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Review : RM's "Indigo"

RM Indigo Album Cover
BIGHIT Music via Spotify

By Kya Brogdon | 9 December, 2022

After much anticipation, BTS’s leader Kim Namjoon - who goes by the stage name RM - has finally released his debut studio album titled Indigo.

A culmination of the journey he’s been on in his twenties, Namjoon explores the depths of uncertainty the future tends to hold and expresses his own insecurities at the thought of change and growth. Since his debut, he’s been known for his openness and willingness to share his vulnerability with his fans, and this album is no different. To shed more light on Indigo and his journey to get here, Namjoon and fellow member Suga (Min Yoongi) joined forces on a talk-show-style set up called Suchwita.

While Indigo might be a reflection of Namjoon’s twenties, I think it’s also a portfolio showing Namjoon’s growth as a writer and musician. His wordplay and meaningful lyrics have always been iconic, but this body of work shows how he has continued to learn and evolve his style with every song he writes; both in his writing and in the musical styling he chooses to explore. Indigo spans multiple genres within its 10-song line-up, from R&B to rock with neo-soul and folk in between, along with a star-studded list of featured artists from the likes of Anderson .Paak to Colde. The amount of time and preparation needed to create this album is obvious, and each song is elevated even more because of it.

The first song that stuck out to me even before the album was released is “All Day (with Tablo).” After following both BTS and Epik High for a while, I have been waiting for the day a collaboration with Namjoon and Tablo would be finally released - and my expectations were well exceeded. The upbeat R&B type melody fits well with Epik High’s discography and accentuates Namjoon’s rap style as well. Namjoon’s vocals used in the chorus add another level of depth and exploration to a new aspect of the rapper’s talents, while also creating an iconic hook to an already iconic collab. In the ending bridge, Namjoon makes a reference to Epik High’s song “Fly” (one of my favorite Epik High songs, I still rewatch the video I took of that performance from when I saw them back in April), saying “잔인한 세상이 오 너를 비웃는 것 같을 때 / 세상이 뭐라고 말해도 우린 날아오르네” (translation: “When it feels like the merciless world is laughing at you, oh / Whatever the world says, we fly high up”). Whatever I need to pay to see this song performed live, I’ll do it no questions asked.

Another one of my immediate favorites is “Closer (with Paul Blanco, Mahalia).” With two features on one song, it can be easy to get overwhelmed with the different voices and changes in sound - but this song doesn’t succumb to that fate. The raspiness found in both Namjoon and Paul Balnco’s verses is balanced out with the alluringness of Mahalia’s vocals in the chorus. The yearning is palpable in the entirety of the songs’ production, from the melody to the lyrics and all the little adlibs in between, but it’s summed up very succinctly in the beginning of Namjoon’s second verse, “I keep you right next to me / Only just in my dream / I see you in red, blue, green / Don't wake me up from sleep.

While this entire album is filled with diamonds, the best song, in my opinion, comes in the form of the title track, “Wild Flower (with youjeen).”

This song has been stuck in my head since the moment I heard it. Even as I was listening to the album for the second time, I was humming the melody under my breath. The raw emotion and heartache were so obvious even before I got a chance to read the lyric translations, and I knew immediately this was going to be my favorite song on the album. Cho Youjeen’s powerful rock vocaltone is an absolutely stellar fit for the chorus. She had me shout-singing right along with her even though I don’t know all of the words yet. I can hardly pinpoint a favorite part of the song because from beginning to end everything about it is just incredible, but if I had to choose it would be lyrics from the beginning and ending verse, “당신의 마음이 당신을 넘볼 때 / 꿈이 나를 집어삼킬 때 / 내가 내가 아닐 때” (translation: When your own heart underestimates you / When your dreams devour you / When you feel you’re not yourself”). Even though the words themselves are sad, the message of not being alone in those times is comforting.

Overall, as expected, Namjoon absolutely knocked it out of the park with this album. As someone who has spent my twenties with him and BTS, and someone who has my own fair share of uneasiness about the future, this album feels like it was handwritten and delivered directly to me as a guide for the uncertain times and as a shoulder to lean on when things seem too bleak. For anyone familiar with Namjoon’s past solo work, Indigo feels like the perfect 3rd installment in the triad, and just like his mixtape, Mono, I can easily see Indigo becoming another go-to album to listen to when I need a message of hope and comfort.


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