In the words of RM, “Eoseo wa bangtaneun cheoeumiji?” (Welcome, it’s your first time with BTS, isn’t it?) If the “Dynamite” release is your first comeback with BTS and you’re thinking that it’s about time you take that deep dive into ARMYland, you have seven years worth of content waiting for you. It can be overwhelming for anyone and I’m here to help you divide and conquer all the Bangtan goods.
Of course, there is no right or wrong when it comes to stanning. You shouldn’t feel obligated to consume all of these. But in any case, here’s a guide to finding the semi-hidden gems in their body of work and the ARMY merch you might want to get your hands on.
BTS Soundcloud covers and releases
On Spotify, BTS has 19 albums. This has yet to include the soundtrack album for mobile game “BTS World” and their single albums but it’s already a sizable discography. Your first listen to BTS’ early albums might be a bit of a shock since they debuted primarily as a hip-hop oriented boy group. It wasn’t until the “Most Beautiful Moment in Life Trilogy” (also known as the “Hwa Yang Yeon Hwa” series) when they transitioned into a more pop sound. It’s a strong, no-skip discog that you’ll have to hear for yourself.
If you’ve already listened to all the tracks on their Spotify, try visiting their Soundcloud page. The members have released several original tracks on the platform such as Jungkook’s letter to ARMYs “Still With You,” V’s moody “Winter Bear,” Jimin’s melodic “Promise” and RM’s tear-jerker “always.” There are remixes such as the Christmas version of Jin’s “Awake” and the Brit rock version of “Spring Day.” They also upload covers for songs like “Fools” and “Purpose.” They’re accompanied by special photos that the members often take themselves. Generous kings!
BTS mixtapes and collabs
Some of the members have also ventured into creating self-written and self-produced solo albums. The first one to debut his solo work is RM with his eponymous mixtape in 2015. It goes hard and he explores topics like despair and his insecurities. He also released music videos for “Do You” and “Joke” (where he was in a straightjacket). It’s a different RM than the one a lot more people witnessed grow during the group’s “Love Yourself” era. His 2018 mixtape “Mono,” which stands for “monster no more,” is similarly contemplative but more in the vein of poignant self-reflection. One of the songs is actually produced by HONNE.
Speaking of collabs, he’s done a number of them. While we’re all still waiting for one with Rina Sawayama, I implore you to check out the political song “Change” with fellow rapper Wale.
On the other hand, Suga released two mixtapes under the pseudonym Agust D. A highly personal lyricist, he shares about his battle with mental illness. Some exciting Agust D collabs are “So Far Away” with Suran and “Dear My Friend” with Kim Jong-wan of alternative rock band Nell. As Suga, he also dropped collabs with IU and Halsey in 2020.
J-hope’s “Hope World” in comparison gives off a bright and funky vibe with its bops. BTS’ main dancer is dead set on having you groove to his solo work. His song with Becky G has a dance challenge that you might have seen on TikTok. (Did you catch him at the end of Drake’s “In My Feelings” video?)
BTS reality shows and movies
What sets the K-pop industry apart from others is how it aims to provide a multimedia experience to fans. K-pop idols aren’t just marketed as musicians. Idol group variety shows can best illustrate this. Over the years, BTS has had a number of them. There’s “Rookie King,” “American Hustle Life,” “BTS GAYO,” “BTS: Bokbulbok,” “BTS: Bon Voyage,” “BTS In the SOOP,” “Run BTS,” and a YouTube original docu-series. Apart from that, the members also did TV guest appearances.
They’ve also sold DVDs of their concert tour movies and a yearly compilation of never before seen clips called “BTS Memories.” This is not to be mistaken with the stuff they intermittently post on their YouTube channel. So when we say that there’s a lot of ground to cover, there really is. You can watch them go on vacations, go on chaos mode when they compete in silly games or divulge the burdens they carry with tears in their eyes.
BTS mobile games, webtoons and books
I’m still salty about the discontinuation of BTS’ rhythm game “SuperStar BTS” which I think was one of the best ways to familiarize yourself with their discog. But you can still get “Puzzle Star BT21” and “BTS World” (which they shot some K-drama worthy scenes for) on the app store while waiting for the upcoming “BTS Universe Story” sandbox game.
If you’re more a bookworm than a gamer, you may prefer reading their webtoons, fantasy-action “We On: Be The Shield” and the HYYH era-inspired “Save Me.” The recently released “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life: The Notes” novel is perfect for anyone looking for angst.
BT21 and TinyTAN
Some ARMYs joke around that BTS created their fursonas when they released BT21 with Line Friends. Apart from drawing the initial sketches for these characters, BTS also came up with their backstories which are revealed through animated shorts on YouTube. You can buy all types of merch from the Line Store such as the character headbands ARMYs wear during concerts. Most people forget that before BT21, they already had fursonas that go by Hip Hop Monsters which you’ll have to scour the internet for since they stopped making the dolls.
Another group of BTS-inspired animated characters is TinyTAN. Think “The Borrowers” but cuter. You can shop their merch on Weverse.
BTS used to be more active on Twitter but for those hoping to interact with them like in years past, social media platform Weverse is your biggest hope. Made especially for fans to post just about anything, the members sometimes comment on fanart or joke around with ARMYs. V actually had one of the Simpson-style fan portraits of him on the site framed and delivered to their company building.
Did I miss mentioning your fave BTS content?
Art by Dana Calvo
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