It has been a long time coming, but here are my thoughts on RM’s solo debut album. Released at the start of December 2022, Indigo follows the releases of mixtapes from RM back in 2015 (titled RM) and 2018 (titled Mono). It features 10 tracks in total, including Wild Flower and Still Life that I had already reviewed separately in their respective song review posts (links to both are below). The album itself is collaboration galore, with RM seeking the assistance of Erykah Badu, Anderson Paak, Tablo (from Epik High), Kim Sa Wol, Paul Blanco, Mahalia, Colde, Youjeen (from Cherry Filter) and Park Ji Yoon to tell some very deep and powerful messages in the songs that feature on the album. I think that pretty much says it all – Indigo is such an artistic and aesthetic album that explores so much in terms of lyrics, genres (though all come back to hip-hop in one form or another) and featuring artists. This is without a doubt a recommended listen.
Also, as I have previously mentioned time and time again in recent days, this will be the final album released in 2022 in which I will cover. Later this month, I will be turning my head towards the 2023 albums, which reviews are very much long overdue. But until then, here is what I have to say about Indigo.
1. Yun (with Erykah Badu) – Opening up the album is the single Yun. It explores a very chill, jazzy form of R&B. This track is stunningly smooth and I really enjoyed the glow that comes from the song. Alongside RM, Yun features the late Yun Hyong-keun as the narrator who we can hear at the start and end of the track. The song is also titled after him and whom RM draws inspiration from for this track, which explores the idea of going back to his younger days to rediscover his passion for music and art. Yun also features the Queen of Neo Soul, Erykah Badu, whom I understand does not collaborate with just anyone. Her vocals oozes so much charisma, as does RM in this song. (9/10)
2. Still Life (with Anderson .Paak) – Click here to read the full review for Still Life. (9/10)
3. All Day (with Tablo) – All Day packs a punch with its instrumentation. I always end up feeling the beat and head-nodding along to the song every time it comes on. I really liked the vibrancy of the song, with the beat and brass adding a liveliness to the song that feels super invigorating. The backing vocals in the chorus also have a similar effect. This alone makes the song one of my favourites from the album. All Day features the leader of Epik High, Tablo, who delivers his part with the same vigor as RM did in the song. The pair are super balanced and make an impact with their statement of fighting social pressures ‘all day’. (10/10)
4. Forg_tful (건망증) (with Kim Sa-wol) – RM trades in rapping for breathy vocals in Forg_tful, a ballad simply instrumented by an acoustic guitar. Folksy whistle also makes an appears, just to give the song just that something bit more. Just like every other ballad I have enjoyed during my time reviewing KPOP songs, the melody of Forg_tful has this subtle swaying effect, which already tells me that it is going to be success in my books. The song features folk singer Kim Sa-wol, who just has a beautifully delicate set of vocals. I really liked how RM bent his delivery to ensure it fits alongside Kim Sa-wol’s vocals, making Forg_tful quite a harmonious track. (8/10)
5. Closer (with Paul Blanco & Mahalia) – Closer speaks towards the idea of wanting to be closer to someone who just isn’t the right person. The track comes in the form of an alternative R&B song which features the likes of Paul Blanco and Mahalia, who both sound great in the song. It took me a while to get into the song, unfortunately. Just because it feels plainer than the rest of the album. But once I did get there, it was such a nice track to have in the background. (7/10)
6. Change Pt. 2 – So far, the album has been quite heavy with featurings from other artists (and there are more to come!). But we finally hit the two solo tracks from RM himself. The first is Change Pt. 2, which is quite a unique textural change-up. It is an experimental track that kicks off with quite an abrasive and crunchy set of synths and electronica that was very much unexpected. This transforms into a jazzy piano number, before slowing down completely at the end. The experimental nature of Change Pt. 2 continues through RM’s slurred delivery. There is definitely charm to delivering the track this way and it is quite artistic. But it is quite overwhelmed when paired with the boldness of the Change’s instrumentation. Overall, quite a surprise. But one that I do like. (8.5/10)
7. Lonely – Lonely is quite an enjoyable pop number instrumentally, with the guitar work being such a prominent feature of the song’s background. The powerful nature of the pre-choruses was quite an impactful sequence and I liked how RM effortlessly switch back to the pop vibes for the chorus. RM’s vocals are amazing and well appreciated in this song. However, don’t let Lonely mislead you. Despite it being of pop vibes, the lyrics are quite pessimistic and weighty on the topic of loneliness. Altogether, it creates an interesting atmosphere, which makes it a favourite in my books. (10/10)
8. Hectic (with Colde) – The city pop instrumentation that features in Hectic is my favourite aspect of the song. The beat is quite addictive, and paired with the synths, Hectic just takes on a groovy undertone. I also enjoyed both RM and Colde’s husky vocal tone, which was another highlight of the track. Another strong track that shows off RM’s versatility and Colde’s appeal. (10/10)
9. Wild Flower (들꽃놀이) (with Youjeen) (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review of Wild Flower. (10/10)
10. No.2 (with Park Ji Yoon) – Ending the album is the more positive No.2, which speaks of looking forward (rather than backwards). It is quite a comforting track, especially since the lyrics feature the line “You’ve done your best”. Park Ji Yoon’s nasally vocals shine in this song for me, while RM himself ensure the song stayed grounded. It is a nice closer to the album, and a nice ‘change of tune’ after the exploration of the heavy and deep messages that RM features on the album. (9/10)
One thought on “[Album Review] Indigo (1st Studio Album) – RM (BTS)”
YES! This album is really, really good, RM has that natural songwriting panache which makes his albums amazing. Mono is still my favorite all these years later.
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