“I Need You” propelled BTS to significant success in the Korean music industry, earning them their first music show award and subsequent victories. The song revolves around a tumultuous relationship where they feel trapped and ruined yet unable to break free. The lyrics convey their desperation for the girl to end the relationship on their behalf. The music video draws inspiration from the book “The Owl Service,” portraying an endless cycle of life and death.
“I Need U is a special song to me, and I also wrote the intro to HYYH p1. I don’t really know why but I considered that song to be the end, the last light. You may think the reason was because we weren’t doing well before then but that wasn’t actually true, if you looked at the numbers, it wasn’t as bad as we thought it was, we just had really high expectations. That’s what we thought at the time, that this could be the last. That’s why it was like we went all-in and gave it everything we had. I can still remember the emotions I felt back then clearly. The first show we performed I Need U on was Mcountdwn and I still remember what outfits we wore. We recorded even without an audience. We had shorts and I was the only one in a navy outfit. I felt an emotion I never felt before on that stage. I wondered, why does it feel so sad singing this song? We gave it our everything thinking it could be the last so it was a big turning point of our lives” BTS SUGA – Min Yoongi, 2020
Immediately after release, “I Need U” became the top trending search term on South-Korean portal sites and ranked number one on various real-time music charts, and reached the top 10 on Melon, Bugs, and Naver Music’s real-time music charts.
It debuted at number five on Gaon’s Weekly Digital and Weekly Download charts, with 93,790 digital units sold in its first week. The single went on to accumulate over 850,000 digital downloads.
In the US, “I Need U” debuted at number 4 on the Billboard World Digital Songs Chart, ranking the highest of the six tracks from its parent EP that entered the chart. As of September 2019, the song has sold 98,000 downloads.