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Subunits Pt. 1: A BTS Way to Innovate Their Music

Throughout their career, BTS has proved their diversity and versatility as a group in countless ways. They always try to show their fans new sides of them through their music by writing about their feelings and exploring different genres. The words “BTS” and “subunit” have gone well together since the start of their seven-year musical journey. ARMY has been able to see how uniquely the members blend and hear the outcome of their individual talents and styles gathered into one piece of art.

Let’s have a look at some BTS subunits that have only been amazing works put out to the world!

The subunit song Even If I Die, It’s You by Jin and V, was released as the second OST for 2016 South Korean historical drama “Hwarang”, in which V debuted as an actor. It features in the soundtrack album Hwarang (Music from the Original TV Series), and it was performed live by the vocalists two years later at “BTS PROM PARTY” in celebration of their fifth anniversary as a group. It is a pop song with an upbeat groove that portrays the energy of the young characters in the series. Jin’s high and powerful voice filled with risk and determination mixed with V’s deep and refreshing vocals made a record enjoyable for listeners and incredibly special to ARMY. The song even got a nomination in the category “Best OST” at the 2017 Melon Music Awards.

RM’s and V’s 네시 (4 O'CLOCK) was released on SoundCloud as one of the songs for their 2017 FESTA and was performed live at the “BTS HOME PARTY” to celebrate the group’s fourth anniversary. This subunit surprised many ARMYs; this was the first song produced and composed by V. In the process, he asked his bandmate RM for help, who ended up singing the song with him as a collaboration. This piece contrasted V’s low and soulful voice with RM’s flowing rap and soft vocals, which matched the mood as well as lyrics of the song perfectly.

In 2018, after DJ and record producer Steve Aoki produced their song The Truth Untold off their studio album LOVE YOURSELF 轉 ‘Tear’, BTS had a chance to collaborate with him again in the same year. Aoki decided to have them featured on his own album. The song Waste It On Me had RM, Jungkook, and Jimin as writers and/or singers. Despite it being fully in English, the three BTS members effectively transmitted the ambient EDM and summer vibe of the song with their amazing rap and vocals.

The soundtrack album for the mobile game "BTS WORLD", titled BTS WORLD (Original Soundtrack), featured different subunits from the group. For its release in 2019, the members - along with other writers and producers - worked on three songs. Dream Glow is a subunit of Jin, Jungkook and Jimin in collaboration with British singer Charli XCX. It’s a pop song which talks about following your dreams, shining the brightest, and never giving up to an opponent who tries to bring you down. A Brand New Day, a subunit song of j-hope and V in collaboration with Swedish singer Zara Larsson is an electronic hip-hop song with the instrumentation of a daegeum, a Korean bamboo flute. The song has the message of finding yourself, overcoming fears, and one day making your dreams come true. Lastly, All Night, a subunit song of RM and SUGA in collaboration with American rapper Juice Wrld, is described as a moderate tempo hip-hop song with a 90’s-inspired chill vibe that talks about an artist's daily job. It focuses on BTS’ way to success and the love they have for their fans.

After their hit single Dynamite, which achieved three number ones on Billboard Hot 100, BTS’ next musical release was a remix of the song Savage Love, originally by singer Jason Derulo and music producer Jawsh 685. In October 2020, ARMY got to hear the song and see which members got to be part of it; the record featured j-hope, SUGA, and Jungkook. Both rappers had songwriting credits for writing their verses in Korean. Jungkook starred in the piece with his beautiful and powerful vocals, giving the song a whole new feel from the original. SUGA and j-hope’s parts matched flawlessly with the instrumental, and by adding their own unique style, they made the song a lot more dynamic. This BTS remix debuted number one on Billboard Hot 100, making it BTS’ second record to top the chart.

It is clear that BTS can achieve great things when the seven of them participate in a track, but the power and innovation of subunits within the group are undeniable sources of their musical impact.

Written by: Ala

Edited by: Hel.B

Designed by: Judy

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