BTS’ leader RM releases his first solo album ‘Indigo’. Reminiscent of a forest with a hue of ‘Indigo’ settled within its trees, RM presents a vivid accumulation of lessons learnt, artistic prowess and a mature outlook on ageing.
With his new album RM demonstrates a sense of growth. Weaving throughout each track, RM feels vividly present. Through the inclusion of art combined with the presence of an interpretation of nature, ‘Indigo’ feels calming, relatable and fresh. The album is a record of RM’s 20s, a more candid representation of an artist that millions already admire. ‘Indigo’ reflects a change in perspective, how mundane thinking such as taste and thoughts drift as time progresses. In a similar vein, ‘Indigo’ represents a brighter outlook than RM’s previous releases. His 2018 mixtape ‘mono’ was enveloped within black and white, yet with Indigo his intentions gear more towards his consciousness surrounding nature creating a brighter overtone.
Opening with ‘Yun’ featuring Erykah Badu, RM immediately calls for a re-consideration of his previous connotations. A silky piano glides over a skipping bass whilst being held up by a lo-fi drum beat. Stirring underneath is the voice of Yun Hyong-keun, a Korean painter who RM noted as his favourite artist and inspiration for this song. The added voice sample focuses the track, introducing the artistic inspirations on the album. “Fuck the trendsetter” begins RM, a bold statement unheard by the rapper who usually appears within the space of the world’s biggest boyband. Notably the track includes the lyric: “I wanna be a human ‘fore I do some art…” Referencing one of Yun Hyong-keun’s sayings, RM reflects on the thoughts and feelings that have stirred within him due to the artist’s paintings, comparing his own line of work in tangent to his inspiration’s paintings.
RM’s choice of collaborators on ‘Indigo’ feels meticulous. Each track works within the featured artists confines. On ‘Still Alive’ Anderson .Paak delivers a funk-filled track featuring delightful adlibs and inspiring interpretations of life. Epik High member Tablo, provides a fun verse on an already classically pop track. ‘Closer’ features an unheard combination of Paul Blanco and Mahalia which ends up being a delicate longing for love.
Despite having an overall lightness in terms of the album’s sound, RM briefly swerves into an electro-rap lane with ‘Change Pt. 2’. With a light whisper RM announces “things change, people change, everything changes” before an electronic screech interrupts a trap beat. The break in sound feels representative of the unexpected curves within life. The interlude appears reminiscent of some of RM’s previous releases, particularly his 2017 track ‘Change’ which challenged issues facing both the West and East at the time. ‘Indigo’ ends with ‘Wild Flower’ and ‘No.2’, both gentle in sound yet their message protruding. ‘Wild Flower’ reiterates RM’s draw to nature and utilising metaphors to grasp his success and where that places him as an individual. ‘No.2’ appears to be a letter to himself, reminding him to be kind, to not look back on the past and instead focus on what’s to come.
‘Indigo’ has redefined previous interpretations of RM. Not entirely separating him from his position within BTS, but instead presenting him as an individual artist. ‘Indigo’ gave us the chance to witness the inner thoughts of RM, his likes, his inspirations, what he has carried with him throughout his journey as an artist. In terms of the album’s sound, it settled with more mainstream pop, yet tracks such as ‘Yun’ and ‘Forg_tful’ felt sincere. ‘Indigo’ is a charming look into the mentality of a global superstar.
Words: Abbie Aitken