Pitter-patter, go the raindrops on the window sill. You’re indoors on a chilly day out, engulfed in a warm blanket, hot cuppa in hand. With its opening track titled ‘Rainy Days’, perhaps that’s the exact mood which Kim Tae-hyung, better known as V of BTS, whims at encapsulating within Layover: the six-track EP album which he’s most recently dropped. As the final member of the septet to release music on his own, expectations have no doubt been high for the 27-year-old’s solo venture. And it’s every bit the comforting, romantic and floaty package we were hoping for. After numerous listens to the full album start-to-end, we’ve arrived at a couple of main takeaways for V’s Layover.
It’s important you listen to the album exactly as it was designed
Whilst many artists put in a great deal of thought into the order of their songs within each album, it doesn’t always mean it translates in kind for the listener. Yet in V’s case, everything seems to fit together perfectly—like puzzle pieces that have easily found their way to one another. Each transition into the next song syncs up beautifully even for anyone who prefers to hit the shuffle button on everything. The one between ‘Blue’ and ‘Love Me Again’ will prove this point poignantly.
Hold on, there’s a music video for every song?
Earlier in August, we were graced with two music video drops within the span of a week: one for ‘Love Me Again’ and ‘Rainy Days’. We got the teasers for ‘Blue’ in between then and now, and as of today, the EP’s release was accompanied by a visual accompaniment for ‘Slow Dancing’. With executive producer Min Hee-jin—also known as CEO of ADOR, the sub-label behind the infectious quintet that is NewJeans—on top of things, it seems she’s certainly got her eyes on the prize. And if that means five music videos for all five songs (the sixth track is a piano version of ‘Slow Dancing’), then to say that she’s upping the ante for K-pop productions is already beyond question.
Oh, how V’s voice has grown
‘Sweet Night’ and ‘Christmas Tree’ walked so the entirety of Layover could run. This was already hinted at when V dropped ‘Love Me Again’, but if you’re well-acquainted with the BTS member, then you’ll probably notice how much his voice has evolved too. It’s both gentle yet strong; the slow, seductive track sits as a smooth showcase of this newfound control that he clearly wields over his signature baritone sound now.
Layover is a reflection of the romantic that he is
A closer glean of the lyrics will grant you this knowledge; V is designed exactly like his album is—warm, romantic and nostalgic. From ‘Rainy Days’ to ‘Slow Dancing’, much of the worded material exudes a longing for the past, be it for an ex-lover or the singer’s days of youth. And it’s only a consequence of how well he’s melded his old school musical influences into one: a splash of ‘70s soul, merry doses of classic R&B tones and distinctive inflections of jazz. Perhaps the opening lyrics in the epilogue of the album, ‘For Us’, encapsulates his sentiments best: “You went from my home to ‘It was nice to know you’/And it breaks my heart.”
It’s like you can see the entire album come to life
The relaxed, lilting mood you get from listening to Layover is a result of a soundscape so wonderfully choreographed together—so much so that you can visualise everything in your head. He playfully infuses sounds that cast an image in your head when brought together; be it via his nature-inflected titles or the way he varies his voice tones.
With ‘Rainy Days’ for one, you get the sound of rain and a ton of everyday white noises which you would hear every other day, such as the recognisable tone of a message ping coming through on your mobile phone. Altogether, it’s a brilliant case of how V manages to paint a masterful picture through his music, creating that mood which lingers long into the night.