Hi! It’s Annie!
We all knew that when Namjoon released his new album it would be lyrically amazing and undeniably comforting. Namjoon seems to relish in the emotionally relatable, and his music is raw and real and makes everyone feel as if they are not alone. And I think we could all do with reminders like that, especially now. Namjoon packed every moment of this album with feeling and meaning. I don’t think you’ll ever find any kind of basic song without much meaning in the lyrics in a Namjoon album. Though that’s not necessarily bad; some musicians focus more on the sound than the lyrics. But Namjoon has said multiple times that he’s a poet and a lyricist first. So you aren’t going to find a song that only focuses on the sound and not the lyrics here. The album is also going viral because of how all of the people Namjoon collaborated on it talked about him in interviews afterwards. So I’m going to go through all of the specifics of the album, including songs and thoughts, and at least try to give back some of what Namjoon gave me through the release of this amazing album.
Yun (with Erykah Badu):
This piece has a funkier sound to it and is a perfect mix of Namjoon’s rapping style that is all his own and Erykah Badu’s unique singing style. It did not surprise me at all when Hobi announced that this was his favorite of the tracks on the album. The song itself talks about learning to be a human being before you are an artist or anything else. Namjoon talked about how this song encourages people to live life to have the experiences for creativity and was a lesson that he holds very dear to himself. I love that he’s sharing these life lessons from his twenties with us!
Still Life (with Anderson Paak):
This has a more hard hitting rap style and a more pop-like sound to it in general. Namjoon was cited at saying that he felt this song had a more western sound and would therefore be one of the most popular tracks in the states. Namjoon said that he wrote this song based off of the term “Still Life” that English speakers use to define paintings. He felt that this term was interesting and could apply to a wide array of things. Such as the fact that, like a painting, he is constantly observed. But like the objects portrayed in many Still Life paintings, he is very much alive and breathing and has a side that the observer does not see.
All Day (with TABLO):
This is more of a pure rap style piece and it is, once again, very hard hitting lyrically as well. The song is more about trying to find yourself in a society that tries to force you into a specific mold. The song also discusses living for yourself rather than others and even tells potential haters to turn away if they don’t want to observe your life. It’s an amazing take on individuality and the importance of self that we don’t often see anywhere. I also really appreciated how heartfelt this collaboration was between two friends who have experienced similar feelings.
Forg_tful (with Kim Sawol):
Namjoon really went all out on experimenting with all types of music genres in this album, and this piece specifically goes into an almost folk sound. This track also features Namjoon singing for pretty much all of this and his deeper register contrasts beautiful with the lighter more playful sound of Kim Sawol. This piece specifically has a very comforting sound to it and Namjoon said he wrote it because of his friends joking with him about his own forgetfulness. But the song mostly addresses how he isn’t able to do simple things he likes, like go to the park, because of his fame. It has a sad and warm feeling all at once.
Closer (with Paul Blanco and Mahalia):
This song was created by another team of writers who specifically had Namjoon in mind when they wrote the song and reached out to him. When he found the song to be right up his alley, it landed a place on this album. This is another one with a bit of a slower but funkier sound and it discusses wanting someone that feels unreachable. Namjoon turned the tables on fans by saying that he found the song personally relatable from an on stage perspective. He wants to date but finds other people so unreachable with his lifestyle. It’s not only fans who see idols this way, but a universally relatable thing with this business. Damn.
Change pt. 2:
This is another one really personal to Namjoon as it talks about how he has personally changed. He even condemns Wikipedia pages written about him or old interviews, because he is a person who, like everyone else, constantly changes. This has a more gritty feel to it than other tracks on the album and feels both cozy and serves as a reminder to fans that Namjoon is a person who changes. People constantly change especially throughout their twenties, and just because he said something in that one interview a while ago doesn’t mean that you can accept that totally as his current reality. Such as when people expressed disappointment when Namjoon said he didn’t want to have kids anymore. That doesn’t mean something happened to him to make him feel that. Sometimes, people just change.
What I love about lonely is that it has a weirdly comforting upbeat sound to it while having some of the saddest lyrics on the entire album. Namjoon said that he wrote this particular song when he was in Vegas and the members of BTS were attempting to cheer each other up while all feeling like they couldn’t leave their hotel rooms. Loneliness is a feeling that we all get, but Namjoon said he felt it so intensely then that he wanted to smash something. Hence why this song was created with so many expletives. He also expresses the feeling of wanting to be home, or somewhere familiar, and I think we all can relate to that at some point.
Hectic (with Colde):
Namjoon created this song because he really liked the English word “hectic” and how it gives a new and more dramatic feeling compared to just saying that you were busy. The song talks about his hectic life and how he can’t often find something to make the day feel meaningful for him, despite being busy during it. I have been feeling this way too hard at my part time job lately. The song has the kind of feeling that makes you think of a traveling scene in a movie. Seriously, this entire album could be a soundtrack for something. It has that type of beautiful and comforting music.
Wild Flower (with Youjeen) and MV:
This is probably my favorite song on this album (I’m going to get back to that later) and Namjoon said that this is currently the most meaningful song on the album for him personally. The song itself talks about how he sees himself versus how the world sees him and how he crumbles underneath that. If that didn’t make sense for ARMY already, in the MV he compares the purple ocean at their concerts to a flower field. This comparison shows how the fame can be overwhelming to him and how in his heart he just wants to be as natural as he possibly can be. The MV has the comforting wildflower field, as well as an anxiety inducing storm, all leading to the concert arena that even made me overwhelmed just watching the MV. It’s beautiful and terrible and completely raw at the same time. The vocals from Youjeen pierce my heart every time I hear the song. It made me cry the first time I heard it because it was so raw. Namjoon said that he didn’t think this song would be for everyone because it was so raw, but I think that’s what makes it even more relatable. Both Hobi and Namjoon now have songs released about how their fame has been negatively affecting them. This is not something we can just ignore.
No. 2 (with Park Jiyun):
This is named the way it is because Namjoon views this song as the beginning of his second chapter after his twenties. This is another relatable song, because it addresses a fear that everyone has had at least once. Namjoon worries about his past self and the fact that he may have regrets and this is mixed with the sweet singing, comfortingly telling the audience and the artists themselves not to look back. This feels like a rainy day song and the fact that it refers to the listener as “dear” while instilling the lesson that you shouldn’t look back makes it feel like a hug. Especially if you’re like me who has constantly been looking back recently. I needed this reminder, and I’m so grateful to Namjoon for giving all of us one.
I think we all need to talk about the way the artists who collaborated with Namjoon on pieces talked about him. They all described him as a very sincere, determined, and humble person to work with. He has clear ideas but was always open to feedback and seemed to have very sincere conversations with all of the artists about the feelings attached to each song. This is definitely something that has been in the making for years. Namjoon said that he wrote some of these songs at very different times during his twenties. This album is very personal to Namjoon and with how relatable he wanted this piece to be, it will definitely become very personal to plenty of others who listen to it.
Ok, so I unfortunately want to address this because it came up specifically surrounding this album. But it comes up with anything BTS does now. It’s become a trend on TikTok to judge people for liking certain songs in an artist’s discography. With BTS, this started with the very innocent and understandable want to push people to listen to BTS’s Korean music and not just the music they released in English. It is always very disappointing that some people won’t give BTS the time of day if they aren’t speaking or singing in English. There’s something that feels pretty racist about that. Other people have taken this understandable movement and are now using it for the purpose of showing uncertainty for people when they express that their favorite song on an album, any album, is the promoted song. I’ve already seen people make TikToks judging people for saying that their favorite song on this album is “Wild Flower”. Considering Namjoon chose this as the main song for a reason and has even said that it is his own current favorite, I really don’t understand where these people are coming from. Yes, give the entire album a listen! But “Wild Flower” is a gorgeous song that hits really hard. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wrong for having the same favorite song as the literal creator of the album.
This album is so good and I feel like Namjoon’s solo projects always come during a time when I need them the most. I was having a really awful week when this album released, and it felt like a genuine warm hug from Namjoon. His lyrics make me feel like I’m not alone and give me so much comfort that I will never be able to describe how much it means to me. This album is full of important lessons, raw emotions, and comforting words. It’s like a breath of fresh air after being in a cramped place for too long. Once again, Namjoon has created something brilliant. This is an album I will cry to in the future.
See you across the pond!