Debuting as a soloist can be daunting, especially after being a part of a tight-knit group like BTS who found a unified sound. For V, there was the recurring need to create and scrap his work as his tastes and interests changed; feelings of having encapsulated what he wanted to say and show but not being sure about it a week later.
Music and Concept
V took his time with his album. He had so many ideas and interests, leading him to try many things. However, he realized this was just the beginning of the soloist V, the first ‘painting of himself’ as he put it, so there was no need to rush.
The genres in V’s songs – R&B, jazz, lo-fi, pop, soul, classical – meld together in one album and make a sound that is familiar but totally his own. From listening to his songs like Stigma and Winter Bear to now with Rainy Days, it’s obvious V has been able to hone in on the sounds that accompany his voice to better convey his feelings and thoughts.
Jazz and classical music couldn’t be missing on his debut album, as the genres are connected to him in many ways. V has stated before that these two genres are his favorite, and he finds comfort within them. V got into jazz by playing the saxophone in middle school, and although there was a point at which he hated the genre, he fell in love with it again in his 20s.
His relationship with the genre is a perfect mirror of the album concept. Layover is meant to be a journey of different stops to recall or revisit memories. V became a storyteller who finds beauty in the bitterness of longing, lost love, and loneliness. He has touched on these topics since he began to participate in the creation of his music. He even did so when doing covers, like Adele’s Someone Like You, a song full of longing and in a genre V’s voice excels.
Aesthetics and Portrayal
V has a connection with the analog aesthetic, as he has been seen to enjoy analog media such as film cameras, transmitter radios, vinyl, and cassettes, to name a few. Throughout the years, we have seen V embrace that form, with his specific interests in photography, art, film, and music. You can see that influence in most of his MVs and in the filters he uses at times. For instance, the use of old television sets or filters that resembled negatives in photography.
There is also his use of black and white, which is closely associated with old media. In various videos and even his cover art of Yeontan, he uses black and white to once again connect the past, present, and future.
He has an interesting way of using something that is supposed to be constrained by time and make it timeless. Certain aspects are typical of years past, but with his modern twists, V brings them to the present moment. He does this throughout the album, with the fashion he wears, the props used, the filters, the lighting, and of course genres like jazz and classical music.
Even the promotions V chose made the whole experience very him. For instance, he chose to sing for “Tiny Desk Korea,” which suits the album’s vibe of intimacy. The sets also alluded to his interest in famous past painters or using old TVs. There was also his participation in “Running Man” and “IU’s Palette” which shows his fondness for creating fun and important memories.
As the album name, Layover, was chosen because of V’s view of the journey of life, it makes sense that the concept around the music, promos, and aesthetic of this album resemble how he lives his life. This album not only has V written all over it but also a lot of Kim Taehyung. The music and visuals give a feeling of watching a slowed-down reel of your life, moments you can’t help but replay.
Our lives are built on memory on top of memory. We use memories to remember lessons or look back to happy moments in time. V’s view of life, at least at the moment, seems to revolve around this fact, and his album embodies this wholeheartedly.
V’s music and voice bring a stillness in time, like when seasons change, moments that feel like your life is about to take another detour.
His journey throughout his album has been one of self-discovery, becoming a perfect and confident representation of who he is and what he loves most.
Written by: Lizette
Edited by: Lisa K
Designed by: Achan
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