When fans say BTS paved the way for K-pop, they really mean it! Of course, there have been a lot of outstanding senior groups like Shinee & EXO, but no one has garnered the same global attention as BTS. While it seems like BTS barely popped up just a few years ago, the K-pop sensations debuted in 2013.
Let’s take a look at the band’s humble beginnings and their journey to international stardom with some of their first songs from their debut in 2013!
“No more dreams” (2013)
If you know what BTS looks like now (always chic with an immaculate style) then you would be shocked to see them appear in their music video for “No More Dream”! In the group’s first single, the boys are dressed in extravagant hip-hop streetwear concept on a hijacked school bus. We all have to start somewhere.
While not all ARMYs could help but laugh at the music video, “No More Dream” was definitely a powerful debut. The 2013 single was actually written by BTS rappers Kim Namjoon, Jung Hoseok, and Min Yoongi. The lyrics focus on the concept of rebellion that the band will address regularly in their first albums.
This debut single highlights the talents of BTS’s three rappers and songwriters, who also carry their stage names RM, J-Hope and Suga. We won’t talk about RM’s Falcon Falcon.
“Just one day” (2014)
The band returned with a new album titled Skool Luv case and while “Just One Day” isn’t his title track, it definitely remains a fan favorite. BTS shows their softer side with this track, making it the first time BTS has revealed a more romantic, R&B sound.
The clip shows the boys dressed in school uniforms to embrace their youthful sensibilities, but also keeping a hint of eyeliner so we don’t forget the edge.
BTS adds rock elements to their 2014 hip-hop track “Danger” which describes the teenage angst that comes when your crush just doesn’t love you back. “Danger” certainly helps to illustrate the group’s growth from 2014 to 2021.
The youngest member Jungkook was only seventeen when “Danger” was released and led the group to receive domestic attention.
“BTS Cypher Pt. 3: Killer” (2014)
This all-rap song features a serious grain that most wouldn’t expect from K-pop boy bands. The undeniable power that the three rappers provide in the third installment of their “BTS Cypher” series is truly impossible to compare to other K-pop groups. “BTS Cypher Pt. 3: Killer” proved that BTS rappers are a force to be reckoned with not only for other K-pop groups, but even for some of Korea’s best rappers.
“I NEED YOU” (2015)
This track from their album The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt. 1 It was at this point that BTS started adopting a more pop style while leaving their stellar rap talents behind. The group explained that the lyrics describe the anxiety felt when trying to maintain a failing relationship. “I NEED U” is definitely the song to get you in your mood!
“DOPE” is BTS’s first hit that started winning international fans, mostly those who were already in the K-pop realm. The song became an instant pop hit with its catchy beat and lyrics relevant to South Korean teens who dedicate their lives to their studies and encourage them to give up their wishful thinking.
Although very popular nationwide, “DOPE” was actually banned from South Korean broadcast due to the lyrics considered “vulgar”. However, the song is still commonly played and the “ban” is considered a bit ridiculous by South Koreans.
2016 was truly the year of BTS as an album The most beautiful moment of life: Young Forever contained many tracks which propelled the band to a new level of fame in South Korea and even abroad. “Fire” brought some serious house vibes with its techno-pop beats and awesome rap. “Fire” ultimately marked the group as one of K-pop’s most popular boy groups.
It took them three solid years from their inception for BTS to carve a place at the top. Of course, even for years afterwards, BTS proved that their fame was only growing with no signs of slowing down! When was the first time you listened to BTS? Let us know your favorite first BTS hit in the comments below!