Wherein I list my personal Top 10 Best BTS Songs from their discography up to this point. This may change after their comeback on April 12, 2019.

My 10 Best BTS Songs is part of my neverending love letter to kpop boyband, BTS. You can catch my ongoing series about BTS here or just sign up for my newsletter

What series about a band would be complete without rankings of songs so that a newcomer can skim the best of their music and a serious fan can quibble with the details?

Well, this is not that list. (But I suppose fans can always quibble since that is part of the fun of fandom.)

Because I love all genres of music (with minor exceptions) and BTS makes good music, I only actively dislike a handful of the 150+ songs in BTS’s discography. But though I can easily listen to any song of theirs on repeat (and I do quite often), even I have my personal favorites.

Truthfully, my Personal Ten Best BTS Songs provides you with a terrible overview of their songs.


Because this list gives you an insight into my personality, not BTS’s discography.

Unsurprisingly, I am generally drawn to songs that invoke either grief or rage. (Coincidentally, the running themes of my life and blog.)

But don’t worry, I will be doing other lists so you’ll get a better sense of their genre-spanning music. (eg: Top 10 Chillhop; Top 10 Ballads; Top 10 Bangers, Top 10 Live Performances, etc.)

Incidentally, because BTS consists of so many members, not all their songs feature every single member. Sometimes, they have solos, vocal line only, rap line only, and occasionally, unofficial sub-units (for unofficial releases).

Ohohohoh, and one more note. My “Similar To’s” don’t mean that the songs are exactly the same. Sometimes, it’s a beat, or the sound, or the content, or the feeling it evokes. I’m no music critic and lately, I’ve consumed so much Kpop that I think I’ve forgotten the past 40 years of music I’ve listened to so hey, I could also be totally off base. YMMV.

Now, without further adoooooooo and in some semblance of order (but not really),

Mandarin Mama’s 10 Best BTS Songs:

1) Outro: Tear

Genre: Hip hop
Similar To: Love the Way You Lie by Eminem ft. Rihanna
Who: RM, Suga, J-Hope (Rap Line)
Songwriter(s)***: Shin Myung-Soo, DOCSKIM, Suga, RM, J-Hope
Producer(s): DOCSKIM

Why: This bitter song is about the disintegration of a relationship. Full of wordplay, hard hitting bars, and gut-punching lyrics, the song is true to much of BTS’s conceptual arc about love born between a false version of themselves and another person. Would it have gone differently if their lover had known their true self?

Stand Out Moments: Suga’s deep bass rapping an octave below his auto-tuned rapping at 3:00 is an aural pleasure, but the real MVP is J-Hope. He kills his verse and spits pain and anger at 4:23 when he straight up tears your heart out and stomps it to the floor. The live performance is FIRE. At the concert I attended, the Oracle Arena lost their collective shit (myself included).

Read the BTS Tear lyrics while you watch the fan-made, color-coded lyric video.

2) intro: Singularity

Genre: Neo Soul, Ballad
Similar To: How Does It Feel by D’Angelo
Who: V
Songwriter(s): Charlie J. Perry, RM
Producer(s): Charlie J. Perry

Why: A lot of people mistakenly think this is a baby-making song because of the sexy beat, vocals, and video. Instead, the song is about someone realizing they have silenced their own voice either for a lover or themselves because it was too painful to be. And now, they are confronted with their true self-awakening, demanding to be heard, and the ensuing pain from that realization.

But also, this song is sexy AF and after I said the video made me pregnant, a 40-year-old male friend said that it made him pregnant.

Stand Out Moments: V’s mournful baritone is a sensual caress. The song is difficult to separate from the M/V because it’s so visually stunning. The video is haunting and the opening dance sequence still creeps me out in the most arousing way. (Yes.) The choreography by Keone Madrid seems incongruous with the rhythm of the song but fits with the mood. My favorite part of the video is the little dip at 3:05. My ovaries will never be the same.

Don’t forget to hit the “cc” button for the official English lyrics or read the Singularity lyrics here. Below is the official BTS M/V for the song.

3) House of Cards (Full Length Edition)

Genre: Jazz, Ballad
Similar To: Earned It by The Weeknd
Who: Jungkook, Jimin, Jin, V (Vocal Line)
Songwriter(s): Slow Rabbit, Brother Su, “Hitman” Bang
Producer(s): Slow Rabbit

Why: This is another BTS song fans often think is a seduction due to the lush strings, tight harmonies, and sick bass. It starts off slow, builds up with sensual sighs, culminates in a frenzy of strings, and cools down in a denouement of breathy vocals. Except it’s actually the desperate plea of a person who clearly sees the end coming, begging their partner to stay until the inevitable collapse of their relationship. It’s so, so, so sad.

Stand Out Moments: Seriously, the whole damn song. But the jazz breakdown starting at 1:20! The harmonies at 2:30! But really, THE WHOLE SONG IS PERFECTION. 

Find the full House of Cards lyrics.  Below is a fan-made, color-coded lyric video.

4) Autumn Leaves (Dead Leaves)

Genre: Jazz, Ballad
Similar To: If I Ever Fall In Love by Shai (just not acapella)
Who: RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, Jungkook (All members)
Songwriter(s): Suga, Slow Rabbit, Jungkook, “Hitman” Bang, RM, J-Hope, Pdogg
Producer(s): Suga, Slow Rabbit

Why: This song is so melancholy in all the best ways. The layered synths, the melody, the production – everything. Yes, once again, the song is about the end of a love affair and uses autumn as an extended metaphor. Though that may sound cliché, there are many unique applications such as being afraid to touch their lover who may crumble into dust as the dead leaves on the ground. The lyrics are beautiful and despondent.

Stand Out Moments: The instrumental at the beginning immediately sucks you in but the best part starts at 3:12. J-Hope’s verse switches up the flow of the song and the switch back to the chorus at 3:33 highlights their vocals.

Find Autumn Leaves lyrics. Below is a fan-made, color-coded lyric video.

5) Cypher Pt. 4

Genre: Hip Hop
Similar To: Ayo Technology by 50 Cent, ft. Justin Timberlake and Timbaland
Who: RM, Suga, J-Hope (Rap Line)
Songwriter(s): Chris ‘Tricky’ Stewart, Medor J. Pierre, RM, J-Hope, Suga
Producer(s): Chris ‘Tricky’ Stewart, Medor J. Pierre

Why: Though it’s not a true cipher in the sense that people are rapping freestyle, it does have that feel. All their ciphers are responses to their haters and critics and feature Rap Line at their fiery best. The beat hits so hard and the synth chords feel menacing. But the BEST part is the lyrics. Rap Line unabashedly declares they love themselves and stratospherically above the criticisms about their looks, abilities, and accusations of “selling out.”

This whole song just kicks ass with both middle fingers up.

Stand Out Moments: RM’s opening verse starts off easy to repeat and rap along to and then progressively gets harder. When J-Hope’s verse hits at 2:08, he changes up the flow and you think it can’t get any better. But then Suga arrives at 3:27 and we’re blown away by his speed, rasp, and vocal cracks. Does he even breathe? Also? Can you imagine how powerful it would be to yell out “I love, I love, I love myself!” with an arena full of people? I only wish I could have been there.

Find the full  Cypher Pt 4 lyrics. Below is a fan-made, color-coded lyric video.

6) Lie

Genre: Ballad, Pop
Similar To: Tonight, Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins
Who: Jimin
Songwriter(s): DOCSKIM, SUMIN, “Hitman” Bang, Jimin, Pdogg
Producer(s): Pdogg

Why: Musically, the whole song is a technical masterpiece. The strings which go from sweeping to tremolo to singing and then back – I would listen to a string quartet version of this piece on repeat for LIFE. (Someone make this happen.) Jimin’s soaring vocals convey the panic of being caught out in a lie that has overtaken his life. The lyrics, though simple, are evocative.

Stand Out Moments: THE WHOLE DAMN THING. My favorite parts are the strings playing tremolo and the “oooohs” at 0:39 which repeat in every verse, but no lie (see what I did there?), the whole thing. Also, the choreography is probably my favorite BTS choreography ever. Jimin is perfection.

Find the full lyrics Lie lyrics. Below is a fan-made, color-coded lyric video.

7) Cypher Pt. 3

Genre: Hip Hop
Similar To: The Way I Am by Eminem
Who: RM, Suga, J-Hope, ft. Supreme Boi
Songwriter(s): Supreme Boi, RM, Suga, J-Hope
Producer(s): Supreme Boi

Why: This song is so hype and the lyrics go so hard. Yes, the chorus by Supreme Boi is repetitive but the VERSES!! GAHH!! The lyrics take aim at other rappers who called RM and Suga sellouts and mocked them for being “idol” rappers even though both started off in the Korean hip hop underground. I love swag that’s backed up by skill.

Stand Out Moments: RM’s verse is soooo good. But the standout line is definitely Suga bragging about how his rapping turns men and women on and makes them come at 3:42. (He uses the phrase, “take you to Hong Kong” which is Korean slang for making a person orgasm.) Is it any wonder Suga is my favorite? HE IS MY FAVORITE.

Find the full lyrics Cypher Pt 3 lyrics. Below is a fan-made, color-coded lyric video.

8) Butterfly

Genre: Ballad, Pop
Similar To: Iris by Goo Goo Dolls
Who: RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V, Jungkook (All members)
Songwriter(s): “Hitman” Bang, Slow Rabbit, Pdogg, Brother SU
Producer(s): Pdogg

Why: Personally, I prefer the Prologue Mix just a smidge more – but, I think the original version shows off BTS’s colors a little better. What I love most is the acoustic guitar, the chorus, and the backing vocals. The song is about being afraid of love being a dream and that their lover will grow and fly away from them. I feel as if that is 100% relatable.

Stand Out Moments: I love love love the chorus. It’s so beautiful. Also, at 2:46 when RM comes in with his verse, he amps the intensity and name-drops Kafka. I stan an intellectual man.

Find the full lyrics Butterfly lyrics. Below is a fan-made, color-coded lyric video.

9) Ddaeng (땡)

Genre: Hip Hop
Similar To: Forever by Drake ft. Kanye West, Lil Wayne, and Eminem
Who: RM, Suga, J-Hope (Rap Line)
Songwriter(s): J-Hope, RM, Suga
Producer(s): J-Hope, RM, Suga, J.Pearl (El Capitxn)

Why: The thing about other cultures taking on hip hop is this: they rarely elevate it. When done poorly, it’s a cringey simulacrum. But at its best, it re-interprets the original African American roots and transforms the sound into something both familiar and thrillingly alien. In Ddaeng, hip hop beats and swag collide with traditional Chinese instruments, Korean wordplay, and Korean culture.

As if excellent production weren’t enough (and I suppose in hip hop, it rarely is because bars are king), this grown-up version of BTS’s ciphers demolishes all their haters with their killer lines and sheer skill.

Stand Out Moments: All the rappers bring their A-Game here but the winner by a landslide is RM’s verse starting at 2:44. He uses “ddaeng” in 7 different ways, flips up his cadence and delivery, and is absolutely a BAMF. If their haters weren’t feeling about 1 inch tall by this point, they’re dead and buried after.

I haven’t been linking to reaction videos in this post but to truly understand the brilliance, the agile wordplay, as well as the immense amount of shit they talk, you have to watch DKDKTV’s Ddaeng Explanation Video. I loved this song prior to watching this, but AFTER, I stan this song and the minds who created it.

Find the full lyrics Ddaeng lyrcs, and also the original free release on BTS’s Soundcloud. Below is a fan-made, color-coded lyric video.

10) The Truth Untold

Genre: Ballad, Pop
Similar To: The Scientist by Coldplay
Who: Jungkook, Jimin, Jin, V (Vocal Line)
Songwriter(s): Steve Aoki, Roland Spreckley, Jake Torrey, Noah Conrad, Annika Wells, RM, Slow Rabbit
Producer(s): Steve Aoki

Why: Ah, this song is heartbreaking. (Oh, come on. It’s the last on the list. How are you still surprised?) The ballad is bare, both stripped down in sound and naked in its vulnerable lyrics. Their lover has left them and they wonder if they had shown their true, monstrous selves, it still would have ended. But they choose fear and decide to keep their masks on even if given another chance. (Sense a theme?)

Stand Out Moments: V’s sultry open and Jimin’s plaintive ending line give chills. But again, the whole song is perfect. The vocal line delivers and rents our hearts asunder.

Find the full lyrics The Truth Untold lyrics. Below is a fan-made, color-coded lyric video.

If you’ve made it this far, you’re amazing! I don’t know that I would read every word and I wrote it.

For longtime fans, you may notice that my Top Best BTS Songs mostly pull from The Most Beautiful Moment In Life and Love Yourself eras and you’re not wrong. I do enjoy hip hop and love their earlier albums (especially Dark & Wild) and their older discography will feature more on my other Top Ten lists.

As I mentioned before, I have a certain musical bent and that bent is sad and mad and needs a hug. But like all people, I have layers and hopefully, you’ll see that displayed in my future lists.

If you like this and want to read more about my BTS Obsession, then you’ll love these posts:

***Note on Songwriting Credits: Big Hit Entertainment doesn’t distinguish between the song composers and the lyric writers. In general, the Rap Line writes their own bars. Usually, names are listed from greatest to least contribution.