Random Shuffle Review: BTS – Boy In Luv

With over 2,900 songs on my iPhone’s “K-Pop Singles” playlist, I thought it would be fun to add a bit of unpredictability to my song review posts. So as a result, we have the “Random Shuffle Review” feature.

The rules are simple. I fire up my playlist, press “shuffle,” and whatever song plays first gets the full Bias List treatment!

Year Released: 2014

Though BTS had been on my radar prior to 2014, Boy In Luv was the first time I really sat up and paid detailed attention. Up to this point, the group’s title tracks had largely been rap-heavy, though 2013’s N.O. draped that over a symphonic backdrop to great effect. With Boy In Luv (상남자), the guys brought a couple new elements that appealed to me. First, the song’s chorus embraced the anthemic, offering a rousing, sing-along hook. Second, the hard-hitting instrumental enlisted a generous supply of rock guitar.

Rock and rap has been a fantastic combination since Run DMC and Aerosmith first joined forces in the 80’s, and it’s an especially potent brew when it comes to BTS. The guys have tread similar ground in the years since 2014, but Boy In Luv remains special. At the time, it was the perfect encapsulation of their emerging group personality. Though their music has always been topical, we’d yet to enter the years of increasingly complex lore and musical mission statements. In 2014, they were a scruffy, rebellious group of rookies who were particularly adept at transforming youthful turbulence into impactul pop hits.

Boy In Luv wastes no time diving into its guitar-heavy bombast. Opening with a pair of chanted hooks, the track quickly segues into a rap-driven verse that hinges on a sense of varied flow and emotional urgency. Too much idol rap these days models itself on Western hip-hop trends. In contrast, Boy’s flow is complimentary to the song itself, as well as the individual charms of the members. Rather than revert back to those aforementioned chants, the track unveils yet another pummeling hook for its chorus. It’s all more snarling than singing, but these elements work flawlessly together for a sense of cohesion and build. By the time a wave of electric guitar crashes in during the breathless climax, BTS have more than sold the song’s sentiment. This may not be their official debut, but I’ve always felt that Boy In Luv was the group’s undisputed breakthrough.

 Hooks 9
 Production 10
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 9.25

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!


6 thoughts on “Random Shuffle Review: BTS – Boy In Luv

  1. Just complete unrelenting high-energy song, BTS rap line have always been it’s biggest strength.

    As someone who prefer rap to singing when it comes to vocal delivery, the early bts were definitely awesome (Though i still liked a lot of their more recent materials)


  2. This was an absolute killer song by young BTS. While I still think Danger is the peak of their more hip hop driven sound, this song was definitely the one that made me more aware of their existence.

    That hook hits like a jackhammer every single time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. totally agree, Boy in Luv was what had put BTS on my radar back then– and i think they see it as their breakthrough as well, if Boy With Luv’s title is to be believed!!

    also i decided to look back at BTS’s singles discography as a whole, and i feel like their sounds often shifts in triplets/trilogies– the Love Yourself one is most obvious, and Boy in Luv, Danger and War of Hormone seem to group together sonically (i know Just One Day was also released between these songs, but for the sake of my point…). so if my observation of this pattern holds up, then we’d just be one more song away from exiting the pitfall era of Black Swan and On…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. While I personally found this the weakest video of the ‘school’ trilogy – I wish the girl had rejected him at the end! – I appreciated that after two more introspective rallying songs that this one was more of a relaxed/age appropriate tone in contrast. Also in contrast is how TXT’s school boy music is vastly different stylistically to this – it would be amusing to see them cover it because it’s a much harder edge by far.

    I do agree that this highlights their scruffy, rough around the edges qualities quite nicely tho and the beat & flow itself feels very unique to them.


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