Throwback Thursday: BTS B-Sides
Earlier this week, BigHit Entertainment announced that super group BTS would be taking their first extended break since their debut back in 2013. It’s been quite a busy past six years for the boys, with countless accolades and awards to their name, but with such an illustrious career full of successful title tracks, it can be easy to forget that the majority of BTS’s B-sides are better than their singles. For this week’s Throwback Thursday, we’re taking a look back at some of the non-title tracks that helped launch BTS into stardom, earning them millions of fans around the world and cementing the group as one of K-Pop’s most decorated artists.
“좋아요 (I Like It)”
Off their debut mini-album 2 Cool 4 Skool, “I Like It” is a relaxed R&B take on post-break-up love, full of suave verses and witty lyrics. In a debut album and concept overflowing with heavy chains and even heavier eyeliner, “I Like It” offers a more mature sound not found in promoted singles “No More Dream” and “We Are Bulletproof Pt. 2.” Whereas the rest of the album has hard-hitting lines courtesy of RM and SUGA, the highlight of this 2013 track is undeniably J-Hope’s impossibly smooth final verse.
“이사 Moving On”
This cut off of 2015’s 화양연화 Pt. 1 is one of BTS’s more somber tracks; it’s an autobiographical take on the boys moving out of their first dorm. In the track, the members reflect one by one on the trials and tribulations they faced while living in their first shared dorm, vowing to remember both the good and the bad memories that took place within its walls. Despite its hopeful message, the song has a certain sadness to it that’s only too relatable. Suga’s verse is particularly striking: his words are laced with just a bit of resentment as he comes to terms with all the sacrifices he made in his past. But it’s this slightly bitter tone that makes Jungkook’s final whimsical chorus and ad-libs all the more impactful in comparison.
“팔도강산 (Satoori Rap)”
The group’s 2013 sophomore release follows much the same formula as their first, with some smoother vocal songs sprinkled amongst a tracklist saturated with gritty hip-hop. It goes without saying, though, that O!RUL8,2? is dominated by the rapline, with the three MCs really coming into their own. Not only did this mini-album see the start of the famous “Cypher” series, but it also gives us “Satoori Rap,” an ingenious diss track that shines the light on BTS’s insurmountable pride as artists. In this song about their hometowns and regional dialects, BTS’s rapline reminds us that they’re the same boys that grew up in Ilsan, Daegu, and Gwangju, and they aren’t going to change for anyone.
One of the group’s most artistic tracks, “Whalien 52” comes off 2015’s 화양연화 Pt. 2, using the image of the 52 hertz whale as a metaphor for loneliness and hope. In 1989, the whale was discovered communicating at a frequency of 52 Hz as opposed to the typical 10-20 Hz. Because of its high frequency, the whale is unable to communicate with others of its kind, leading it to be known as the loneliest creature in the world; this, however, does not stop the whale from calling. Much like the silent whale, BTS sings of never giving up on being heard, no matter how much one may feel silenced. “Whalien 52” is a beautiful track with an even more beautiful message and one that has linked the image of the whale with BTS even now, four years after its release.