As often said by the BTS ARMY – “This is BTS’ world and we are just living in it.” This 7 seven-member K-pop group has smashed all possible records and is creating new ones every day. They are no longer just a Korean boy band, but rather the biggest musical act in the world. With their first (of many, we hope) Grammy nomination for their breakout hit DYNAMITE, it is worth revisiting their discography to find some musical gems that remain underrated despite their fame, musical and lyrical ingenuity.
SEA – hidden track from Love yourself: Her
A song that talks about hope and hardships via the symbols of the Sea and Desert. It also talks about the hardships they had to endure when they were starting out as a rookie group.
Suga says-“I thought this was the ocean but it’s a desert.
a medium-sized, ordinary idol was my second name.
countless people get cut from broadcast but someone’s empty spot is our dream.
they say these kids can’t make it ’cause their agency is too small.”
Anyone who has been following them for a long time knows exactly what these lyrics mean, because they are privy to the obstacles BTS had to overcome to soar to the sky, as they are now. At the heart of this song lies their belief that they should not stop their musical journey, even if with happiness they feel moments of sadness. RM repeats how the sea (i.e hope), desert (i.e despair), and the world are the same with different names. They are all part of this wild-and-mundane ride we call life.
Paradise – Love yourself: Tear
This song questions if it is really okay to run just because everyone is running. Staying right with the theme of Love Yourself, this one talks about how it is fine to not have dreams if we can just have moments of happiness. It also emphasizes that it’s okay to have unique dreams, different from what is expected of us; we deserve to be who we want to be.
The outro repeats: “Stop running for nothing my friend” and it ends by saying that everything we do, the air we breathe, the words we speak, are all a version of Paradise.
Fun fact: Produced by English singer-songwriter MNEK, this song was originally meant to be a breakup song but lyrics changed after BTS received it for this album.
Rain – Dark&Wild
The 6th song from their first studio album tells the story of a person looking back on his life on a rainy day. As the vocal line (Jin, Jungkook, Jimin) keeps us hooked with an amazing chorus about a rainy day in Seoul and the reflection we see in the puddle of rain, the rap line (RM, SUGA, J-Hope) relates how that rainy day goes for the three of them.
RM talks about how he is stuck, not able to complete his songs, and how the whole world has turned gray for him. He finally decides to go out in the rain, which he considers the perfect background music, embracing his gray life and finally trying to enjoy whatever the present offers.
Suga reveals how the sound of rain has a strong effect on him; he realizes how deprived of emotions he was once he receives a text from a friend. He tries to see himself in the reflection of the bathroom mirror.
And just like RM, he too decides to go out in the rain. Looking at the rain he wonders if he had made an impact on the world – or if he is just like another rainy shower that eventually fades away without a trace.
J-Hope adds on to the same sentiment and compares rain with tears. He says like the melody that rain makes, his life has also become andante (i.e slow). And with these thoughts, he also walks out into the rain.
This whole song is about how life becomes monotonous, repeating everything again and again. And if we don’t keep on doing things that we are supposed to do we become ugly in our own reflections.
Awake – Wings
A solo song by Jin, this is an especially intimate track. Talking about how he feels that he isn’t talented enough as the others, Jin adds that even if it’s not his fate he’ll still fight and run. Even if he can’t touch the sky, he’ll still stretch his hands a bit further. Laced by his honeyed vocals and incredible high notes, this song is feels both grand and relatable at the same time. For the best effect, watch the live performance of this song with a live band; it’s spectacular.