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Inside Beat

Picking between masterpieces: ranking BTS albums

BTS is the biggest boyband in the world right now, and many people around the world are either major fans of the band or have heard of them before.  – Photo by BTS / Twitter

BTS is the world’s biggest boy band and, trust me, they’re a group that you don’t want to miss out on. BTS, or "Bangtan Sonyeondan" in Korean, is a South Korean K-pop group made up of seven members: RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook.

They debuted in 2013, and since then have released more than 150 songs (and more than 230 when taking into account their non-official releases, features and solo songs on mixtapes). They’ve also had a lot of album releases. This is mostly because they’ve had extended plays, reissues, compilation albums, soundtrack albums, etc.

In this list, I focus on their five studio albums, and review two of their compilation/special albums, because they are too good to not include. 

"BE"

Released: Nov. 20, 2020 

Their newest album features their hit “Dynamite,” but in my opinion, it’s far from their best song on this record. This album focuses on being in quarantine and all of the isolating and exhausting emotions that come with it. The message BTS sends with these songs is to stay positive despite the feeling that nothing will get better.

After all, as their second single says, “Life Goes On.” The album has a range of many different genres of music, from electronic dance music, to disco, to rhythm and blues (R&B) and so on. It’s hard to choose stand-outs on this album because really every song is a bop. I’d say two of my favorites are “Blue & Grey” and “Dis-ease.” 

"Wings"

Released: Oct. 10, 2016 

Though it was released four years ago, "Wings" is still a standout in their discography. It tells the story of experiencing temptation and coping with its highs and lows. One of the significant aspects of this album is that they all have solo tracks, like J-Hope’s “MAMA.” The album also has fan favorites like “2! 3!” or “BTS Cypher 4,” which are both bangers.

My favorite song on this album — apart from their popular single “Blood Sweat & Tears,” which I still go back to — is V’s “Stigma.” 

"MAP OF THE SOUL: 7"

Released: Feb. 21, 2020

Their fourth full-length album focuses on finding who you are and recognizing all of the light and darkness within yourself. It’s a self reflection told through pop, R&B and rap, to name just a few of the genres they explore. It comes after mini-album "Map of the Soul: Persona," and shows their journey as both artists and people.

The first single “Black Swan,” is still a song I recommend to everyone due to its beautiful melody and honest lyrics. The group members also have solo songs on this album, such as Jimin’s iconic track, “Filter.” This album also sends a message to fans that the band will continue to be together for a long time, especially seen in “We Are Bulletproof: The Eternal,” and references and samples many older songs which shows their growth in music.

"Love Yourself: Tear"

Released: May 18, 2018 

This studio album comes after their mini album "Love Yourself: Her," which talks about loving someone else, and it proves that sometimes that love is not worth it if you don’t love yourself first. It pains me that this is on the lower end of the list, but that just proves that their discography is full of nothing but exceptional tracks.

When it comes to this release, it’s impossible to forget “FAKE LOVE,” their single about how love hurts and ends sometimes, and real love comes when you love yourself. My other favorites include “Anpanman,” “The Truth Untold” and “Magic Shop.” 

"Dark & Wild" 

Released: Aug. 19, 2014 

I’m sad to see this one on the bottom because it includes some BTS songs I always go back to. Those are “Rain,” which has genius lyrics, and “BTS Cypher Pt.3: Killer,” the best song to get hyped up. It also features “Danger,” one of the band’s early hits. The album has an edgier vibe, with an intense instrumental sound and hip-hop tracks back to back.

As their first full-length album since their debut, it’s incredibly impressive and is definitely “darker” and “wilder” than their other releases. 

Honorable mentions:

Since BTS has so much music, I decided to mention two compilation/special albums that are too special to skip over. 

"The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: Young Forever"

Released: May 2, 2016 

This album isn’t a full-length studio album, but it brought BTS a lot of recognition and is the reason they won their first Daesang Award at the Melon Music Awards in 2016. This album has iconic tracks like “Run,” “Burning Up (Fire),” “I Need U” and more.

If this was in the ranking of their studio albums, I’d actually put it first because it perfectly captures the nostalgia of being young and the pain of growing up. The album has a great mix of bittersweet songs to get you in your feels or bangers to dance along to. I also have a pretty big personal attachment to it, and the songs “Butterfly (Prologue Mix)” and “Epilogue: Young Forever” particularly stick out to me. 

"Love Yourself: Answer"

Released: Aug. 24, 2018 

Though this is a compilation album, combining "Love Yourself: Her and Tear," this would feel incomplete without mentioning it. This album was a love letter to their fans, telling them they should love themselves before anyone else. It also tells a story of BTS learning to love who they are.

It includes legendary singles like “DNA,” but also new tracks like Jungkook’s “Euphoria,” Suga’s “Trivia 轉: Seesaw” and perhaps the best song on the album, “Answer: Love Myself.” I would say this one would land somewhere between "BE" and "Map of the Soul: 7" in my ranking if I had to place it.

BTS is truly dominating the music industry right now, and touching a lot of hearts with their contagious personalities. I think that if you have never heard their music, you should 100 percent give it a shot and see if it’s for you.

They have a wide range of songs that dip into multiple different genres, and their lyrics often spread empowering or beautiful messages. I’ve seen some people say they don’t want to listen because it’s K-pop. If that’s how you feel, I think you’re really missing out on an incredible world of music and exciting artists. Don't miss out on the specialness of BTS.


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