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57 Essential BTS Songs Everyone Should Listen To At Least Once

The Korean septet have a song for every mood.

BTS, the seven-member supergroup from South Korea, are now eight years into their career and, with a prolific output, have literally hundreds of songs spanning multiple genres to dive into.

BTS wear dark suits on set for the Billboard Music Awards
Billboard Music Awards 2021 / via Getty Images

It can all be a bit overwhelming — indeed, putting together this list of "essential" songs was slightly excruciating, because there are just so many good ones to pick from. 

Below, you'll find some of BTS's most iconic (and also underrated) songs. It's not an exhaustive list, but it's a good place to start (or simply reminisce, if you're already a fan). 

The best of the best

BTS sit huddled together in front of a table with party debris and a cake in the Spring Day music video
Big Hit Music / Via youtube.com

1. "Spring Day" (Lyric translation). Dubbed "the queen" by BTS's fans (aka ARMY), "Spring Day" is an emotional song about yearning for lost friends. Many interpret the music video, and sometimes the song itself, as referencing the Sewol ferry disaster

2. "Black Swan" (Lyric translation). Released at the start of 2020, "Black Swan" unpacks creative fears and BTS's anxiety that one day they might lose their passion. While the standard version is incredible, there's also an orchestral mix and accompanying art film that are truly magnificent.

3. "Blood Sweat & Tears" (Lyric translation). "Blood Sweat & Tears" explores themes of temptation, desire, desperation, and sacrifice. Between the sensuality of the song itself and the sumptuous music video — partially inspired by Herman Hesse's Demian — it's a feast for the senses. 

High-energy bangers

BTS dance in sync wearing traditional Korean clothing in the Idol music video
Big Hit Music / Via youtube.com

4. "Idol" (Lyric translation). Merging traditional Korean instruments with South African dance beats, "Idol" is a bright and joyful declaration of self-love.

5. "Save Me(Lyric translation). A heart-pounding electropop track with exhilarating choreography.

6. "On" (Lyric translation). Featuring a marching band and a chorus that cries out "bring the pain on," listening to "On" in the morning is guaranteed to get you pumped for the day.

7. "Mic Drop(Lyric translation). Inspired by Barack Obama's mic drop moment in 2016, "Mic Drop" sees BTS return to their hip-hop roots while celebrating their global success (which has only grown since the song's release).

8. "Fire" (Lyric translation). "Fire" is one of BTS's most high-energy songs, and it's also, appropriately, very hot. 

9. "Jump" (Lyric translation). One of BTS's early songs, fittingly titled "Jump" — if this doesn't get you jumping around your house, nothing will. Watch out for V's growling vocal section that became somewhat of his own personal theme song.

10. "Run" (Lyric translation). With its repetition of "run, run, run," this song is, naturally, perfect for any running playlist, as well as just generally building — and releasing — a whole lot of energy.

Chill (and sometimes crying) vibes

BTS wear pyjamas and sit in a living room watching TV in the Life Goes On music video
Big Hit Music / Via youtube.com

11. "Blue & Grey" (Lyric translation). Written in the midst of the pandemic, "Blue & Grey" explores feelings of burnout and depression, offering company in the darkness.

12. "Louder Than Bombs" (Lyric translation). Co-written, amongst others, by Troye Sivan with BTS members RM, Suga, and J-Hope, the breathy, sensual vocals of "Louder Than Bombs" bely its devastating message about our collective pain.

13. "Life Goes On" (Lyric translation). "Life Goes On" is another pandemic track, but it builds on "Blue & Grey" to move forward to a place of comfort and hope for the future. The pre-chorus vocal harmonies are a particular highlight.

14. "Singularity" (Lyric translation). One of V's solo tracks, this neo-soul song is perfect for his deep voice. It's sexy, seductive, and achingly sad. 

15. "00:00" (Lyric translation). Beautifully performed by the vocal line (Jin, Jimin, V, and Jungkook), "00:00" (aka "Zero O'Clock") is about the kinds of crappy days we all experience, and the hopeful idea that everything resets at midnight and tomorrow may be happier, even if it's only a little. 

16. "Make It Right" (Lyric translation). Co-written by Ed Sheeran along with RM, J-Hope, Suga, and other collaborators, this is a chill R&B track that's soothing in both lyrics and melody. 

Serotonin hits

BTS wear pastel clothes and dance in a retro diner in the Boy With Luv music video
Big Hit Music / Via youtube.com

17. "Butter." "Butter" is BTS's second English-language single after 2020's history-making "Dynamite."  It's designed to be a feel-good summer song, and it delivers on its premise.

18. "Boy With Luv" (Lyric translation). Featuring Halsey, this bright, boppy track about love and appreciating the little things in life (the Korean title is "A Poem for Small Things") will definitely put a smile on your face.

19. "Trivia 起: Just Dance" (Lyric translation). One of J-Hope's solo tracks, it embodies both his sunshine energy and passion for dance. 

20. "Mama" (Lyric translation). Another J-Hope solo — his songs are consistent serotonin sources — this one is a tribute to his mother, with a joyful gospel vibe.

21. "Airplane Pt. 2" (Lyric translation). Written as a follow-up to "Airplane" off J-Hope's solo mixtape, this Latin pop-influenced group song is made for dancing. 

22. "Inner Child" (Lyric translation). A V solo, this is a touching love letter to his younger self, with an upbeat chorus that will make your heart soar. 

Singing in the shower

The vocal line of BTS stand in a line onstage to perform The Truth Untold
Big Hit Music / JTBC

23. "The Truth Untold" (Lyric translation). Produced by Steve Aoki, the vocal line infuse their voices with yearning and wistfulness for this ballad, with its aching refrain of "I still want you." 

24. "Jamais Vu" (Lyric translation). Using a game analogy to unpack the feeling of being lost in a familiar situation, this song features the unique sub-unit of Jin, J-Hope, and Jungkook, whose voices complement each other beautifully. 

25. "My Time" (Lyric translation). Jungkook's solo song about his complicated emotions growing up in the spotlight, the R&B song provides ample opportunity for the singer to show off his impressive vocal skills — particularly the ad-libs that close the track.

26. "Lie" (Lyric translation). A Jimin solo that highlights his powerful voice, this dance-pop track employs a string intro and a soaring chorus that make it irresistible and oh-so-satisfying to dramatically sing and dance along with.

Rap-heavy tracks

The rap line of BTS wear hanbok and perform onstage
Big Hiit Music / Via youtube.com

27. "Cypher 4" (Lyric translation). As the name implies, this is the fourth "Cypher" released by the rapline of BTS (J-Hope, RM, and Suga), and while they're all great, this one is particularly addictive and will leave you wanting more.

28. "Intro: Persona" (Lyric translation). A solo by RM exploring his struggles with his own persona(s) and all the layers they entail, this song acted as a powerful intro to the group's Jung-inspired Map of the Soul series.

29. "Interlude: Shadow" (Lyric translation). Another entry into the Map of the Soul narrative, this artful solo from Suga focuses on his "shadow" — particularly the tension between his ambition and anxiety, and the downsides of fame and success.

30. "Ddaeng" (Lyric translation). Released on SoundCloud as a gift for fans (and sadly, therefore, unavailable on paid platforms), "Ddaeng" beautifully showcases the distinct styles of each member of the rapline and their mastery of their craft. 

In the mood for romance

BTS all wear white and sit on a concrete wall by the ocean in the Euphoria music video
Big Hit Music / Via youtube.com

31. "Euphoria" (Lyric translation). This solo from Jungkook, about the heady but ephemeral feeling of first falling for someone, is one of the singer's own favorite vocal performances, and it's easy to understand why. 

32. "Serendipity" (Lyric translation). A sweet Jimin solo — whose vocals are absolutely dreamy on this alternative R&B track — "Serendipity" is about a love that feels destined. 

33. "Trivia 承: Love" (Lyric translation). An RM solo, this track is not only delightfully joyous, it's one of the best displays of the rapper's incredible, multilingual wordplay. 

34. "Heartbeat" (Lyric translation). Released as the title track for the soundtrack of mobile game BTS World, the pop-rock love song sees each BTS member shine, although a particular highlight is the harmonization in the bridge.

Heartbreak hours

BTS sit in a row on top of a train car in the I Need U music video
Big Hit Music / Via youtube.com

35. "Let Go" (Lyric translation). One of BTS's original Japanese songs, a sense of longing permeates "Let Go," as it tells the story of needing to move on from a love that's unsustainable. 

36. "House of Cards" (Lyric translation). On first listen, this vocal line vehicle sounds like a very sexy song, with its heavy strings and breathy performances. But it's actually a heartbreaking take on a relationship that's falling apart. 

37. "Trivia : Seesaw" (Lyric translation). Deceptively upbeat and charming, this Suga solo is about a toxic relationship that drags on for longer than it should.

38. "I Need U" (Lyric translation). This dance track marked a turning point in BTS's careers, as they shifted their focus away from hip-hop (although not entirely) and explored other genres while also moving toward a softer aesthetic. The song and music video alike are full of angst, with the latter kicking off the group's fictional storyline known as the Bangtan Universe. 

39. "Outro: Tear" (Lyric translation). This is what heartbreak sounds like. The wrenching rapline track is infused with bitterness and pain, made all the more potent for fans when Suga revealed it was written for the members at a time when the group were considering breaking up. 

Self-love anthems

Big Hit Music / Via youtube.com

40. "Answer: Love Myself" (Lyric translation). This gorgeous song is the culmination of BTS's Love Yourself series, and the name says everything — it's about learning to love yourself.

41. "Epiphany" (Lyric translation). "Epiphany" also closes out the Love Yourself series. The ballad, a Jin solo, features heavenly and emotive vocals from the singer as he sings a message he truly embodies: "I'm the one I should love in this world."

42. "Lights" (Lyric translation). This upbeat Japanese track is ostensibly about finding hope and healing through love and connection, but there's a strong theme of self-acceptance and encouragement running throughout.

The story of BTS

BTS dance on a set built to look like a neighborhood wearing dark clothes
BTS / Via youtube.com

43. "No More Dream" (Lyric translation). "No More Dream" introduced BTS to the world; it was their debut single back in 2013. The hip-hop track encapsulates what they stood for at the time: speaking for the struggles of teens. 

44. "We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2" (Lyric translation). Off the same album as "No More Dream," "We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2" gives a good insight into the group's attitude toward their work and careers, as well as their ambitions when they debuted. 

45. "Epilogue: Young Forever" (Lyric translation). An emotional song about the highs and lows of being onstage, and BTS's fear and determination about the future, the group has often referred to how meaningful this song is to them — especially Jimin, who has the title tattooed on his body. 

46. "Pied Piper" (Lyric translation). BTS have written many songs for and about their fans, but this is perhaps the cheekiest — an affectionate drag of their own fandom. Using the "Pied Piper of Hamelin" fable as an analogy, it explores the way fans can get obsessed with the group at the expense of other aspects of their lives. 

47. "Moon" (Lyric translation). This solo from Jin is another fan song, but this one is entirely sincere and warm. In this metaphor, ARMY are the Earth, and Jin sings from the perspective of the moon — distant yet constant, and lovingly watching on.

Fan faves

BTS stand in formation with their arms crossed in their former dance studio
Big Hit Music / Via youtube.com

48. "Tomorrow" (Lyric translation). A beautiful song from one of BTS's early albums, it's a relatable account of being frustrated with the present and clinging on to hope for the future, featuring one of the most-quoted lyrics in BTS's discography: "The dawn right before the sunrise is the darkest." 

49. "Paradise" (Lyric translation). BTS's music deals a lot with dreams, ambitions, and hard work. In this song, they consider the importance of pausing and living in the present, and reassure listeners that it's OK to not have a dream.

50. "134340" (Lyric translation). "134340" is an addictive song that uses Pluto as a metaphor for rejection. It's a great example of the way BTS uses abstract concepts to explore human emotions. 

51. "Dis-ease" (Lyric translation). This hip-hop track is off Be, BTS's 2020 album about the pandemic. It's about something many of us can relate to, especially after the last year: feeling overworked and burnt out. The song itself is a bop; the bridge is a particular fan favorite. 

52. "Baepsae" (Lyric translation). Also called "Silver Spoon," this is a smart and catchy song about socioeconomic inequality and what it's like to be an underprivileged underdog (something BTS were when they started out).

Underrated gems

BTS sit on colorful furniture performing "Look Here"
Big Hit Music / Via youtube.com

53. "We On" (Lyric translation). BTS have several diss tracks across their discography; this is an early one clapping back at those who didn't take BTS seriously as hip-hop artists because they were idols. 

54. "Look Here" (Lyric translation). A super-fun and infectious early BTS song off the seriously under-appreciated Dark & Wild album. 

55. "All Night" (Lyric translation). A sexy, chill hip-hop track in which RM and Suga collaborated with Juice Wrld, "All Night" was released as part of the BTS World soundtrack and as such isn't part of the group's "main" discography — but the album features some of their best songs, and this is one of them. 

56. "Dream Glow" (Lyric translation). Another BTS World song that is truly excellent. For this EDM track, Jimin, Jungkook, and Jin sang alongside Charli XCX.

57. "A Brand New Day" (Lyric translation). If you guessed this is yet another BTS World song, congratulations, you nailed it. A joyful hip-hop song that uses a daegeum (a Korean bamboo flute) to great effect, vocals here are provided by J-Hope and V, with a feature from Zara Larsson. 

Here's a playlist of these songs for you to enjoy:

embed.spotify.com

What is your fave BTS track? Share in the comments below!