Some days it feels like I’m anxious and stressed from the moment I wake up until whenever I close my eyes for the night (usually later than I’d like). To cope when I need to focus at work or to help me unwind after dinner, I play the most calming music I can find, and one artist I’ve been turning to more than ever is BTS. This is a group that’s all over my workout playlist, and many people know them for their high-energy songs and choreographies, but they also have amazing ballads and slower tracks that help me relax and release stress when I need it most. The members of BTS are also advocates for mental health, something that their lyrics (in both Korean and English) often touch on; Love Yourself was the theme for their last full album cycle, promoting self-acceptance and love even when you’re feeling down.
The following playlist is one I’ve been listening to almost every day, with songs that speak directly about mental health (I recommend looking up the English lyric translations) or have a vibe that helps me relax and unwind after a long day: either uplifting or calm and soothing. Press play, close your eyes, and let these melodic tracks do the same for you.
There are plenty of things to love about BTS, and it’s easy enough to fall for the group’s quality music, spectacular choreographies, and lovable members. But one of the reasons BTS has become so widely popular is that people connect with their music on a deeply personal level: their songs are about following dreams, challenging norms, and staying true to yourself in the face of uncertainty. Because the members themselves overcame adversity to achieve their dreams, they have an incredible gift for penning lyrics that inspire audiences around the world to do the same. So no matter what stage of life you’re in or what your hopes and aspirations are, here are some of our favorite BTS lyrics that may inspire you:
“Who are you living for?
My heart stopped when I was nine or ten.
Put your hand on your heart and ask what your dream was,
What it really was.”
To start, we’re throwing it way back to the intro track from BTS’s 2013 EP “O!RUL8,2?” RM’s lyrics challenge us to look inward and ask ourselves what we want from our life. With a lyric that references a medical scare as a reminder that we should not take our time for granted, RM next advises us: “Never be late to do what you wanna do.” So if you’re late (or, rather, “L8”), let this be your wakeup call!
2. “No More Dream”
“What is the you that you dreamed of?
Who do you see in the mirror? I gotta say
Go on your path
Even if you live for a day
Put away your weakness.”
BTS’s debut song boldly demands that we face ourselves and question ourselves about who we want to be. The lyrics ask us what our dream is, daring us to truly live by finding our own path instead of simply going through life doing what is expected or what we’re told.
“Adults tell me that hardships are only momentary
To endure a little more, to do it later
Everybody say NO!
It can’t be any later
Don’t be trapped in someone else’s dream.”
In “N.O,” the guys point out the injustice of an education system that puts enormous pressure on students to be the best in school, teaching them to become studying machines instead of following their dreams. BTS rouses us to question why. Why put off these dreams? Why not say no?
“I worked all night, every day
While you were out clubbing.”
If you really want something, you simply have to put in the work for it. Instead of messing around with their free time, the members devoted it to crafting music and perfecting choreographies — and their efforts paid off!
5. “Moving On”
“We were always hoarse from an uncertain future and worries,
Seeing all the senior artists at the end of the year awards.
Let’s not forget those things, but put them away.”
In this sweetly sentimental song about moving out of their trainee dorm, the boys reminisce about their days as young idols. Despite being able to to put away some of the worries of their early careers, the boys resolved not to forget these more difficult times as they moved forward. After all, these struggles are what laid the groundwork for BTS’s later success — although when this song was released in 2015, the boys still had no idea of all that they would achieve!
“I believe in myself;
My back hurts in order to let my wings sprout.”
In a song filled with gorgeous imagery about shedding fears and trusting in your path, this lyric is particularly inspiring. Sacrifice and effort can be heavy burdens to bear, but they are the beginnings of the budding wings that will eventually grow so you can soar to new heights!
7. “Not Today”
“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.”
Until you’ve grown those wings, you may have to resort to other, less graceful methods of moving towards your goals. But BTS doesn’t care whether you’re flying, running, walking, or crawling: all that matters is that you’re not giving up. Not today!
8. “Boyz With Fun”
“I’m becoming weird.
You can’t go to the peak by being normal, baby.”
Just an important reminder that part of what enabled BTS to reach new heights of success is that they let their quirky, often weird personalities shine — and we all should do the same!
“I still believe, even though it’s unbelievable:
To lose your path
Is the way to find that path.”
Life is not always straightforward, and sometimes you may feel as though you’re drifting and unsure of how to achieve your dreams, or of what those dreams even are. Let this lyric from the vocal line’s song off the “Wings” album reassure you: in time, you might find that getting lost is what enabled you to find your path in the end!
10. “Intro: The Most Beautiful Moment In Life”
“What am I doin’ with my life?
This moment won’t ever come again
I’m asking myself again, am I happy right now?”
We could all probably stand to ask ourselves these important questions from Suga’s reflective intro track more often. It’s a good reminder to not waste our time, but rather to strive to live each and every moment as the most beautiful in life. (In case you were wondering, Suga’s own response to the question is the next lyric: “The answer is already there: I’m happy.”)
11. “So What”
“In the middle of the road, in the moment you want to give up,
Shout out even louder:
Off their newest album, “Love Yourself: Tear,” “So What” is a song about letting go of worries and fears. So what if others judge you? So what if you fail? You’re not going to give up your path for these concerns, so there’s no point in having them; the only solution is to keep moving forward.
12. “Never Mind”
“If you think you’re going to crash, step on the pedal harder.
Never mind, never mind,
Even if it’s a road of thorns, we still run.”
Another robust rap intro by Suga, “Never Mind” offers a powerful message about not allowing fears to hold you back. Suga tells us to never mind the possibility of failing or getting hurt: accelerate more, run through the thorns, and chase your dreams!
“Who says a dream must be something grand?
Just become anybody
We deserve a life
Whatever, big or small, you are you after all.”
With all this talk about dreams, BTS reminds us in “Paradise” that we don’t all have to strive for something as large-scale as the guys’ own aspirations. You don’t have to want to be a superstar; you simply have to be who you are and live the life that appeals to you.
“Follow your dream like breaker.
Even if it breaks down,
Don’t ever run backwards, never.
Because the dawn right before the sun rises is the darkest.”
In “Tomorrow,” BTS gets real about the frustration and despair that can go hand in hand with chasing your dreams. In spite of these difficulties, the lyrics caution us to keep our eyes on the prize, because just as dawn comes after the darkest part of night, breakthroughs often happen after the toughest of trials!
15. “Spring Day”
“The morning will come again.
No darkness, no season is eternal.”
Continuing with the theme of nature from “Tomorrow,” the lyrics from “Spring Day” give us a gentle yet powerfully reassuring reminder that no matter how dark things are, morning always comes in the end. If we wait out the cold winter of our hardships, we will come to a spring of our own.
16. “2! 3!”
“It’s alright, now count 1, 2, 3 and forget.
Erase all sad memories.
Hold each other’s hands and smile.”
Whenever you’re feeling down, this calming track from the “Wings” album will instantly lift your spirits. Rather than dwell on sadness, just count to three, smile, and draw strength from the people around you.
17. “Magic Shop”
“I do believe your galaxy.
I want to listen to your melody.
The stars in your Milky Way,
How will they appear in your sky?
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.
Finishing off our list, “Magic Shop” is the latest BTS track in which the guys express their love and appreciation for ARMYs. It’s a touching reminder that inspiration is a two-way street: as much as BTS motivates us to discover our hopes and live to our full potential, we inspire them with our energy, our galaxies, and our melodies. It is because we believe in them that they are able to inspire us to believe in ourselves.
Hey Soompiers, which BTS lyrics inspire you the most? Spread some inspiration by sharing your favorites in the comments!
hgordon stays up way too late on weeknights marathoning K-dramas and trying to keep up with the latest K-pop releases. She is grateful to BTS and their wonderful lyrics for always being there when she needs them the most!