Ever since the first time BTS’ V (Kim Tae Hyung) dropped his first solo single on Soundcloud, fans have been eagerly waiting for a full-fledged musical offering from the juggernaut. If you trace back to V’s songs, you will see that the singer seeks solace in the alternate genre of music. While as a group, they all band together to belt out verses in hip-hop, rap, trap and modern pop, when going solo, V chooses a slower genre of music. It is the case with the group’s leader RM as well, who in his solo ventures while sticking to rap chose music which was much more subdued in nature. Be it as a group or as a solo artist, the members speak about trivial matters of life and the heart, thus lending a comforting shoulder to their listeners. Dropping his first EP Layover with the creative direction of ADOR founder shaper Min Hee Jin, he deep dives into his artistry. Let’s take a look at the husky-voiced singer’s first solo EP.
BTS’ V oozes sophistication blending yesteryear sounds with modern artistry in his solo debut Layover – Album Review
V’s solo debut EP opens with a soft chill pop track ‘Rainy Days’. The song is straight out of a lo-fi playlist curated to set the mood right from its first chord. V croons about missing his partner and reminiscing over the past - “I'm thinkin' 'bout you, what to say/Wish I knew how to find the way/Right back to you, on rainy days like”. The song was one of the two pre-release singles teasing about the album prior to its release.
If you don’t feel the blues after listening to the track, then you are listening to it wrong. ‘Blue’ does not just signify a color in this track, it symbolises a human mood, an emotional state of being. The song has bare minimum lyrics which are drizzled about on the rustic and acoustic RnB beats - “These days/Deep sigh of relief/It's sinking me too/Tell me everything/So, swing my way, baby”. The music video for ‘Blue’ is scheduled to release on September 13, 2023.
3.LOVE ME AGAIN
‘Love Me Again’ is the very first track released from the EP. Released exactly a month prior to the EP’s official release, ‘Love Me Again’ gave a good peek into V’s solo artistry. He plays to his strengths by using retro RnB music and pairing it with his husky vocals. While the first two songs struck a nostalgic chord of a past love, this track speaks about the heavy desire to go back to the love.
The title of the song reflects the mood of the song. Like a slow dance that entrances a couple and leads to a reflective time spent together, ‘Slow Dancing’ captivates the listeners from the start. The song carries a strain of its preceding track’s idea, but at the same time there is a hopeful tone to it. There is a sense of calm, even if V sings about missing his love and asking them to come back - “This can't be forced, babe/It shouldn't feel like this/Hurts too much already/Stay with me 'til the end of the day”. The sixth track of the album is a piano version of ‘Slow Dancing’.
‘For Us’ is a track that has a child-like vocalization in the track which hints at the innocence of the affair and emotions expressed. V continues to urge his love to come back. There is a distance between them now, and it is not just a mental one but also a geographical one. Until the very last beat, V does not give up on his attempts to reconcile – “You went from my home too/It was nice to know you/And it breaks my heart/That we gave it our best shot”.
BTS V’s solo debut was undoubtedly one of the most anticipated music releases in the K-pop industry. Prior to this venture, V used to periodically put up alt pop and alt RnB tracks on the group’s Soundcloud channel. EP Layover reflects his signature artistry. He is known to speak a lot in a handful of words and we find the same style in his EP as well, especially the track ‘Blue’.
It is striking to note that by calling the EP as Layover, V signals that there will be an epilogue to the story. Terms like layover are used when one is traveling, usually by an airplane. Here, the term signifies the residual feelings and the anticipation of something new. A layover is a connecting point between the start and the end of a journey. Despite there being no start to this journey, we are thrust into the epicenter of a story about love, coping with its loss, finding oneself again, and coming to terms with one’s reality. Here in this EP, we don’t see how a relationship started or progressed, but we are presented directly with a picture after a separation.
Each member of BTS is synonymous with using imagery and symbolism found in our daily lives to express something deeper and significant and V carries the tradition ahead with his solo debut. It will be interesting to see what the next chapter in his solo journey brings forth. What are your thoughts on V’s “Layover”?
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