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BTS’s V’s debut solo album tells a jazzy story of lost love

KOREA Dispatch | Wikimedia Commons

Kim Taehyung, best known for his decade-long career as a member of K-pop group BTS, has established his own identity as a singer-songwriter and composer on his first debut solo album “Layover.”

After its release, he has become the first solo artist ever to sell 2 million copies of a single album in one day, according to Korean music charting system Hanteo.

Taehyung released the album under the pseudonym “V” on Sept. 8. The album consists of six songs– “Rainy Days,” “Blue,” “Love Me Again,” “Slow Dancing,” “For Us” and an alternate piano version of “Slow Dancing.”

“Layover” is a soft, moody and smooth album that relies on a mixture of R&B, jazz, soul and pop. V expresses themes of love, heartbreak and intimacy with the control of his baritone pitch guiding listeners along the journey.

“Rainy Days” starts with a jazz piano melody accompanied by unique modern drum sounds harmonizing both vintage and modern production leaving listeners guessing momentarily if it’s 2023 or 1923 until the intro inserts ambient noises of modern life.

The opening track evokes nostalgia by including the classic jazz sound with a modern twist accenting the lyrics of reminiscing about lost love.

“Blue” blends the singer’s soulful voice with old-school R&B and modern lo-fi effects on the backing track. “Blue” continues the motif between the past and present, as well as the desire to rekindle a faded romance.

The refrain “on and on and on” proposes hope for continuing the relationship. The repeated mention of “blue” throughout the song emphasizes the intensity of V’s persistent emotions.

“Love Me Again” is a melancholic post-breakup R&B ballad; it is one of the more intimate songs on the album. As V rehearses a conversation with his ex-lover in his head, he says, “is that all you have to say /one word, that’s it?”

The song’s music video takes place in a dark cave scenery that symbolizes V’s profound longing.  The cave echoes V’s confession “Put it all out there / I think about you all the time.”  “Slow Dancing” is the album’s highlight and features a simple upbeat jazz sample that creates a serene ambiance. The tranquil instrumental ties into the lyrics, as the narrator acknowledges his desire for clarity.

“It’s about time we get it straight/ Gimme a minute if it ain’t too late,” he sings. The upbeat accompaniment symbolizes a yearning for presence and a genuine connection without pain.

“For Us” is an interesting contrast to the rest of this album, as it is the only song “stuck” in the past. The closing track calls back on velvety ’70s soul with its utilization of synth pads and lively piano. The lyrics serve as a heartfelt ode to a past love. The narrator is stuck with strong feelings for their ex.

“Layover” is a cohesive album both lyrically and instrumentally. It craftily tells a conceptualized narrative from beginning through end.

Taehyung creates a mellow environment with his vocals guiding the audience through themes of lost love, nostalgia and youth.

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