Taehyung’s ‘Layover’ mesmerises in whimsically rhythmic waves
If I were to be unabashedly honest, then I would have to admit that even as a 15-year-old, back in the day, I couldn't really grasp the notion of having one ultimate artiste as my favourite singer. I would definitely notice my friends being completely enthralled by their respective favourites, so I surrendered to believing that I'll never really be able to claim a specific singer as my go-to. At that age, I really thought that it was too late for me to determine my 'stan'. After all, how could I decide upon a matter that simply never felt special to me?
It wasn't until six to seven years ago that I happened to casually look up BTS, to finally find myself artistes worth losing my sanity over. I hadn't only discovered one but seven unmistakably diverse musicians with equally varied tastes in music. Members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook made me realise why it was so easy and intrinsic for people to get overwhelmed by their favoured singers.
BTS might have had to work on music as a unit from their onset, but they were actually rather vocal about their personal musical preferences. Whenever they would recommend new music from artistes worldwide, their respective inclinations became somewhat bare as well.
Now that all the members are focusing on their solo projects, it was not surprising to see most of them handpicking genres that basically define their individual personalities. V, aka Kim Taehyung (his Korean name) was the latest member to have finally released his much-anticipated solo album "Layover" in the first week of September. He distinctly possesses a deep and husky singing voice, more popularly known as the baritone vocal range. His personality is of the leisurely type which in hindsight makes him move and thrive at his pace. He is one to never compromise with his likes which is why he easily confessed at Suga's show "Suchwita", that he would not have released the album had he not approved of all the songs.
He is an embodiment of romanticism, thus making it extremely normal for people, unaware and otherwise, to call him romantic. Taehyung could find the most mundane things beautiful, all by himself. He had several gorgeous solo songs under his belt prior to releasing his solo album, "Layover". Songs like "Winter Bear", "Scenery", "Singularity", "4 O'clock" and "Inner Child" reflected the promise of the ranges his voice can encapsulate. He also lent his voice to original soundtracks of K-drama namely, "Sweet Night", "Christmas Tree" and "It's Definitely You".
These songs gave V and his voice more depth – outside the spectrum of his range as a BTS member. For his solo album, V then went on to appoint Min Hee-jin, creative director of NewJeans, as the producer. Best known for his whimsical personality, V ultimately consented to an album that truly feels like a kaleidoscope of the most relaxing and luxurious whims. The album can be played when one wants to feel feather-light and carefree and it most certainly fits the bill of being enjoyed when one wants to go out for a long drive. It has the ability to deliberately draw a person out of a strained mood.
The album comprises a total of five new songs and an additional piano version of the fourth track. He also managed to film five separate music videos for each of the new releases saying, "I had particular visions on my mind regarding each of the songs."
To convey the tone of the album, V chose "Rainy Days" as the first track. As per the name, the track delivers variations of sentiments one can experience whilst reminiscing about good days spent with a beloved – during a dreary, rainy day. The music video shows how V would usually spend a leisurely rain-brimmed day on his own. He performs his daily chores as the music cascades effortlessly into the background. However, the whole video is filmed beautifully with the hues of a drizzly day, imprinted on every shot. The song is soothing and the lyrics convey how a subject or protagonist misses their partner, and wishes they could get back together with the lyric, "Don't tell me it's over. We can start it over."
The second song, "Blue", emanates beguiling waves of 'feeling blue'. Now, the colour blue is normally associated with sadness. The colours green, yellow and red are also mentioned, to underscore the significance of their respective ranges of emotions. The lyrics, "On and on and on and my love, on and on and on, can we go?" create a repetitive pattern throughout the song to express how the subject wants to ardently pacify a beloved who is lingering around the feelings associated with unhappiness. Contrary to the colors used in the lyrics, the music video is filmed entirely in black and white where V, dressed in an outspoken leather jacket, drives to an apartment building to look for a particular person. He keeps on looking for a door key under plant containers until he stops to realise that the person does not want to be found.
The third song, "Love Me Again", is the point where the protagonist is determined to spell out their exact wish using succinct lyrics. The lines, "I wish you would love me again. No, I don't want nobody else. I wish you could love me again, again," speak for the entire song with jazzy effervescence. In the music video, V is seen singing this song on a microphone in a dungeon-esque place. The location, devoid of people, has shimmering disco lights ricocheting off of his visage and golden turtleneck. The song flawlessly exhumes his ocean-deep voice at perfect junctures. The message of the song is glamorously packaged in a pulsating R&B and Soul genre.
"Slow Dancing" is placed in the fourth position, but it is the most promoted of the album. This song has the ability to invoke the picture of sandy beaches, against the calming breeze of a cool late afternoon sky. The melody actually manages to flee illustrating a sunny beach in your mind! The music of it is entrancing. The harmonising symphony of flutes in the song makes it a jazzy listen. The rhythms flow like the refreshing gust of fresh winds as if swaying in a trance. The lyrics convey V trying to win over his partner after a possible fidgety situation between them. The music video could signify the type of romanticism V is into as he cooks up moments of pleasantries both through his art projects and his imagination.
The last track, "For Us", is where the protagonist accepts that the partner they wanted to get back to, will never accept them back. They promise that they will still continue waiting, nevertheless. California is mentioned in the lyrics as a possible meeting point for them but the lines, "It was nice to know you. And it breaks my heart. That we gave it our best shot," describe this last song. The music video is a compilation of the behind-the-scenes footage of the four aforementioned songs. This is the softest soundtrack of the lot and it has piano work woven beautifully and intrinsically into it. The hefty drops at the end of a few melodies create an intense effect for listeners. The song sounds like a heartfelt goodbye and the calming tone of that au revoir sounds sincere yet melancholic.
The album is a combination of pop, jazz, contemporary R&B and soul genres. The songs "Slow Dancing" and "For Us" fall on the shorter side in terms of length but that is to be expected from V. I suppose, this is due to the fact that he has the knack for abruptly exhibiting the most beautiful short compositions randomly via his social media accounts. Overall, the album alludes to him and his preferences. He remains true to himself, which in itself is a form of uncompromising challenge. Catering to genres he has yet to touch could be another challenge that would be fun to venture, alongside him, in the future.