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Top 10 solo songs of BTS' RM

RM has written many hits for the South Korean band (Image via HYBE)
RM has written many hits for the South Korean band (Image via HYBE)

Being the leader of a world-famous group like BTS cannot be easy. It requires fielding interview questions (in multiple languages) and maintaining a packed schedule while creating good music. But RM does it, and with style.

RM has been the architect behind BTS' iconic discography spanning nine studio albums, six compilation albums, and six extended play albums. The group's classic songs such as Spring Day, Life Goes On, Butter, and I Need U have been created thanks to the leader’s lyrical and musical genius.

As someone who speaks multiple languages (Korean, English, and Japanese), RM’s love for wordplay is special. To truly understand the beauty of his lyricism, one needs to analyze it deeply, as one would any piece of literary merit.


Top 10 songs from BTS RM’s solo discography

As someone responsible for the majority of BTS' nearly a decade's worth of discography, one would imagine RM has no time to do anything beyond. However, he has many solo music and artist collaborations under his belt. Here are 10 of his best solo works.


1) Intro: Persona

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When the music video for Intro: Persona came out, it was clear that it was special. Part of BTS’ 2019 Map of the Soul: Persona, the track samples Intro: Skool Love Affair. Referencing Carl Jung’s psychological persona theory, RM raps about the divergence between his on-stage (RM) and the off-stage persona (Kim Nam-joon).

“Who the h*ll am I?” he repeatedly asks while thinking about his flaws and accepting them. He concludes that despite his hesitation and inherent flaws, he has become someone who others look up to, and that is who he wants to be.


2) Do You

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Do You was released in 2015 as part of RM’s first mixtape. Titled RM, it was released back when RM was called Rap Monster. With 11 tracks, most of which are sampled from other artists’ songs, RM offers a look into the mind of the young, 21-year-old RM.

He claps back at people who criticized his debut as an idol in Do You. RM used to be a rapper in underground circles and many of his peers looked down on his decision to become a part of BTS.

RM spoke about the debate within himself in a May 2021 interview with Rolling Stone. It was difficult for him to find that stable balance between being an idol and an artist. He concludes,

“But, you know, whether it’s rap or pop music, or whatever it is, it is another method for me to show my mind and express my voice, and having that resonate with people.”

Despite the maturity that has come with age, RM briefly talked about this realization in Do You and other tracks on his first mixtape.


3) Trivia 承: Love

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This track was a part of 2018’s LOVE YOURSELF 結 'Answer,' the third in BTS' Love Yourself series. Trivia 承: Love perfectly embodies RM’s love for wordplay. In the lyric “I live, so I love,” using two words that differ in just one letter, he says that being alive is enough to be capable of love.

In a similar vein, the leader adds another wordplay to the song. This time, in the Korean language. He sings Sarang meaning ‘love’ and Saram, meaning ‘person’ in Korean, and talks about how 'love' erodes his sharp edges (which can be interpreted as negative feelings/emotions or flaws) and makes him a better 'person.'

In trivia love Joonie said “I’m just a human, you erode all my edges & turn me into love” saram is "사람" (human) in hangul, so Joon carved ㅁ into ㅇ which turns to sarang“사랑” (love), absolute genius 😌💫💜GENIUS SONGWRITER RM@BTS_twt#방탄소년단RMhttps://t.co/tt53mQ5wr3

Moreover, the live performances of this track are a sight to behold. With the word “love” written in different languages on screen, RM commands the stage, delivering the message of loving oneself to the audience as boldly and passionately as possible.


4) forever rain

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RM released his mixtape mono in 2018, in which he explored a different side of himself. If in RM he was calling out his haters, in mono, BTS' leader was talking to and comforting the insecurities and doubts within himself.

This track personifies rain as an old friend knocking on the window, coming to check-in. The rain makes you feel like you are walking in the rain, blasting the song in your earphones. With forever rain, RM takes a step back and slows down from his fast-paced life and rap.


5) Awakening

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Another gem from the 2015 mixtape RM, Awakening, is about the awakening to believing in oneself. RM is above the titles bestowed on him by cynics because what matters is the outlook of those who matter. His maturity belying age allows him to see that he has to hold his hand and rely on his gut to evolve.

The song touches on themes explored further in songs like Idol and Intro: Persona showcases the conflict between being an artist and an idol. He ultimately reaches an epiphany and accepts that any label given to him by others is meaningless.


6) Reflection

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RM wrote Reflection as part of BTS’ Wings album. As the title suggests, the track is based on RM’s deliberations at Ttukseom Hangang Park by Han River. When he felt moments of sadness or self-hatred, he would go to the river to clear his mind. Somewhere along the way, he embraced his anxiety, accepting loneliness.

Almost as if they were a precursor to BTS’s mega-successful Love Yourself series, the song's last lines are in English, repeated several times- “I wish I could love myself.”

🐨 "I wish I could love myself"💜 WE LOVE YOU!- Happy 5 Years with Reflection- We Love You Namjoon#Reflection5thAnniversary #RM@BTS_twt https://t.co/L9v6C5FDMF

In the live performances for Reflection during Wings tour, RM changed the lyrics to “Yes, I do love myself” when fans screamed “We love you” at his “I wish I could love myself” verse. The interaction proved the impact of his lyrics on the group and the fans.


7) Change

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Released in 2017 as a collaboration with American rapper Wale, Change is another underrated song showcasing the BTS leader's musical talent. Wale raps about issues in the US, picking out instances of racism that he faced as an African-American living in politically-charged times.

On the other hand, RM critiques the society he grew up in, talking about its hierarchical nature in depth. He also touches upon the dark side of social media. As he said in a March 2017 interview with Teen Vogue,

“For me, I talked about Korea, my problems, and about those on Twitter who kill people by keyboards.”

While the track condemns how society is currently functioning, it is a song of hope, with the chorus proclaiming, “World is gonna change.” In the outro, Wale and RM call on their fans and the next generation to “take it day by day” to make a change in this imperfect world.


8) moonchild

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The second song on this list from RM’s mono, moonchild, is for all night owls who find themselves unable to sleep at night. He talks about how the quiet landscape at night comforts troubled souls who push themselves harder when they want to give up.

The pain may seem endless and freedom may seem out of reach, yet they plod on. The moon and night sky seem like a taunt, but one person’s pain (or thorn) may comfort another. RM likens himself to a moonchild too, and in Korean, says, “We are each other’s scenery, each other’s moon.”


9) Winter Flower

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In early 2020, Korean singer Younha released a song, Winter Flower, featuring RM. The song is an ode to a flower that survives the harsh snowy winter. RM’s contribution to the song is the rap stanza.

RM speaks for the flower when he says that with spring far away, all it can do is live in this world created for it by someone else. It will bloom by calling on the seemingly endless winter, no matter the circumstances. Beyond this literal meaning, Winter Flower is about perseverance, determination, and collaboration.

Considering the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, this was the perfect song to start 2020. Push through the harsh winters, and spring will eventually appear (a message in BTS’ Spring Day penned by RM).


10) Seoul Town Road

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This collaboration between Lil Nas X and RM is iconic for several reasons. RM's verse in the song has his signature wordplay, which has different meanings in English and Korean. Further, BTS made history on the Grammys stage by performing Seoul Town Road.

In RM’s verse, he sings, “We gon' get yo' money with my homi in your backyard.” Many misconstrued the word homi as the English word homie, meaning friend. But, RM refers to a piece of farming equipment used in Korea.

This line can be interpreted as BTS coming over to a Western music award show and winning the awards there or the sold-out concerts (a reference to BTS' hit Mic Drop) internationally.


RM has done many collaborations with different artists, adapting to their style of music. A few of these are Timeless by Tiger JK feat. RM, Crying Over You by Honne feat. RM & BEKA, and Don't by eAeon feat. RM.

Additionally, his solo mixtapes mentioned above, RM (2015) and mono (2018), are incredible in their way. His 2021 BTS Festa track, titled Bicycle, chronicling his love for biking, is also phenomenal. RM has come into his own as an artist and a BTS leader.

RM recently posted pictures of him working in his studio on Instagram, teasing new music. He also told fans on Weverse that he is planning to release his mixtape this year. The multi-talented musical genius might be on the verge of releasing the next big BTS hit or some more of his soul-nourishing solo music.


Disclaimer: This article reflects the opinions of the writer.

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Edited by Srijan Sen
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