together.” There’s another universe out there where “Tear” could have been the last song we heard from BTS … let that sink in.  

16. Boy With Luv (2019)

“Boy With Luv” is pop perfection. This collaboration with Halsey gave me everything I needed and more. The Korean title translates to “a poem for small things,” and when asked about it, RM said, “It’s about finding little joy in love, being curious about the little things, the details like what you’re eating, what you’re doing. But, most importantly, ‘Boy With Luv’ is like a fan letter from BTS to ARMY. That’s the most important thing.” 

15. Spring Day (2017)

What is a best of BTS list without the queen herself? “Spring Day” is nothing short of phenomenal and was the inception of the theme of spring and winter that has since had a home in the group’s music. It was written to comfort during a difficult time, and that it did.

14. Run BTS (2022)

Every time I put “Run BTS” into Google, they don’t know whether I mean the variety show Run BTS, the song “Run” by BTS, or this song, but that’s the price we pay for greatness. Remember how I said “love BTS” was the best BTS? Well, I might have lied, because reflective BTS is also the best. Run BTS served as one of the new tracks on their anthology Proof and details their journey from the beginning, and what a journey it’s been. 

13. Blood Sweat & Tears (2016)

BTS is no stranger to including philosophical themes and ideas in their music, but “Blood Sweat and Tears,” hailing from 2016’s Wings, was a foreshadowing of the topics we’d delve into in the Love Yourself and Map of the Soul series. According to Big Hit Wings, it “contains songs about boys who encounter temptation for the first time and must ponder and agonize in the face of it,” and the track embodies that perfectly. 

12. Butter (2021)

As the second coming of the English trifecta, Butter topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 10 weeks, effectively becoming the 2021 song of the summer. With smooth references to icons such as Usher and MJ coupled with sentiments like “Got Army right behind us when we say so,” Butter was a perfect followup to Dynamite’s success and a marvelous precursor to Permission to Dance. It was made even better with the inclusion of Thee Hot Girl Coach, Megan Thee Stallion, on the remix.

11. Dis-ease (2020)

At the height of the pandemic, BTS released BE, once again highlighting their ability to speak to the real and current issues plaguing society at large. “Dis-ease” (as unrest) or disease (as illness), speaks of the measures the rest the world was forced to take during the pandemic. When asked about the song, j-hope stated that everyone has a disease, and his was being unable to take a break, hence the wordplay in the English title of the song. Just wait until you find out that Namjoon’s “I’m ill” has four different meanings.

10. Telepathy (2020)

First of all, I just want to thank Jimin for convincing Yoongi to finish the purely infectious and playful track “Telepathy.” We are forever in your service. With JK’s opening lines “In the days that feel the same, I’m the happiest when I meet you,” a smile immediately spreads across my face. The lyrics focus on the reality where BTS were unable to meet their fans due to the pandemic, but find comfort in the fact that “Although we’re apart now, our hearts are the same.”

9. Idol (2018)

Coming at the height of their popularity in the West (at least at the time), and baseless accusations of them “seeking western validation,” it’s just like BTS to release one of their most verbose title tracks, “Idol.” Inspired by traditional Korean instruments as well as dance styles hailing from South Africa, “Idol” is a celebration of culture as well as BTS’ reclamation of the word that has often been used to box them in as musicians and creatives.  

8. Love Maze (2018)

If there’s one thing BTS is going to do, it’s croon about love, and I’ll eat it up every time. From “Love Maze”: “Remember, sometimes lies try to separate us, trials try to deceive us, but in times like that, focus on me. In the darkness, as long as there are us, it’s enough. In the meaningless lies, as long as we are together, even the endless maze is a paradise.” Like woah.

7. Fake Love (2018)

As the lead single of Love Yourself: Tear, “Fake Love” picks up right where “Her” left off and explores a love that chips away at one’s identity. With that I leave you with the first verse.

“If it was for you, I could pretend that I was happy even if I was sad. If it was for you, I could pretend that I was strong even if I was hurt. Wishing that love is perfect as itself. Wishing all my weakness is hidden. In a dream that can’t come true, I raised a flower that couldn’t bloom.” I rest my case.

6. Dynamite (2020)

You just had to be there. That is all.

5. HOME (2019)

I want to take you back to April 19, 2019, 4AM EST … back to when I hit play on the Map of the Soul: Persona album for the first time. I was steadily making my way through then I heard Namjoon say, “I’m exhausted man … guess what? I just wanna go home,” and life was never the same. That’s how good of a song “HOME” is.

4. All Night (2019)

Trying to predict BTS’ next move will always leave you looking like a clown, but releasing one of their best songs as part of the soundtrack to a video game will always leave me stunned. This is a song that few non-ARMYs will know about, but trust me when I say that “All Night” is one of the crown jewels of their discography. The song features ⅔ of the rapline from Namjoon and Yoongi, with a feature from Juice Wrld that ties the track together.

3. 134340 (2018)

Comparing Pluto’s plight of being a part of the solar system and something bigger, then being stripped of its name and downgraded to a number, “134340,” to being ousted from a relationship was nothing short of genius. This is what music was meant to be.

2. Paradise (2018)

In BTS’ 2018 new year’s messages, Yoongi said “It’s okay even if you don’t have a dream as long as you’re happy,” and thus “Paradise” was born. To me, “Paradise” has always been about pace. The world we live in often places societal expectations in terms of age. By 18, you’re meant to be doing this. By 25 or 30, you should have already done that. But Paradise challenges those notions by affirming that whatever pace you choose to live your life by is yours and yours alone.

1. Black Swan (2020)

What can I possibly say about “Black Swan” that hasn’t already been said by others with better understanding of the English language than me? If you are an artist of any kind, whether it be a visual artist, write,r or musician, all of us can relate to the fear of losing that passion. “If this can no longer resonate with me, If this can no longer make my heart flutter. Perhaps, this will be how I die once. But what if that moment’s right now.” What is an artist to do once the thing that they live and breathe for—their art—no longer serves that purpose?

(featured image: Big Hit Music)

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