It’s finally here–the last semester of your life as a college student. That diploma you’ve been working so hard to get your hands on is nearly in your grasp, but suddenly those jokes of dropping out to become a professional Netflix Binger stationed in your parents’ basement seems to be looking more appealing than ever.
You’re burnt out, exhausted and are now introduced as the resident blanket burrito of your apartment. Well, BTS wants to tell you to unravel from the depressive hole you’ve curled into and muster up the strength to go another round with life. From screaming self-love at the top of your lungs to being that supportive hand on your shoulder guiding you into that first interview; there are BTS songs for any and all struggling students nearing the start of their career journey.
Here are 15 BTS songs that will motivate that final push to get you across that graduation stage.
Lyric Highlight: Gotta go insane to stay sane/Throw myself whole into both worlds/Can’t hold me down ‘cuz you know I’m a fighter/Carried myself into this beautiful prison/Find me and I’m gunna live with ya
While some claim the past four years as some of the best years of their life, that doesn’t mean every day was like running through an open field of spring flowers all Sound of Music style. In fact, many of those days probably felt more like a hard shove down a rocky slope and into a bed of thorny roses. As college students, we’ve all experienced the pain of that fall one too many times. But with pain comes growth; a vulnerable concept of which BTS expresses through their latest title track. Through “ON,” BTS speaks not only of the uncertainty each new day brings but also the importance of embracing the pain of one’s past in order to rise as a strong individual. Supported by sharp instrumentation courtesy of the UCLA marching band, the song takes the listener through this journey of open wounds, leaving them with the power to stand up once again while tempting life to, “Bring it, bring the pain on.”
Lyric Highlight: We borrow dreams from others (Like a debt)/We learn that we need to become great (Like a light)/Your dream. Is actually a burden/If having a future is the only dream existing/Then what is the dream you had last night in your bed?
So, what do you plan to do after graduation? Any jobs lined up? Where do you want to see yourself in five years’ time? As seniors, weighted questions confront you at nearly every turn, but have any of us even had the time to pause and think honestly about the answer? Or the fear of admitting that your biggest goal in life right now looks more like grabbing that iced vanilla latte before tomorrow’s 8 a.m. No matter the goal–big or small–BTS’s “Paradise” challenges society’s defined concept of ‘success.’ Amidst the calming, R&B flow, they remind young people that even though the world may be telling them to push the boundaries of health to reach an established paradise, it’s alright to hit pause.
“BTS is a place I can go to escape when I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed by life,” said University of Iowa junior Kaitlyn Vote. “Through their music and the community they’ve created, I’m reminded that I’m never alone in my struggles.” Using the analogy of running an endless marathon, the lyrics urge those lost on a path set forth by others to “Stop runnin’ for nothin’.” Now’s the time to put down the schedule, close the laptop and take a little over three min to ask yourself what your own idea of success looks like today. If you find yourself running toward a false finish line, don’t be afraid to stop dead in your tracks because as long as you’re happy you’ve already arrived in your own form of paradise.
3. Moving On
Lyric Highlight: Goodbye to this place that we grew attached to/Let’s move/Now to a higher place/While taking the last box out of the empty room/I looked back for a moment/Times we cried and laughed/Goodbye now
While these may have been some of the hardest years of our lives, that doesn’t mean putting that final box into the moving van gets any easier. Of course, an exciting future awaits with new experiences, a new job and maybe even a new town, but the celebratory confetti doesn’t seem to fly as high when you remember all of the good times now coming to a close. Take a moment to gather your closest friends for some of the final nights in your apartment, order a pizza, play “Moving On” and just let out a nostalgic cry while looking back on both the good and bad memories that brought you to that moment.
“You have to collect all the stuff in life that makes you happy and just cherish it and forget about all the other stuff,” said University of Iowa freshman Taylor Custer. “To me, BTS is one of those things.” Like a breath of smooth jazz on a cool summer’s night, this song allows you to sit in the world of your memories if even for a moment. Excitement for the future, sadness for the past, and fear of the unknown ahead greet us the moment we step off the stage at graduation. Instead of running from the past four years, honor the good, the bad and the sleep-deprived.
4. So What
Lyric Highlight: Even if you’re in danger on the boundary/Let’s cut through the wind while laughing and chatting/Sometimes run like a fool/With mistakes and in tears, we just go
Now that we’re all crying about the crushing anxieties of an unknown future, we need to dry those tears by headbanging our way through finals and onto graduation. Side note: if you see a girl frantically sprinting through your campus screaming “So What” at the top of their lungs in the next month… I’m neither confirming nor denying that it’s me. The contagious hype of these EDM beats vibrate from your speakers and unapologetically find a new home in your soul. You’re welcome.
While you flail your limbs through the air in the name of dance, you also find yourself coming to peace with the anxieties over the aspects of life you simply can’t control. “It’s music for dreamers. For people who are up in their head all the time about their personal problems or the future they envision for themselves, but they don’t have the courage to just pursue it,” said UC Berkley alumni Breana Nguyen. “That’s who their music is for; those that need that extra push of motivation to know that it’s okay to fail on your way to the top.” Instead of camping out in this sea of worries flooding your brain, the lyrics urge you to drive into that fear at full acceleration. The moment of hesitation and the fear of failure that’s been holding you back has no place in that cap and gown.
Lyric Highlight: Until the dawn is gone/It’s ok to just live because we’re still young/Who do you think you are to say otherwise/Stop comparing, I’m only human
We’re young–just barely breaching our 20s–and yet at some point, the title of adult was placed on our heads. Occupying this in-between space of no longer a kid but not exactly an adult is not only confusing but extremely frustrating as well. This circumstantial association for an expected maturity level by others gets exhausting and sometimes you just need a night to figuratively set everything on fire. There’s a time and place to enact your ‘adult’ card, but leading up to that final walk at graduation, this card has gotten run down from job interviews, career fairs and talks with the relatives about your ‘projected life plans.’ So please, for the love of all things wild, put the ‘adult’ card down and turn on “Fire” repeat for a night of fun. You can take a single night to live free with no consequences in sight. Don’t worry, I’ll forgive you.
Lyric Highlight: You got me/I dream while looking at you/I got you/Inside those pitch black nights/The lights we saw in each other/We’re saying the same thing/…The deeper the night, the brighter the starlight
You’ve sent out countless applications and gone through too many interviews that have ended with a cold email saying that they’ve “decided to move forward with other candidates.” In this competitive society, it’s easy to feel as though you aren’t special enough to get even the most remedial position associated with your major. Pause. Take a deep breath. Turn on the twinkling glimpse of hope that is “Mikrokosmos” and remember your worth within this world.
BTS reminds listeners that even amidst a universe of stars that appear to shine brighter, everyone possesses their own unique shine that brings light to the darkness of the universe. “The lyrics are beautiful yes, but the melody just makes me feel so inspired, like there is still hope for me,” said Pratt Institute freshman Selena Yao. This concept was best exemplified on their latest tour as the fans’ light sticks brought light to the dark arenas, making the members appear to be performing amongst the stars. But even after they step off the stage, the healing atmosphere of their song fuels everyone’s inner light to continue to shine.
7. BTS Cypher 4
Lyric Highlight: I’m a monster, my tail is too long, bae/You’ll shoot me anyway, bae/In that case, a zoo would be more comfortable, bae/You want it too, something to chew on, bae/You hate me but you know me (x2)/I like hate comments more than no comments/I don’t know you/But you know my name
People suck. No matter the time or place, “haters” come at you face-first ready to bulldoze any semblance of confidence you spent the past four years building. To all of those that use the pain of others to build their own fragile self-esteem higher, the rap line of BTS has a message for you: Please, stay healthy. It’s surprising the amount of time and energy gets put into hate meant for the destruction of another’s dreams. This iconic dis-track is here to say no more. Instead of stooping to their level, BTS once again empowers listeners with the message of self-love, pitying the haters that can’t do the same.
“It can be really difficult to love yourself because social media and society doesn’t always remind you to, but BTS is always saying that’s the number one thing–to take care of yourself,” said University of Iowa sophomore Amy Dong. Who else could get tens of thousands of people to scream at the top of their lungs, “I love myself”? The answer is practically no one, but the legends themselves who personify the phrase “the best revenge is success.” So, just remember as you dedicate another long night to your studies all while taking a verbal beating from those who don’t believe in you; the diploma in your hand combats any insult they throw your way.
8. 00:00 (Zero O’Clock)
Lyric Highlight: Will something be different/It won’t be something like that/But this day will be over/When the minute and second hands overlap/the world holds its breath for a little while/Zero o’clock/and you gunna be happy
Another long day comes to an end and as you make your way back to your apartment, a whirlpool of all the things you didn’t get done swirls in your head. Maybe you shouldn’t have watched that extra YouTube video between classes or maybe you should’ve stayed at the library a little bit longer. Even though we don’t like to admit it, the motivation to maintain that overachieving persona just doesn’t make it to campus every day. We sit burnt out, trying to make it through the depression that comes with a life full of too many expectations and not enough hours in the day. We desperately wish to turn back the clock, to get a re-do on our day and yet fated to continue forward in the anxious buzz of an expectant society. But tonight, as the clock resets to zero and you lay in your bed on the verge of frustrated tears, remember that you made it through another day
Lyric Highlight: I have a long way to go but why am I running in place/I scream out of frustration but the empty air echoes/I hope tomorrow will be different from today/I’m just wishing
On a college campus, stories of success bombard you left and right; a friend that got accepted into their dream grad program, another getting an internship at a major company and even someone that just found $20 on the sidewalk while walking to class. And yet here you sit, working until all hours of the night and remaining stagnant in your career journey. With their track “Tomorrow,” BTS reminds those that as frustrating as this seems in the moment, you need to muster up all the leftover steam within yourself and continue to push to achieve your goals. “They motivate me to work hard in all aspects of my life,” Vote said. “They came from a tiny entertainment company, and now they’re one of the biggest music groups in the world. If that’s not a prime example of how hard work and perseverance can pay off, then I don’t know what is.” Even though it seems to be taking a bit longer for your years of hard work to gain traction, you can’t simply give up because you never know what the next day will bring.
10. Spring Day
Lyric Highlight: Wanna get to the other side of the earth, holding your hand/Wanna put an end to this winter/How much longing should we see snowing down/To have the days of spring, Friend
Currently leading the charge through one of the messiest semesters of your life, it seems like every day something new enters your bustling world while other things leave. Acting as that comforting hand in the darkness, “Spring Day” cries with you, but also brings hope of new days to come. “This is the queen of BTS songs in my opinion,” Vote said. “I love the sound of the song and the lyrics have some beautiful imagery.” Holding the throne as one of the longest songs to sit on the Melon Music Charts, “Spring Day” continues to touch the souls of many mourning a loss in their life. The heart-wrenching melody expresses the loss of a friend, as the lyrics yearn for the day this eternal winter turns to spring so they can be reunited once again.
11. Best of Me
Lyric Highlight: You just give me the confidence within myself/That’s all I wanted/There may not be rules between us/But the way to love exists/Who got the best of me? (x2)/No one knows but I know me
Repeat after me: I am human, I am not a soulless robot, I deserve to love and be loved. At this point, we resemble high functioning machines unable to do much beyond sleeping, working, taking the occasional shower and hopefully eating a meal every now and again. But does that truly describe living? Everyone immediately answers no, and yet here we continue our march through campus. The ability to love another with our entire being sets us apart from anything else on this planet and yet we stay glued to our laptops while our 20s continue to pass us. In the pumping synths, you discover what it means to live in the moment; to be bursting with so much emotion, so much vulnerability, you can only scream “You’ve got the best of me” at the top of your lungs. Sorry neighbors…
12. Outro: Ego
Lyric Highlight: Now I don’t care, it’s all/Choices by my fate, so we’re here/Look ahead, the way is shinin’/Keep goin’ now
Maintaining trust in a future that looks as clear as that americano you chugged on the way to class this morning doesn’t come easy. How do you keep faith that you’ll actually make it to your goals in 10 years’ time? Well, you can’t. But you can put trust in your own abilities to work your way to that future. In this solo track, member J-Hope releases the anxieties that come along with pursuing one’s passion by putting his own future into the hands of fate as he continues confidently down his own designed path.
“Their message is basically centered around the fact that you can try as hard as you can and even if you don’t get to where you want by a certain time, you’re not a failure,” Nguyen said. “It’s all about getting back up and trying again.” No one carries the authority to tell you which job to apply to, whether you should attend grad school or even how to spend your Saturday night. Only you hold that power to lay down the path before you. So, it’s time to start strutting to some trumpets and trust that wherever your feet travel next, it’s where you were meant to land.
Lyric Highlight: Lost between the deserts and oceans/I’m still wandering/Where should I go, yeah/I didn’t know there were this many/Paths I can’t go and paths I can’t take/I never felt this way before/Am I becoming an adult?
Shouldn’t we be at a point in our life where we have everything figured out? Yet, here we stand, about to graduate college and still struggling to answer the question, “So, what do you want to do with your life?” The entire world is open for our taking and that’s the problem. BTS’s vocal line follows this train of anxious thought through their song “Lost” as they, like many young adults, attempt to find their way back to their secure life path. They don’t shy away from the fear that settles within you in coming to terms with the fact that you may be miles from where you imagined yourself at this point in your life. No matter the situation, no matter the language, no matter the destination, we’re all struggling and there’s no shame in reaching out for helping hand. The important thing to remember is to keep that dream sharp within your mind because while you may be lost right now, as long as your moving forward, you’ll find your fated destination in due time.
14. Magic Shop
Lyric Highlight: I do believe your galaxy/I want to listen to your melody/Your stars in the Milky Way/Don’t forget that I found you anyways/At the end of my despair/You’re the last reason/For me who was standing at the edge of the cliff/Live
A magic shop represents more than a place that sells trick card decks and bouquets of fake flowers. A psychological technique, a magic shop exchanges one’s fears for positivity. The idea for the song’s stemmed from the member Jungkook, who wanted to create a safe space for fans in times of hardship. Through this comforting song, listeners shut out the world and dive deep within themselves to open the doors to their inner magic shop where the group will be waiting.
In turn, through their live performances, the members are able to do the same, entering the safe space of the arena to find a magic shop full of ARMY ready to support them in their darkest times. “It’s a sweet reminder that love and inspiration is something of a two-way street,” said University of Iowa junior Ashelle Monteiro. “We as the fans inspire BTS by giving them our energy and support during all the things that they do and they, in turn, give us hope and the belief that we need to believe in ourselves as well as reach our full potential with them giving out tons of motivation.” There’s no need to go through this chaotic time alone, and with the support of BTS behind you, you can feel at peace–if only for a moment–with a warm cup of tea in hand.
15. Not Today
Lyric Highlight: If you can’t fly, then run/Today we will survive/If you can’t run, then walk/Today we will survive/If you can’t walk, then crawl/Even if you have to crawl, gear up
When BTS tells you to gear up for battle against the struggles in life that leave you beaten down, then you rise and go to battle. If you ever dreamed of your life turning into a high action film equipped powerful battle cries that calls forth a world of underdogs, then this is the song for you. “When a day was coming and I was dreading it, feeling really bad anxiety, I would listen to songs like ‘Not Today’ to get extremely pumped up and get out of that headspace,” Nguyen said. “When is time to give up? Not today. When is it time to look down on yourself? Not today.” March onto campus each morning with a new sense of fuel to the fire within you, ready to make you dreams become tomorrow’s reality. Until that day comes, continue your fight–aim, ready, fire!