mono. Album Cover
RM’s mono.. Quite honestly, this is the perfect soundtrack for the fall season. If you’re into super chill music with introspective lyrics, then this is the album for you.
On October 23rd, the leader and main rapper from the most well-known Korean pop group in the world (BTS), RM, released his second mixtape (which he calls a playlist instead), entitled mono.. His stage name, RM, is an adaptation of his former name “Rap Monster” and also a play on his own personal definition of “Real Me”. His real name is Kim Namjoon. Within the K-pop realm, it is uncommon for musicians to take such a heavy role in the production aspect of their sound, making RM and BTS all the more unique. RM is responsible for the entire composition, lyricism, rap & vocal arrangement, and recording of this entire EP. With the release of this album, he has made sure to make it extremely accessible for all listeners. While offering it for sale on Apple Music, the artist has also made it available on various other free streaming services such as Spotify and Soundcloud. He has also made it available for free download by means of Google Drive, Mediafire, Dropbox.
Although RM has accomplished some incredible feats as being part of his legendary group, with this album he has solidified his individual talent once more. mono. was the only album to have beat out Lady Gaga’s 23-day streak at the top of the iTunes Worldwide Albums Chart, and he maintained the title for 5 days. Making him the only and the highest charting Korean solo act to date. In turn, he beat out his own member’s, J-Hope, previously set score after the release of his March 1st mixtape, Hope World. During the peak of this release, RM also managed to snag several spots on Twitter’s worldwide trends a few tens of times.
Now all of this recognition isn’t for naught. Let’s take a deeper look into RM’s mono..
Earlier within the article, I mentioned that the album is perfect for the fall weather. The reason I say this is because of the sounds of the album. RM has nailed down a very chill sound, the songs are soothing and comforting, with the genres ranging between a soft mix of electronic, indie, and R&B. RM’s typical sound usually comprises of fast spitfire rapping and powerful attacks. However, the versatile musician has also mastered the art of slowing it all way down. Along with being a strong performer and producer, RM is also a talented lyricist and this is prominent throughout this record. It truly wouldn’t be a song written by Kim Namjoon if it didn’t have either a poetic and tragic reference to failed love, the questioning of one’s own existence, or touch upon the raw feelings of stress and depression. On the day of the album release, he shared an amazing animated music video for his song, “Forever Rain”. Some of the opening lyrics from the track are,
“I wish it rains all day. Cuz I’d like someone to cry for me. I wish it rains all day. Cuz then people wouldn’t stare at me. Cuz the umbrella would cover the sad face. Cuz in the rain people are busy minding themselves. Gonna breathe a little slower. Cuz my life and my rap, they’re usually too fast.”
While the artist is referencing to his busy and hectic lifestyle as a popular musician, the way in which RM has composed his lyrics have made it extremely relatable to many who hear them. Thus, inciting a feeling of familiarity and empathy within his audience.
Furthermore, the artist continues to explore and discuss this theme of sadness and even touches upon feelings of inadequacy/incompletion as well as questioning himself in the track “Uhgood”. With lyrics like,
“All I need is me. I know, I know. But why do I feel lonely? I feel so lonely when I’m with me… But I can’t give up on the me that you know. I can’t let go of the me you know… My ideals and reality, so very far. But still, after crossing that bridge, the real you, the real me.”
Once again, with just a few simple words, RM has encapsulated a plethora of deeper emotions. Kim Namjoon appears to have not often strayed away from expressing touchy subjects and is constantly showing listeners a look into his various unembellished facets. To the top of the charts, he has brought with him a sense of authenticity. He doesn’t necessarily have a clear-cut definition of who he is, but what he does have is sincerity on where he lies in the journey of figuring himself out. In having genuineness, many people can identify with his struggles and that partially explains the massive following the artist has and will continue to gain.
A day after the album dropped, he released a lyric video for the track “Seoul”, where the director, Lumpens (who BTS regularly collaborates with) and his production team took some beautiful shots of the city. The track was also co-produced by the English electronic duo Honne.
Lastly, RM seems to lighten the mood a bit with the track “Moonchild”, in which he also released another visually stunning (and if you’re deep into the fandom, dare I say, cryptic?) lyric video. The artist somewhat suggests that sometimes we are just forced into hardships, but it is up to oneself to try to make the most of it. He also provides comfort to the empathic listener by providing support for them with lyrics like,
“You and my life is like this. We gotta dance in the rain, dance in the pain, even though we crash down, we gon dance in the plane… It’s okay to shed the tears but don’t you tear yourself. Moonchild, you shine. When moon rise, it’s your time.”
If you want to listen to the entire album as soon as possible, here it is for your listening pleasure.
Just in case you couldn’t get enough (cause I know I can’t), the artist RM was recently featured last week along with bandmates, Jungkook and Jimin on a track by the world-renowned EDM producer and personal friend of BTS, Steve Aoki. The track is titled “Waste it on Me” and was released in anticipation for Aoki’s next studio album set to release on November 9th. Aoki stated that his goal was to hit number one and he did, just four hours after the release of the track! This signifies his first No. 1 US track as well as his first No. 1 Worldwide iTunes single. Needless to say, the EDM superstar was ecstatic.
Being an active listener and diehard fan myself, I personally can’t wait to see what Namjoon and the rest of the boys surprise us with next.
If you want to find out more about BTS and RM, make sure to check them out here at their social media links. It is also important to note that the boys have been the recipients of the Billboard Music Award for Top Social Artist for two years in a row, thus confirming that their online presence is the real deal.
Make sure to especially check out the band’s shared twitter. RM regularly posts and even has special hashtags such as #김데일리 (#KimDaily) where he posts his outfits of the day, as well as #RMusic where he shares and suggests his latest musical obsessions.
Album Rating: 8/10