The 10 most essential BTS music videos
FYI, BTS is taking over the world.
The K-pop boy band, formed in 2013, has long been a cultural phenomenon of epic proportions in Korea. In the past couple of years, however, BTS’s global popularity has expanded enormously, hitting the States in a big way. As the April 12 release of their new studio album Map of the Soul: Persona and their April 13 SNL appearance draw near, we’ve taken a little tour of the South Korean septet’s music video history. Check out 10 of their most essential clips below, and prepare for their world domination.
THE ORIGINAL: “No More Dream”
BTS first hit the scene with the 2013 single album 2 Cool 4 Skool, off of which the track “No More Dream” inspired this anarchic video.
THE PROTEST: “N.O”
Part of what makes BTS so compelling for its legions of fans is how personal the music is to the artists; this 2013 track addresses the modern education system, which “made us into study machines.”
THE HEARTBREAKER: “I Need U”
The members of BTS played troubled youth in 2015’s emotional “I Need U” video.
THE PERFECT TAKE: “Save Me”
The band did away with frantic editing for 2016’s “Save Me” video, which sees all seven members dancing on a grassy field and was shot in one long take.
THE CHOREOGRAPHY CHALLENGE: “Fire”
In 2016, the band picked up the pace for this energetic video, which featured some killer choreography.
THE ART PIECE: “Blood Sweat & Tears”
The accompanying video for this 2016 track tends toward the highbrow, engaging with lofty ideas and taking place in a series of classic, stunning spaces (some more surreal than others). Halfway through, bandmember RM recites a passage from Hermann Hesse’s Demian.
THE SCIENCE EXPERIMENT: “DNA”
The twisty, twirly choreography (performed as sharply as ever, we might add) on display in 2017’s “DNA” was inspired by the very shape of the molecule named in the song title. It’s also the most-viewed music video that BTS has released.
THE PRESIDENTIAL SHOUTOUT: “Mic Drop (Steve Aoki Remix)”
The Steve Aoki remix of the 2017’s “Mic Drop” became the band’s first song to crack the U.S. top 40, and the first K-pop track to top the American iTunes chart. It’s appropriate that this would be the tune to break BTS into the States — it was reportedly inspired by President Obama’s legendary mic drop at the 2016 White House Correspondent’s Dinner.
THE TRAILBLAZER: “Fake Love”
There’s nothing fake about the love BTS fans showed this 2018 track and its accompanying video — it became the band’s first (and thus far only) track to crack the top 10 in the U.S.
THE RECORD-BREAKER: “IDOL”
This weird and wonderful candy-colored clip has to be seen to be believed — and boy, has it been seen. When the video dropped in 2018, it broke the record for YouTube’s biggest debut, with over 45 million views in its first 24 hours (dethroning Taylor Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do” and its measly 43.2 million).