BTS’ RM released his first solo album Indigo, and it took the world by storm. I, being a fan of BTS and of RM specifically, was waiting eagerly for the release and I have many thoughts to share now that we have it.
From the onset, I must say that I greatly admire and respect RM, who I will also refer to as Namjoon. I think he is an incredible lyricist and an overall brilliant mind, so I can’t say that I am going into this without bias. He is my actual BTS bias. So take that how you will, but these are my opinions which I like to be as honest as possible with. With that, on to the takes.
Let’s talk about the album’s concept a bit. RM himself refers to Indigo as “the last archive of my twenties”, thus recounting the last almost decade of his life through music. And he definitely accomplished that, baring his soul to us listeners. Let’s go to the songs to see how.
Yun (with Erykah Badu)
I find Yun to be a great introduction to the album and the overall tone to expect. It is very Namjoon to have a song essentially inspired by the words of an artist speaking on philosophy. I will say that my appreciation of the song increased once I knew what the samples, which are excerpts from Yun Hyong Keun, were saying. it adds a depth of understanding that is necessary to fully appreciate RM’s work.
Still Life (with Anderson .Paak)
Still Life is my second favorite track on the album. While RM communicates many deep emotions and feelings throughout the album, and Still Life is no exception but on the positive end of the spectrum of feelings. The song is about moving forward in life, giving us a pleasant beat and a fun vibe to do so.
All Day (with Tablo)
Musically, this is one of my favorite songs on the album. I also enjoy how it reminds me of the topics early BTS would cover, but in a new way and sound. I’m also a sucker for callbacks and personal references, so the reference to BTS songs Dynamite and DNA is so good.
Forg_tful (with Kim Sawol)
I am not one that loves ballads, so I don’t gravitate towards songs like Forg_tful. It is still a beautiful and thoughtful song. When going through the lyrics and if you know even just RM’s age, you’ll see that this song is pandemic related and speaks of the feelings during that tumultuous time. The feelings of course go beyond that situation, but I personally can’t disconnect them and that may affect my opinion.
Closer (with Paul Blanco, Mahalia)
Namjoon is multilingual, and he said he wanted to utilize that in this album. This is the first of two English tracks. This song also marks a slight transition in the topics of RM’s music, now discussing relationships with others and the ultimate difficulty he experiences. It is one of the songs I find the most interesting because personal romantic relationships are not discussed in K-Pop almost at all. So this felt like a window into something we don’t see, which is very fitting for the concept of this album.
This song has grown on me with more listens, and it fits the topic flow of the album since it almost feels like it references the downfall of Closer’s relationship. I’ll admit that I haven’t gone out of my way to listen to this song specifically, really just letting it play when I have the whole album going.
The progression of songs is one part of the album I must praise, not only because of the sound but the topics like I have mentioned in the previous two songs. Progressing through the relationship songs into Lonely works, and the fact that Lonely isn’t necessarily about lacking a loved one, but the general loneliness he has felt during his career. Also, the fact that this is one of the only songs he does completely alone is just so fitting and makes me love Namjoon’s mind.
Hectic (with Colde)
In general, I enjoy the sound of the song and the overall vibe. This is probably the song I relate to the least since I haven’t had the same city experience having lived the majority of my life in a small town. So I enjoy the song conceptually and musically, but not as deeply as some of the other tracks.
Wild Flower (with youjeen)
Wild Flower is the official title track of the album, thus making it the first song I heard along with the absolutely stunning video. And I was honestly mesmerized, both by the visuals as well as the music. It is imperative that, if you don’t speak Korean, you find translations of these tracks so you can understand why all of the album, especially this track, is so impactful. Beyond the beauty is so much depth of emotion, and that is what makes Wild Flower particularly powerful.
This is, maybe obviously, my favorite track on the album. I could go on and on about my admiration for this song particularly, but that would defy the point of being a quick take.
No.2 (with parkjiyoon)
I will admit that I have mixed thoughts on this particular song. Part of me wishes that Wild Flower was the final song on the album, but that would end it all on a more negative note message was. There needs to be that seed of hope in the end, and that is what No.2 gives us. It has its purpose, and it is still a lovely song, but admittedly my love of Wild Flower wants that deep, emotional impact to be the last note.
I want to note that I’ve had a thought stuck in my head: Namjoon has not finished his twenties yet since he is currently 28 years old. And I consider this intentional since the last year of his twenties is likely going to be spent doing his mandatory enlistment. So it can be theorized that this album is a goodbye to not just his twenties, but to his fans for now. He tells us to listen to it when we take a walk or drive or when flowers bloom and fall, which also means when he isn’t with us directly. The album is a diary, a source of comfort and understanding, and a look into the mind of a human, just like you and me, with extreme circumstances.
Overall, I love the album. Something I never do is buy music digitally since I have Spotify Premium. But I bought Indigo to ensure I never lose the ability to listen to it. It’s in my top favorite albums of all time across all genres, that is how much I love it.
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