Two years after their debut, this seven-member group from Korea took the world by storm and helped make K-Pop reach mainstream recognition. Now, next to The Beatles, they are arguably the biggest boy band in the world. They are K-Pop’s leading icon right now — BTS.
Every ARMY knows the humble beginnings of the phenomenal group — a hip-hop group put together personally by Big Hit Entertainment’s CEO, Bang Shi Hyuk, to challenge societal norms through music. The group has come a long way in terms of musical genres that we try to encapsulate 7 BTS songs that narrate their progress toward international superstardom.
No More Dream
True to their name, BTS debuted with “No More Dream,” an old school hip-hop track that captures the unheard voices of South Korean youth. “No More Dream” also marked the beginning of the group’s school concept trilogy.
“N.O.” was the group’s first track to enter the Top 100, peaking at 92. Despite the lackluster reception, the group took home several New Artist of the Year awards from the Melon Music Awards, Golden Disk Awards, and the Seoul Music Awards.
Boy In Luv
The final installment of the school concept trilogy ended on a high note, as the album reached no. 3 in Billboard’s World Albums chart. Soon after the release of their album, Skool Luv Affair, they tested the waters in the United States with a free concert and their appearance in KCON L.A.
Dark & Wild, with one of its lead singles, Danger, signified a shift in sound as the group incorporated rock and R&B elements — their strongest sound yet. This was a significant era not only for BTS’s music style history but for Filipino ARMYs, too, as the group performed in Manila for their 2014 BTS Live Trilogy Episode II: The Red Bullet tour.
I Need U
“I Need U” was a significant turning point in BTS’ career — not only making the group win its first music show award but most importantly, the dramatic shift towards music and their narrative. Their three-part album, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, tackled more poignant themes such as suffering and mental health, gravitating audiences from around the world.
Blood, Sweat, & Tears
The release of their second Korean album, Wings, led by the title track, Blood, Sweat, & Tears, cemented the group’s dominance in the K-Pop scene, breaking multiple records, including being the first K-Pop group to top the Billboard Social 50.
The group also made another musical and narrative shift — exploring genres of moombahton, neo soul, and gospel while conquering temptation and sin in the process of maturing as artists and people.
Having earned international recognition, the group turned a new page with the Love Yourself series that first began with the lead track, “DNA”. Devoid from their previously established sound, the EDM-fused song was the start of a new chapter to more pop in the genre.
BTS has changed so much since their start in 2013, but in those years, they have also grown to create a massive impact in the K-Pop industry that they shall never be not in history books.
What era did you become an ARMY? Tell us in the comments section below!
Dan Gambe contributed to this article.