BTS’ Best Songs: Critics’ Picks to Celebrate Their 11th Anniversary

Introduction: 11 Years of BTS

June 13, 2013, marked the debut of BTS, also known as Bangtan Sonyeondan, a South Korean boy band that has since skyrocketed to global stardom. Over the past 11 years, BTS has not only redefined the K-pop genre but also made an indelible mark on the global music industry. Their artistic evolution, combined with their ability to connect with fans worldwide through their music and messages, has solidified their status as cultural icons.

From their early days with songs that spoke about the struggles of youth to their more recent works that tackle themes of self-love and mental health, BTS has continuously pushed the boundaries of their artistry. Their innovative approach to music, along with their dynamic performances and genuine interactions with fans, has garnered them a dedicated fanbase known as ARMY. This global following has been instrumental in propelling BTS to unprecedented heights, including topping Billboard charts, selling out stadium tours, and winning numerous awards.

The significance of BTS’ 11th anniversary extends beyond mere celebration; it is a testament to their enduring impact and the transformative power of their music. Over the years, critics have lauded BTS for their versatility, lyrical depth, and genre-blending compositions. This article aims to celebrate their illustrious journey by highlighting their top songs as chosen by critics. These selections not only showcase BTS’ musical prowess but also reflect the diverse range of emotions and experiences they have captured in their discography.

As we delve into the critic’s picks of BTS’ best songs, we invite you to join us in commemorating the incredible journey of BTS. Their music has not only entertained but also inspired millions across the globe, and this milestone anniversary is a perfect opportunity to revisit and appreciate the tracks that have defined their legacy.

The Early Years: Breakthrough Hits

BTS, also known as Bangtan Sonyeondan or Beyond The Scene, entered the music industry with a bold and rebellious spirit that quickly caught the attention of critics and fans alike. Their debut single, “No More Dream,” released in 2013, served as a powerful introduction to their unique sound and vision. The song’s lyrics, which challenge societal expectations and encourage young people to pursue their dreams, resonated deeply with a generation seeking change. The aggressive rap verses, combined with dynamic choreography, showcased BTS’ potential and set them apart in the crowded K-pop landscape.

Following the success of “No More Dream,” BTS continued to build momentum with the release of “N.O” in 2013. This track further solidified their reputation for addressing social issues through music. “N.O” tackles the pressures faced by students in the South Korean education system, urging them to break free from conformity and follow their passions. The song’s impactful message, paired with its intense beat and powerful performances, helped BTS garner a loyal fanbase and critical acclaim.

In 2014, BTS released “Boy in Luv,” which marked a significant turning point in their career. This song, with its catchy melody and relatable lyrics about the complexities of young love, showcased a more polished and versatile side of the group. The music video, featuring energetic dance routines and a compelling storyline, further demonstrated their artistic growth. “Boy in Luv” achieved commercial success and expanded BTS’ reach, both domestically and internationally.

These early hits – “No More Dream,” “N.O,” and “Boy in Luv” – were instrumental in establishing BTS’ identity as artists unafraid to tackle meaningful themes through their music. They laid a solid foundation for the group’s future achievements and set the stage for their rise to global superstardom. By blending thought-provoking lyrics with captivating performances, BTS managed to carve out a unique space in the music industry, one that they continue to dominate to this day.

Over the past decade, BTS has ascended to unprecedented heights in the global music industry, with several tracks playing pivotal roles in their meteoric rise. Among these, “DNA” stands out as a landmark song that catapulted BTS to international fame. Released in 2017 as part of their “Love Yourself: Her” album, “DNA” seamlessly blends EDM with pop, crafting an infectious melody that resonated with a broad audience. Its vibrant music video, characterized by intricate choreography and visually stunning effects, further amplified its global appeal. The track’s success was monumental, helping BTS become the first K-pop group to enter the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Another significant milestone in BTS’s career came with the release of “Fake Love” in 2018. This track, from their “Love Yourself: Tear” album, delves into themes of heartbreak and disillusionment, juxtaposing haunting lyrics with a powerful rock-infused beat. “Fake Love” not only showcased BTS’s versatility as artists but also cemented their presence on the global stage. The song debuted at number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, marking a historic moment for K-pop and propelling BTS further into the international spotlight.

“Blood Sweat & Tears,” released in 2016 from their “Wings” album, is another quintessential track that contributed to BTS’s global domination. This song explores the complexities of temptation and desire, blending moombahton and trap influences to create a unique sound. The accompanying music video, rich in symbolism and artistic imagery, captivated audiences worldwide. “Blood Sweat & Tears” achieved significant chart success, solidifying BTS’s position as a formidable force in the global music scene.

These songs, among others, have been instrumental in BTS’s journey to international stardom. By breaking numerous records and gaining widespread acclaim, “DNA,” “Fake Love,” and “Blood Sweat & Tears” have not only elevated BTS’s status but have also paved the way for future generations of K-pop artists to aspire to global success.

BTS’ phenomenal ascent in the global music industry is marked by their notable achievements on the Billboard charts. Their chart-topping singles such as “Dynamite,” “Butter,” and “Permission to Dance” have not only showcased their commercial success but also garnered significant critical acclaim. These songs stand as a testament to BTS’ ability to transcend cultural and linguistic barriers, appealing to a diverse, international audience.


“Dynamite,” released in August 2020, was a monumental success for BTS, marking their first all-English single. The song debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, making BTS the first South Korean act to achieve this feat. “Dynamite” maintained its position at the top for three non-consecutive weeks and spent a total of 32 weeks on the chart. The song’s upbeat, disco-pop vibe and vibrant music video resonated well with both fans and critics, earning it multiple awards and a Grammy nomination. Its infectious energy served as a beacon of positivity during the global pandemic, further solidifying BTS’ influence and reach.


Following the success of “Dynamite,” BTS released “Butter” in May 2021, which quickly became another Billboard Hot 100 number one hit. “Butter” showcased BTS’ versatility with its smooth, catchy melody and charismatic performances. The single held the top spot for an impressive 10 consecutive weeks, demonstrating the group’s sustained popularity and appeal. Critics praised “Butter” for its polished production and the group’s flawless execution, highlighting BTS’ continued evolution as artists. The track’s wide acclaim further established BTS as a dominant force in the global pop music scene.

Permission to Dance

“Permission to Dance,” released in July 2021, continued BTS’ streak of Billboard success. The song debuted at number one on the Hot 100, replacing “Butter” and making BTS one of the few artists to replace themselves at the chart’s summit. Co-written by Ed Sheeran, “Permission to Dance” is an uplifting anthem with a universal message of joy and freedom. The single’s choreography, incorporating international sign language, was particularly praised for its inclusivity and positive impact. Critics lauded “Permission to Dance” for its feel-good atmosphere and the group’s dynamic performance, reinforcing BTS’ reputation for creating music that resonates globally.

In conclusion, BTS’ achievements on the Billboard charts with singles like “Dynamite,” “Butter,” and “Permission to Dance” underscore their remarkable journey and enduring global impact. These songs not only highlight their commercial prowess but also their ability to connect with listeners worldwide, making them a quintessential part of contemporary music history.

Among the diverse discography of BTS, certain tracks have particularly resonated with their dedicated fanbase, the ARMY. These fan favorites not only highlight the group’s musical prowess but also their ability to connect emotionally with listeners worldwide. One such track is “Spring Day,” often hailed as a modern classic. Released in 2017, “Spring Day” combines poignant lyrics with a hauntingly beautiful melody, capturing themes of longing and hope. Its music video further amplifies these emotions, featuring symbolic imagery that has left fans interpreting its deeper meanings for years.

Another beloved track is “Mikrokosmos,” a song that celebrates the uniqueness of every individual. Featured on their 2019 album “Map of the Soul: Persona,” “Mikrokosmos” offers a sense of comfort and unity, emphasizing the light within each person. This track has become a staple in BTS concerts, often accompanied by a sea of ARMY bombs (light sticks) that create a mesmerizing visual experience, symbolizing the collective brilliance of the fans and the group.

“Magic Shop,” written by BTS members for their fans, is an emotional testament to the bond between the group and ARMY. This track, from the 2018 album “Love Yourself: Tear,” serves as a metaphorical refuge where fans can find solace and healing. The lyrics invite listeners to open their hearts and let go of their worries, offering a comforting message that has deeply resonated with many. The intimate connection fostered by “Magic Shop” highlights the reciprocal relationship between BTS and their fans, one built on mutual support and understanding.

These songs, among others, underscore why BTS has garnered such a devoted following. They go beyond mere entertainment, providing a source of emotional resonance and solidarity. Through tracks like “Spring Day,” “Mikrokosmos,” and “Magic Shop,” BTS continues to touch the hearts of millions, creating an enduring legacy that celebrates both individuality and collective connection.

Collaborations and Features: Expanding Horizons

Throughout their career, BTS has consistently pushed the boundaries of their musical style and global presence, and their collaborations with other artists have played a crucial role in this journey. One of the most notable examples is “Boy With Luv,” featuring American singer Halsey. Released in 2019, this track not only topped charts worldwide but also showcased a harmonious blend of K-pop and Western pop elements. The song’s upbeat tempo, coupled with Halsey’s distinctive voice, created a vibrant and catchy tune that resonated with fans globally. This collaboration demonstrated BTS’ ability to seamlessly integrate different musical styles, further solidifying their position on the global stage.

Another significant collaboration is “Make It Right” featuring Lauv. This track, which was initially part of BTS’ “Map of the Soul: Persona” album, was later re-released with additional vocals from Lauv. The collaboration added a fresh dimension to the song, emphasizing themes of redemption and emotional healing. Lauv’s emotive voice complemented BTS’ heartfelt lyrics, creating a poignant and memorable track. Such collaborations have not only expanded BTS’ musical repertoire but also introduced them to diverse audiences, enhancing their global appeal.

Beyond these major collaborations, BTS has worked with numerous other artists across various genres, further broadening their artistic horizons. These partnerships have allowed them to experiment with different sounds and styles, from hip-hop and EDM to R&B and pop. Each collaboration has brought something unique to BTS’ discography, enriching their music and highlighting their versatility as artists.

In essence, BTS’ collaborations and featured tracks underscore their commitment to musical innovation and cross-cultural exchange. By working with a diverse range of artists, they have continued to evolve and expand their artistic vision, captivating audiences worldwide and solidifying their legacy in the music industry.

Critics’ Choice: Underrated Gems

While BTS has numerous chart-topping hits that have garnered worldwide acclaim, there are several tracks in their discography that critics argue deserve more recognition. Among these underrated gems are “Paradise,” “Pied Piper,” and “Sea.” Each of these songs offers a unique blend of lyrical depth and musical composition, showcasing the group’s versatility and artistic prowess.

“Paradise” is a track that stands out for its poignant message and intricate musical arrangement. The song addresses the pressures of modern society, encouraging listeners to find their own path rather than conforming to societal expectations. Critics have praised the track for its thoughtful lyrics and the seamless integration of various musical elements, from its smooth R&B beats to its compelling vocal performances.

Another track that has caught the attention of critics is “Pied Piper.” This song cleverly addresses the relationship between BTS and their fans, known as ARMY. With its catchy melody and witty lyrics, “Pied Piper” offers a playful yet introspective commentary on fandom culture. Critics appreciate the song’s ability to balance humor with a deeper message, showcasing BTS’ knack for storytelling through music.

“Sea” is perhaps one of the most emotionally charged tracks in BTS’ repertoire. Initially released as a hidden track on the “Love Yourself: Her” album, “Sea” delves into the struggles and triumphs the group has faced throughout their career. The song’s haunting melody and raw, honest lyrics have resonated deeply with both fans and critics alike. The use of metaphors and vivid imagery in the lyrics further enhances the song’s impact, making it a standout piece that many believe deserves more attention.

In highlighting these underrated tracks, critics aim to shed light on the lesser-known facets of BTS’ artistry. “Paradise,” “Pied Piper,” and “Sea” each offer a glimpse into the depth and diversity of the group’s musical capabilities, reminding us that there is much more to BTS than just their mainstream hits.

Conclusion: The Legacy of BTS

BTS’ journey over the past eleven years has been nothing short of revolutionary in the music industry. Emerging from South Korea, the group has transcended cultural and linguistic barriers to become a global phenomenon. Their discography, which includes chart-topping hits and critically acclaimed albums, has consistently showcased their evolving musical prowess and lyrical depth. From their early days with hip-hop influences to their later works that explore complex themes such as mental health, self-love, and societal issues, BTS has continually pushed the boundaries of what is expected in pop music.

Their achievements are numerous and significant. BTS has broken multiple records, from being the first Korean act to top the Billboard Hot 100 to achieving numerous awards, including prestigious accolades from the American Music Awards and the Grammys. Their influence extends beyond music; they have been recognized for their philanthropic efforts, including their partnership with UNICEF for the “Love Myself” campaign, which promotes self-acceptance and mental health awareness. Their impact on fans, known as ARMY, is profound, fostering a community that celebrates diversity and inclusivity.

Beyond their tangible achievements, BTS has also played a pivotal role in reshaping the global music landscape. They have paved the way for other K-pop acts to enter the international market, challenging the hegemony of Western pop music. Their innovative use of social media has set new standards for fan engagement, allowing for a more direct and personal connection with their audience. This has not only enhanced their global reach but also strengthened their influence on fellow artists and the industry at large.

As BTS continues their musical journey, their legacy is likely to grow even more significant. Their ability to adapt and innovate ensures that they remain relevant in an ever-changing industry. Fans and critics alike eagerly anticipate what the future holds for BTS, confident that they will continue to inspire, challenge, and entertain, leaving an indelible mark on the world of music.


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