The 12 Most Underrated BTS Songs

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“Boy With Luv” was BTS’ tune of selection when the Okay-pop phenom group performed at Times Square on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New 12 months’s Eve, on Saturday Night time Stay and a mess of equally grand levels late final yr. However in the event you had been simply tuning in, you’d have missed fairly just a few worthy tracks. BTS’ discography dates again to June 2013, with the discharge of their debut album 2 Cool 4 Skool, and has since spanned genres, with lyrics providing social commentary and introspective musings alike.

Forward of the seven-member ensemble’s new album Map of the Soul: 7, which drops on Feb. 21, TIME revisited BTS’ albums launched over practically seven years, together with particular person mixtapes by RM, Suga and J-Hope, to determine the neglected gems. For the needs of this listing, “underrated” songs exclude title tracks launched with music movies and promoted most closely throughout album releases, in addition to the same old fan favorites (“Silver Spoon,” “Tomorrow,” “Anpanman,” to call just a few, have had their fair proportion of recognition.) We’ve additionally included “hidden tracks,” that are solely discovered exterior the realms of Spotify and Apple Music.

In no explicit order, listed here are TIME’s picks for essentially the most underrated BTS songs, compiled in a playlist at backside.

“Sea,” Love Your self: Her (2017)

The hidden observe “Sea” is just accessible on the bodily version of the Love Your self: Her album, so it might have evaded the discover of followers who largely stream the group’s music. Within the lyrics, BTS makes use of the imagery of an ocean and a desert to convey the hope and despair they expertise whereas pursuing their desires as Okay-pop artists. “The scary desert became the ocean with our blood, sweat and tears,” Suga raps. “But why is there this fear in between the happiness?” The tune’s composition mirrors the theme — a cyclical, serene instrumental melody is paired with breathy vocals to create a sound that resembles the tranquil crashing of waves.

“Let Go,” Face Your self (2018)

One other observe from the Japanese album Face Your self, “Don’t Leave Me,” garnered important consideration partially for being the theme song of a Japanese tv collection. However the deserves of “Let Go” shouldn’t be neglected. The tune strips down heavy musical manufacturing within the chorus and layers the singers’ naked voices atop classical piano, highlighting the vocal colours of the 4 singers Jin, Jimin, V and Jungkook. Jin’s vivid tone, particularly, shines in delivering the bittersweet feelings of wrestling between holding on and letting go, the inner wrestle described by the lyrics.

“Rain,” Darkish & Wild (2014)

Whereas most of BTS’ earlier songs are hip hop-infused tracks that pack a punch within the rap verses, “Rain” is a jazz-centric quantity with a highlight on relaxed vocal strains. The ethereal melody flows on high of sunshine percussion and piano, making a melancholy temper that matches the tune’s lyrics concerning the grayness and gloom of a wet day. A bonus: J-Hope, who focuses on rapping, makes a uncommon look singing the mellow verses on this observe.

“Spine Breaker,” Skool Luv Affair (2014)

Early on within the group’s profession, BTS set itself aside by boldly addressing societal points. In “Spine Breaker,” the group tackles earnings inequality — “the class system of the 21st century is divided into two, those who have and those who haven’t,” the track begins. The tune’s title refers back to the youth who ask their mother and father for “shoes worth a couple hundred, padded jacket worth a couple thousand,” ensuing within the mother and father having “curved spines” from laboring to satisfy their youngsters’s requests. Vocalist V’s deep-voiced line “that is what will suffocate your heart, dirty clothes” warns towards materialistic needs.

“We On,” O!RUL8,2? (2013)

Launched within the group’s debut yr, “We On” is mentioned a lot much less amongst BTS’ fandom than different tracks from 2013. The quantity is among the septet’s first cases of straight talking to naysayers by way of their music. “Talk smack about my sunglasses, my hairstyle, my name,” RM says. “Head-scratching kids who say they hate the busy world of K-pop.” Jungkook sings the pointed lyrics ever so sweetly: “I don’t know you and you don’t know me, so please shut up.”

“Am I Wrong,” Wings (2016)

One of many solely blues-influenced tracks in BTS’ catalogue, “Am I Wrong” was co-written by Grammy Award-winning musician Keb’ Mo, who sampled his 1994 tune with the identical title. The funky rhythm and upbeat melody — with Jimin’s excessive word as its climax — belie the observe’s somber message about apathy within the data age. “If what you see on the news is nothing to you / if that comment is nothing to you / if that hatred is nothing to you / you’re not normal, you’re abnormal,” raps RM. The tune was provocative on the time of its 2016 launch, when it was perceived as a clapback at a former South Korean Ministry of Training official who called for a caste system and referred to folks as “dogs and pigs.” In his verse, Suga raps, “We’re all dogs, pigs, become dogs because we’re angry.”

“BTS Cypher Pt. 3: Killer,” — feat. Supreme Boi Darkish & Wild (2014)

The Cypher collection — rap tracks written and carried out by RM, Suga and J-Hope — are among the most emotionally uncooked numbers in BTS’ discography. The pre-2016 iterations excel in showcasing the rappers’ technical prowess. “Pt. 3: Killer” builds on the stream of previous Cyphers and, with its extra complicated instrumentals, acts as a harbinger for the rap unit’s future tracks with extra elevated manufacturing. RM, Suga and J-Hope’s piercing phrases glide throughout delicate tunes from jap devices within the scathing diss observe towards rappers who doubt their rap abilities and query their hip-hop roots.

“Pied Piper,” Love Your self: Her (2017)

Moreover writing diss tracks to their haters, the group produced a mild admonition to their followers. In “Pied Piper,” the members deal with behaviors widespread within the fandom. “Now stop watching and study for your test / Your parents and boss hate me / Video clips, pictures, tweets,” the track opens. “Stop, interpret the music video later.” However “Pied Piper” is extra powerful love than harsh criticism. “You’re not being punished,” Jin sings.

“So Far Away,” — feat. Suran Agust D (2016)

From Suga’s solo mixtape Agust D — “Agust D” is “Suga” spelled backwards, plus the letters “D” and “T” that stand for his hometown “Daegu Town” — “The Last” has obtained a lot consideration for the rapper’s lyrics about melancholy and social anxiousness. “So Far Away” is one other observe on the mixtape with poignant lyrics by Suga — in it, he expresses a way of existential dread and the wrestle of dwelling and not using a dream. “I live because I can’t die,” Suga raps, “But I don’t have anything I want to do.” The BTS member’s gritty rap verses contrasts with singer-songwriter Suran’s ethereal refrain.

“UhGood,” Mono (2018)

One of many much less mentioned tracks from RM’s 2018 solo mixtape, “UhGood” is a weak expression of the BTS chief grappling with assembly expectations. “UhGood” is the English pronunciation of the Korean characters within the tune’s title, which imply “falling short” and “missing each other.” Each meanings are referenced within the tune’s lyrics, as RM sings about being upset with himself — “honestly, I trample myself, ‘Do you only amount to this?’” — and the gap between his very best and his actuality.

“Base Line,” Hope World (2018)

“Daydream” and “Airplane” are the 2 songs on J-Hope’s solo mixtape Hope World that had been launched with music movies, however the groovy rap quantity “Base Line” shouldn’t be neglected. At simply 90 seconds, the observe is jam-packed with brass instrumentation, beats and J-Hope playfully alternating between high-pitched and low-pitched rapping. In a 2018 interview with TIME, the artist shared the affect behind this tune: “These days, the baseline that’s behind my life is my deep gratitude for my life and my work.”

“Ddaeng,” (2018)

“Ddaeng,” a observe composed by the rap unit and launched for the group’s fifth anniversary, is one other quantity not accessible on Spotify or Apple Music. RM, Suga and J-Hope’s inventive wordplay is taken to the subsequent stage with this quantity. “Ddaeng” is an onomatopoeic phrase that mimics the dinging of a bell, and can also be used to suggest an incorrect reply. Repeating the phrase, the three members delivered one other knockout aimed on the critics who, in deriding BTS, generated extra buzz across the group and ended up serving to propel them to the highest.

Hearken to the songs right here.

Correction, Feb. 19

The unique model of this story misstated the identify of the album BTS will launch on Feb. 21. It’s Map of the Soul: 7, not Map of the Persona: 7.

Write to Kat Moon at kat.moon@time.com.



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