- ASSOCIATED PRESS
BTS Baritone V Makes a Smooth Alt-R&B Landing on ‘Layover,’ His First Solo Album
17:52 JST, September 11, 2023
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lot can go wrong when a performer endeavors outside of the group that made their career. In the case of BTS baritone V, a lot can go right, as well.
Layover, the first solo album from V, is moody, smooth alt-R&B, a collection of songs that feels true to the performer — and offers a glimpse into his oft-considered mysterious interiority.
First came the two singles, the bilingual “Love Me Again” and “Rainy Days” — the former, languid pop with V’s voice high in the mix, the latter, a syrupy, lo-fi post-breakup ballad. “Blue” and “For Us” connect the two. “Slow Dancing” is a standout, with its impromptu flute solo at the song’s coda.
Layover is V’s first solo album, but BTS ARMY know this is in no way his first solo experience: he’s released a few with the band, including 2016’s “Stigma” and 2020’s “Inner Child.”
But it is “Singularity,” V’s opening cut from BTS’s 2018 album “Love Yourself: Tear,” that stands out. “The illusions that torture me are still the same,” V sings. “Did I lose myself, or did I gain you?”
At the time, critics theorized that V was referencing the Greek myth of Narcissus — it certainly wouldn’t be the first time this K-pop group pulled out an academic reference point — but all seemed to agree that when given the opportunity to perform on his own, V has a particular musical magic, a kind of soulful, sensual approach to R&B. Where harmonies dominate, his husky tone cuts through, demanding attention. In that way, “Singularity” is the antecedent of “Layover.”
Historically, when an artist goes solo, it is symbolic of a new chapter. Maybe it’s a boy band member leaving to become a man-musician, individuating beyond the support network that built them, not unlike a child leaving home in young adulthood. Maybe it’s a cry for creative freedom — to no longer feel their identity is tied to their fellow performers.
But the members of BTS, history-makers and record-breakers that they are, offer an alternative. They’re not on hiatus; nor have they broken up. While its seven members take turns fulfilling South Korea’s mandatory military service ( Jin and J-hope have enlisted; Suga has begun the process ) the others will release their own individual records, allowing fans to spend more time with them in the process.
In the case of V, it’s an opportunity to experiment — and it’s yielding great results.
"NEWS SERVICES" POPULAR ARTICLE
Japanese Actor-Director Kitano Says His New Film Explores Homosexual Relations in the Samurai World
Japan’s Nintendo Profits Jump as Its Game Sales Get a Boost from the Hit Super Mario Movie
Japan’s Nikkei Pares Early Gains as Investors Lock in Profits
Japan’s Nikkei Inches Down as Automakers Skid on Yen Strength
Israel Searches for Traces of Hamas in Raid of Key Gaza Hospital Packed with Patients
JN ACCESS RANKING
- BOJ Ueda: Japan Increasingly Likely to Hit Inflation Target
- Exports of Nishikigoi Carp to China Halted; Permits for Japanese Aquaculture Facilities By China Have Expired
- Japan April-Sept. Current Account Surplus Hits Record High
- Food, Beverage Price Hikes Show Signs of Easing; Fuel Prices, Consumer Frugality Slowing Down Price Rises
- Japan 2023 Food Exports Reach 1 Tril. Yen at Record Pace