So, Billboard decided to throw a BTS Festa of our own by combing through every single one of BTS’ songs, to map out their top 50 tracks in the past half-decade. Happy birthday to Bangtan, and here’s to all the hits to come in the next five years.
50. "A Supplementary Story: You Never Walk Alone" (You Never Walk Alone, 2017)
One of the first things to learn about BTS is that nothing they do is incidental (see: any of the exhaustive fan theories the members themselves have acknowledged.) The heartbeat at the start of “A Supplementary Story: You Never Walk Alone,” then, is a befitting and intentional touch to one of the group’s more heartfelt tracks, which sees the members oscillate between expressing their gratitude and encouraging the listener to crawl, run and fly toward their dreams as the instrumental shimmers behind them. -- MONIQUE MELENDEZ
49. "Don’t Leave Me" (Face Yourself, 2018)
As if it wasn't clear from their feats of international chart-topping, BTS’ music connects in any language -- as further seen by this stunning Japanese-language release. The hardcore synth production is powered by melancholy belting from Jimin, Jin and Jungkook, as the band pleads with a lover to stay. -- JEFF BENJAMIN
48. "Outro: Love Is Not Over" (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 1, 2015)
BTS’ vocalists take center stage on this R&B ballad written and composed in part by Jungkook and Jin. Jungkook, Jin, Jimin and V express the lyrics’ longing with a soft sincerity, while the dense production, bass-laden chorus and brilliantly placed harmonies make the track one of the more memorable bookend tracks in BTS’ discography. -- M.M.
47. "Attack on Bangtan" (O!RUL8,2?, 2013)
This anthemic song, also known as "The Rise of Bangtan," is a swaggering, funky hip-hop track through which BTS hype up themselves and their potential. With lines like, "Climbing to the top is a matter of time" and "If you don't know us, get [ready] to know us well," the group state their intentions for future domination in the most rambunctious of ways. -- TAMAR HERMAN
46. "Just One Day" (Skool Luv Affair, 2014)
With sweet harmonies guiding the raps and exuding warmth in the swaying chorus, "Just One Day" reveals a softer side to BTS through its mellow R&B melody. Coming after their previously released trio of dynamic hip-pop singles -- "No More Dream," "We Are Bulletproof pt. 2" and "N.O" -- it was the first time the group slowed down a bit and put the dulcet quality of their vocalists front and center. -- T.H.
45. "MIC Drop" (Love Yourself: Her, 2017)
*record scratch* *freeze frame* Yup, that’s BTS filling their bag with trophies. You may be wondering how they got there. But give "MIC Drop" a listen, and you’ll have the answer soon enough. The intensity of the song is the product of a potent mixture: an ominous, trap-infused beat rages against boastful lyricism befitting a world class act. The remix with Steve Aoki and Desiigner went on to hit No. 28 on the Hot 100, but we also appreciate the original inspired by Barack Obama’s memeworthy mic drop. No need to be sorry to Billboard. -- CAITLIN KELLEY
44. "Intro: Never Mind" (The Most Beautiful Moment In Life, Pt. 2, 2015)
Performed almost entirely by Suga, "Never Mind" serves as the introductory track to the Most Beautiful Moment In Life, Pt. 2, setting up the album’s success with its reflective take on BTS’ struggles. Co-written by the rapper, it examines how, when working towards his goal of being a musician, Suga urged himself forward through hardships by shrugging them off, or never minding them. -- T.H.
43. "Singularity" (Love Yourself: Tear, 2018)
As Tear’s opening track, "Singularity" serves as a mood setter that doesn’t aim to stun or overwhelm. The R&B burner haunts the listener with its languorous tempo, sudden pauses, distant ad-libs, and brooding lyrics (“Even in my momentary dreams/ The illusions that torture me are still the same,” V confesses.) On "Singularity," V excels, with his luxurious baritone molding to fit the song’s contours. -- M.M.
42. "Coffee" (O!RUL8,2?, 2013)
A remake of Urban Zakapa’s "Café Latte," BTS reworked the 2009 song to fit their own distinct vibe. With smooth raps and rock strings spurring along the original jazz melody, "Coffee" is as equally crestfallen lyrically as the original but has a more playful tone that fits the youthful feel of the septet’s Skool era. -- T.H.
41. "I Like It" (2 Cool 4 Skool, 2013)
This song’s off-kilter concoction of twinkling keys and bleeped-out curses makes it dreamy and swaggy all at once. The cutesy tone of the song is amplified by clever and light-hearted lyricism about breaking up in the social media age. The sweet R&B groove was a welcome salve to the hard hip-hop posturing that dominated their rookie aesthetic. -- C.K.
40. Agust D - "The Last" (Agust D, 2016)
Raw desperation never showed itself so thoroughly in BTS’ discography as on Suga’s solo album, and all of those emotions peaked on "The Last." Creeping and aggressive with its stilted beat and sprinkling of synths, the rapper’s breathless, frantic delivery recounts his mental health struggles, and how his pain eventually turned into pride as he achieved success. Even as he declares himself a K-pop idol rapper ("My address is undeniably idol," he says) -- which is often stigmatized in Korea’s hip-hop scene -- Suga pulls himself out of that category with this intimate track. -- T.H.
39. "Hold Me Tight" (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 1, 2015)
Replete with all the classic break-up song motifs (melismatic ad-libs, a twinkling piano, and multiple uses of the words "heart" and "cry"), "Hold Me Tight" is the closest the boys come to treading "Cry Me a River" territory -- but impassioned raps from J-Hope, RM, and Suga distinguish BTS from their angst-ridden forefathers in *NSYNC. -- M.M.
38. "Intro: The Most Beautiful Moment in Life" (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 1, 2015)
Basketball acts as a microcosm of Suga’s life on this song. Vignettes on the court stand in for his bigger worries while samples of basketball squeaks line the beat. This solo track is well-placed as an intro because it’s immersive: the ambience of the court functions like scene-setting. After all, Suga’s stage name comes from "shooting guard." -- C.K.
37. "Fire" (The Most Beautiful Moment In Life: Young Forever, 2016)
It doesn’t get more energetic than "Fire," an explosive, funky electro-pop single that thrives on frenzied synths and whirring sirens as the seven sing and rap about setting the world’s expectations aflame: "Live as you like, it’s your life anyway/ Stop trying, it’s OK to lose." As good as BTS are at evocative dance tracks, it’s bangers like "Fire" where their dynamism truly thrives. -- T.H.
36. "Boyz With Fun" (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 1, 2015)
"Boyz With Fun" lives up to its title. Silly songs are a staple of the septet’s multi-faceted repertoire -- and this song stands out on sheer panache. The funky bass line animates playful sound effects, like J-Hope turning the word "fun" into a revved engine. This is BTS at their rowdiest, proving you can get outta your mind without being brainless. -- C.K.
The first single off of BTS’ first LP, this punchy, rock-influenced song has it all: vibrant electric strings, a powerful hip-hop beat, discordant synths and a touch of lovelorn sentimentality. Over the driving track, the members of BTS express anger and passion towards a lover who won’t give them the time of day. -- T.H.
34. "Lost" (Wings, 2016)
This sweeping synth-pop Wings track finds its way through a trap beat and soaring harmonies as the act’s vocalists -- Jin, Jimin, V and Jungkook -- dramatically expound on philosophical lyrics, like “To lose your way/ Is the way to find that path.” With the lyrics expressing an optimistic outlook about making one’s own way in the world, "Lost" is immensely impactful both for its lyrics and its powerful melody. -- T.H.
33. "Boy in Luv" (Skool Luv Affair, 2014)
Propulsive with its rock and hip-pop sound, "Boy In Luv" switched things up for BTS stylistically, shifting away from the aggressive tone and contentious themes of their first year’s releases in favor of an enthusiastic ode to young love. The group lives up to their boyish name with this single, in which they express their passion, and the anguish that accompanies it, for a girl who is teasing them. -- T.H.
32. "Road" (2 Cool 4 Skool, 2013)
The road to success isn’t only paved with flowers. Before BTS became a big hit, they already displayed a remarkable propensity for self-examination as rookie idols. On this hidden track from their first EP, the members reflect on their struggles with chasing their dream. Hindsight bias can make their record-smashing seem fated -- but "Road" offers a glimpse into a time when BTS’ future was uncertain. -- C.K.
31. "Stigma" (Wings, 2016)
Are you calling V a sinner? His solo track is halfway between a jazz standard and R&B ballad, showcasing his attachment to antiquated sounds. The devil is in the details, and the complex interplay of restraint and intensity is offset by sparse piano and brass. V’s baritone vocals even manage to make a falsetto sound smoky. -- C.K.
30. "21st Century Girl" (Wings, 2016)
A rare female-empowerment anthem sung by a group of men, "21st Century Girl" lets BTS speak their aspirational messages specifically to the women leading our future over some absolutely banging production -- the horn samples on the chorus have a regal feel to them, particularly when a trap twist gets added at the end. All that, plus hooks that are begging to be shouted and responded to ("All my ladies! Put your hands up!"). -- J.B.
29. "Rain" (Dark & Wild, 2014)
Written in part by the rap-line, the lyrics to "Rain" detail gloomy slice-of-life scenes that are overcast with worries. The empty space between the clipped piano notes adds a jazzy flair to the hip-hop sample. "Rain" proves BTS are adept at painting moods with swatches of gray weather. -- C.K.
28. "Serendipity" (Love Yourself: Her, 2017)
Her opener "Serendipity" is an electronic R&B lullaby that speaks of a love fated to be: "Ever since the universe was first formed/ Everything has been planned." The smooth, minimal arrangement hands over the reins to Jimin, whose sensuous, wispy voice is the ideal instrument for the gentle, celestial track. -- M.M.
27. "BTS Cypher Pt. 3: Killer" (Dark & Wild, 2014)
BTS might be mainstream now, but they’re fond of revisiting their underground rap roots. Technically the fourth in their series of cyphers, "Killer" spotlights the rappers’ individual skills: Suga chops up the speed raps, J-Hope rides the beat and RM paints vivid imagery. Roaming charges be damned, "Killer" is the kind of cypher that’ll have ARMYs saying, "going ?? Hong Kong." -- C.K.
26. "I Like It, Pt. 2" (Wake Up, 2014)
BTS pressed the return button on "I Like It" in this Japanese sequel to the lovesick debut album track. The members take the concept in a direction reminiscent of West Coast hip hop thanks to the high-pitched portamento saw wave synths. After all, the track was released after the septet was mentored by G-funk master Warren G. -- C.K.
25. "DNA" (Love Yourself: Her, 2017)
Their first track to land on the Hot 100 -- peaking at No. 67 last year -- "DNA" offers up a vibrant soundscape that plays up the group’s hip-hop leanings while meshing them with EDM, with a whistling refrain and acoustic guitar loop thrown in for additional impact. It’s a forceful yet tender dance track with an earworm of a chorus, which fronted the group’s Stateside rise last year and led to “DNA” becoming one of BTS’ first songs to be certified Gold by the RIAA. -- T.H.
24. "Sea" (Love Yourself: Her, 2017)
A hidden track that the most dedicated fans got to hear on the physical edition of Love Yourself: Her, the soothing guitar juxtaposes the heartbreaking lyrics that, in retrospect, seem to be a slight hint to the future direction of the darker Love Yourself: Tear released eight months later. -- J.B.
23. "BTS Cypher 4" (Wings, 2016)
BTS may be idols, but their bravado hasn’t been defanged. The refrain of BTS’ omnipresent motto "love yourself" is turned on its head here -- and transformed from a kind-hearted encouragement to a snarky barb. The rap-line barks DGAFs at ya playa haters on this blockbuster showcase of the group's rap skills. Despite a snafu with a recycled beat, Suga, RM and J-Hope prove here that they know how to take ownership of a verse. -- C.K.
22. "Euphoria" (no album, 2018)
How good is BTS' upcoming music if a song that was teased in a future album’s trailer has already won over the hearts of millions? The light-yet-pummeling synth work blends with the guys' signature feathery vocals to make this track -- which has yet to be officially released after being introduced on YouTube via the title "Euphoria : Theme of Love Yourself: Wonder" -- sound like a future BTS classic. -- J.B.
21. "Paradise" (Love Yourself: Tear, 2018)
On the bouncing electronic pop of "Paradise," BTS address fans running on the hamster wheels of school and work and assure them it’s okay to take a breather from the world’s endless demands. Produced by British musician MNEK, it’s a sanguine, joy-filled affair, carried largely by its bright, snappy choruses, and an anthemic bilingual chant that encourages fans to walk their own paths: "Stop runnin’ for nothin’ my friend/ You don’t need to have a dream that everyone else has." -- M.M.
20. "Outro: House of Cards" (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 2, 2015)
"Outro: House of Cards" is nothing short of cinematic, with its sweeping string-filled arrangement, overt metaphors for a failed love, layered harmonies, and drawn-out ad-libs. The interplay between the vocalists’ tones as they all tell parts of the tale is central to the song’s allure. From Jungkook’s smooth, flexible voice to the airier tone V takes on, the contrasts and constant shifts give the song an added dose of drama -- not that the song was ever short on that. -- M.M.
19. "Begin" (Wings, 2016)
For his Wings solo track, Jungkook details his transformation from a wide-eyed, green trainee to one of the industry’s top idols, focusing on the six BTS members who guided him all the while. While the production is sleek -- its chorus borrows from Purpose-era Bieber EDM with its shift into a barrage of sounds -- it’s the story it tells that sets the track apart. Penned in part by RM, the lyrics are an earnest open letter that, in a rare display for any boyband, explores and centers the group’s brotherhood. -- M.M.
18. "Airplane, Pt. 2" (Love Yourself: Tear, 2018)
An extension of J-Hope's solo mixtape track "Airplane," the members go on a lyrical world tour here while still remembering their roots and the dreams that made them international sensations. The Latin-pop vibe of the track only enhances its global feel, which appropriately comes in part from the teams behind genre-breaking hits like Camila Cabello's "Havana" and Luis Fonsi's "Despacito." -- J.B.
17. Agust D - "Agust D" (Agust D, 2016)
A true standout in the BTS members’ solo mixtape work, Suga samples a classic soul tune in James Brown's "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" and swirls it into an aggressive trap production that would make some of hip hop's heaviest hitters smile. "Agust D" is a quintessential mixtape track -- emphasis on "mixtape," since this track was not included on the for-purchase album tracklist -- for utilizing samples and other musical elements that are typically trickier to clear for full-length projects. -- J.B.
16. "Baepsae (Silver Spoon)" (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 2, 2015)
Much has been said about the social commentary BTS have laced their discography with, and this swaggering diss track is full of that. Named after the Korean slang for "try-hard," its boisterous bassline and gritty production -- especially blaring horns and haunting pipes -- accentuates the group’s sass, as they sarcastically address the current generation’s lack of career stability. A song that reflects the lives of people not only in Korea but also around the world, "Baepsae" is one of BTS’ most impactful songs. -- T.H.
15. "134340" (Love Yourself: Tear, 2018)
If you do enough genre-hopping, you’ll eventually stake out new sonic territory. The title "134340" refers to Pluto’s 2006 demotion from planetary status — an extended metaphor used to explore separation from a loved one. The song’s experimentalism is out of this world, but its solar flair is grounded by the earthiness of the instrumentation. How many Top 40 acts can ride a beat led by a flute? It may take the titular former planet 248 years to revolve around the sun, but this song is on heavy rotation. -- C.K.
14. "Dope" (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 1, 2015)
"Dope" gifts listeners with a buttoned-up subversion of hip-hop braggadocio: BTS aren’t "playing in the club" because they’re too busy building an empire off their hard work. And they aren’t wrong. The song recruited countless new ARMYs with the jaw-dropping choreography of their one-take music video. Hinged on the catchiness of a nasally saxophone riff, "Dope" is the kind of jam that requires such fancy footwork. -- C.K.
13. "Best of Me" (Love Yourself: Her, 2017)
K-pop fans are notoriously wary of popular Western acts teaming up with their favorites, since history has delivered awkward collaborations, which fans would rather pretend never happened altogether. Not the case when BTS and Andrew Taggart of The Chainsmokers linked up, bringing the latter's accessible, ubiquitous bouncy dance sound with BTS' dynamic harmonies and raps. Some fans still call this B-side BTS' radio smash that got away. -- J.B.
12. "Interlude: Wings" (Wings, 2016)
An album closer that seems like anything but, "Wings" ends the eponymous album in an uplifting way, dropping a clap-driven track that would fit right in at any club around the world. Starting off evocatively with graceful strings and Jungkook’s echoing opening line, a sudden shift transforms this “Interlude” into a party song laced with the group’s optimistic raps and earworm of a chorus, all of which express how they’ve metaphorically taken flight and reached great heights supported by their "Wings," a nod to both their own strengths as well as the support from ARMY. -- T.H.
11. "Whalien 52" (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 2, 2015)
“Whalien 52” contains one of the septet’s richest displays of storytelling. The title is a portmanteau of "alien" and "52-hertz whale" -- in reference to the isolation experienced by a peculiar whale whose call is too high-pitched to be heard by its kind. The mournful cries of the surrounding chopped and pitched-up vocals evoke the whale’s call. Meanwhile, the lyrics map the members’ personal struggles onto the metaphor of the "most lonely creature in the world" in an uncommonly candid way. -- C.K.
10. "Fake Love" (Love Yourself: Tear, 2018)
You could say "Fake Love" outsold -- somewhat literally, as it broke records by hitting No. 10 on the Hot 100. This is BTS at their angstiest, wallowing in the heartache of changing yourself so much for someone that your love is fake. The lyrics make complex ideas bite-size: "In this dream that won’t ever come true/ I grew a flower that couldn’t be blossomed." The septet put their own spin on emo hip-hop with reverb-shellacked guitars creeping in the background amid trap elements, like ever-twitching triple hi-hats. It’s 2018, which means a K-pop group has a more guitar-centric single than most entries on the rock charts. -- C.K.
9. "Spring Day" (You Never Walk Alone, 2017)
Absence makes the heart grow more complicated. "Spring Day" packs an emotional wallop as the lyrics hover in the bargaining stage of coping with the absence of a loved one. "I say that I’m gonna erase you," Jimin sings. "But actually, I still can’t let you go." (Fan theories abound, but RM didn’t deny a rumor that the lyrics are about the Sewol Ferry tragedy.) In this perpetual winter, the miasma of whirring synths contrasts with introspective vocal deliveries that are half-spoken. This artistry paid off on the charts: "Spring Day" foreshadowed BTS’s Hot 100 run when it hit No. 15 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100. -- C.K.
8. "Dimple (Illegal)" (Love Yourself: Her, 2017)
Ephemeral future bass takes center stage on this B-side from last year’s Her, which features Jin, Jimin, V and Jungkook singing about an "illegirl" whose charming facial feature should be illegal. The four smoothly deliver up some of their finest performances on this sultry, wordplay-driven love song -- especially during the airy post-chorus bridge that shifts the melody away from its plinking beat and sleek synths to focus on the vocalists building off one another to take the track to a soaring climax. Between that and the descending repetition of the hypnotic refrain, "That dimple is illegal," "Dimple" is one of the brightest moments of BTS’s discography. -- T.H.
7. "Not Today" (You Never Walk Alone, 2017)
Only a week after the release of the emotive pop rock of "Spring Day," the synth-heavy anthem "Not Today" broke through like a rocket jet through dense fog. The track doesn’t stray too far from the aggro-pop formula perfected in "Dope" and "Fire": relatively inconspicuous verses, a bombastic chorus, and a vocal-centric pre-chorus hinting at something grander. Only this time around, they crank the chorus up to a 12, its ominous, klaxon-like sound demanding your attention. Complete with a pro-underdog message that pushes the listener to defy their limitations, it’s equal parts social commentary and floor-shaking thrills. -- M.M.
6. "Pied Piper" (Love Yourself: Her, 2017)
Despite the push-pull of its lyrics and its darker-than-average references (the Biblical tale of the Garden of Eden, the Pied Piper of Hamelin who literally lured children away from their homes), "Pied Piper" is mellow funk-pop at its best. BTS synthesize -- pun wholly intended -- their influences (the '80s talk box via "24K Magic," Daft Punk’s work with The Weeknd, Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1) into a funky track that would feel at home on any Spotify summer playlist. The balance between organic bass and drum instrumentation and digitized sounds highlights the sheer sophistication of BTS’ recent productions, and makes "Pied Piper" the coolest-sounding cautionary tale around. -- M.M.
5. "Butterfly" (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 2, 2015)
2015 was a key year in defining BTS' sound and the sentimental punch they packed with every track. "Butterfly" is a representative track, with its evolution from an acoustic-leaning pop track to industrial-strength synthesizers backing the boys. The lyrics in "Butterfly" are some of BTS' most complex, relating the fear of losing something -- time, a lover, a memory -- to a butterfly that can also get scared and quickly fly away. Incorporating these elaborate-yet-universally understood symbols has been a cornerstone of BTS' work and why their music deserves more of a deeper exploration than a casual listen. -- J.B.
4. "Save Me" (The Most Beautiful Moment In Life: Young Forever, 2016)
The final single released as part of BTS’ career-changing The Most Beautiful Moment In Life trilogy, "Save Me" solidified the group’s dedication to an emotive brand of music that blends popular electronica trends with their hip-hop leanings. There's an overwhelming sense of despair and anxiety that permeates this expressive Young Forever track, but its incongruous nature keeps it from ever becoming awash in total melancholy. After taking off with spry synths, a tick-tocking beat and Jimin’s forlorn opening verse, the song subtly builds toward its sweeping, trop house climax. And then the beat picks up mid-verse to lead into the frenetic chorus, which in turn descends into an anguished rap section. It’s powerfully subtle, and one of the group’s most ambitious productions to date. -- T.H.
3. "Run" (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 2, 2015)
It’s hard to talk about "Run" without mentioning "I Need U," BTS’ breakthrough track that saw the members explore new sonic territory and garnered them wide domestic success. The two singles are intricately threaded together, with their music videos telling complementary parts of a larger lore and their sounds branching off from the same synthy pop trends. But where "I Need U" is smooth and lush, "Run" is as tumultuous as a finely tuned pop song can get. There’s the sense of desperation, best heard in the tense fray of Jimin’s voice as he sings, "Pitiful destiny/ Point your finger at me." There’s the feverish energy of the titular verb, which repeats throughout the track’s propulsive, urgent chorus. There’s the ache that blankets the song, boiled down into the words "cry," "bye," and "lie." Underneath the song’s undeniably catchy exterior lies an embrace of the painful foolishness of love. -- M.M.
2. "I Need U" (The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, Pt. 1, 2015)
The story goes that "I Need U" was the turning point in BTS's upward trajectory: The song first snagged the septet their long-coveted first-place trophies on Korean music shows. On an aesthetic level, they committed to branching out of the brash old-school hip hop sound of their rookie days. This song was the beginning of a sonic metamorphosis that achieved a rare trick in the music industry: BTS didn't need to trade their artistic integrity for an increase in accessibility. Rather, "I Need U" was their most ambitious comeback at this point in their career, melding world-building art direction, gorgeous contemporary dance and an emotionally charged dance track. Synths wind up like a music box while walls of hi-hats flank the choruses. Meanwhile, their softer brand of R&B provides a sturdier backdrop for the overwrought lyrics about a breakup. This comeback expanded the possibilities of what BTS could do as a group — before they eventually expanded the possibilities of what K-pop can do on the world stage. -- C.K.
1. "Blood Sweat & Tears" (Wings, 2016)
By the time BTS' 2016 album Wings was released, BTS were on the cusp of becoming the K-pop act commanding the world's attention, and having a monumental album led by a song like "Blood Sweat & Tears" solidified their place as true competitors in the global music arena. The track utilizes music trends of the moment like tropical moombahton, snappy trap and breathy vocal approaches, but never does it feel like it loses a touch of who BTS are as artists. The raps, the vocal deliveries and the visuals all feel specific and important to their developing story, while still being wholly accessible to audiences around the globe. Being able to take what is happening in the world at large, and reshaping it to who you are, is one of the most impressive and important markers for an artist. BTS do just that with "Blood, Sweat & Tears," and only continue to push their art deeper into the global music scene. -- J.B.