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Jimin’s Face-Off

Since the release of VIBE by Taeyang feat. Jimin, fans have been anticipating an album drop from the BTS member, and he did not disappoint! On March 17, Jimin “set free” his long-awaited single, Set Me Free Pt. 2, along with his first album, FACE, one week later. The album consists of 6 tracks including Set Me Free Pt. 2 and an English version of Like Crazy. Jimin described this album to be a “reflection of vulnerable minds and unexposed wounds,” which he tried to express through his lyrics and choice of beats that consist of synthetic instrumentals and span across multiple genres. Many themes come into play throughout this album, namely self-doubt and loneliness.

The album starts off strong with Face-off, a song that starts playful until it changes its tone through hip-hop beats. Sung against seemingly calm instrumentals, the lyrics reflect the track name, with Jimin proclaiming that he’s screaming like crazy.” Some noteworthy uses of instruments in the song include the bass throughout the chorus and the electric guitar in the second chorus. The song also seems to commentate on the theme of Jimin entering his villain era throughout the album. With this, Jimin truly starts to Face-off with himself.

Moving into Interlude: Dive, an ambient track that sounds like old-school BTS’s skit inserts than the usual intermission, it continues Jimin’s earlier claim to pour it down / until this night is over.” Likely comprised of recorded clips from a concert, the track has a very dreamlike quality and shows a glimpse of Jimin’s raw emotions that can be expressed only through such an interlude. The ending of Jimin pouring himself a drink seems to set the tone going into the next track.

If the song Like Crazy was judged without context, one would think that it was just about a boy wanting to have a good time in the city and at the club, which would be a reasonable conclusion based on the previous track. However, it also follows the theme of loneliness heard in the majority of the interlude and begins Jimin’s descent into a temporary escape so that morning gets drunk and never comes.” This song is also an interpretation of the movie of the same name, from which Jimin pulled inspiration. As the movie portrays how absence can make the heart grow fonder, Jimin conveys that sentiment through his lyrics, equating that the night, in the cover of darkness, gives him a high when he’s “lost in the lights.” The sampling he used at the beginning and end of the track paints a mental picture of someone asking Jimin to trust them, which he does, but once he re-enters the light, he sees himself alone again, facing the question, “What’s the point?”

The next track, Alone, is much more subdued compared to the other tracks with its soft R&B flow. The lyrics show Jimin reflecting on his thoughts in a half-lucid state of mind. Aware of his outside surroundings, he asks himself how long he must endure the same day of feeling ridiculed where “everyone [laughs] at him” and coming home to his dark room alone. In the refrain, the word “lie” is repeatedly echoed in a ridiculing manner, almost as if to himself. The listener cannot help but wonder if his earlier remark to “make it right / it’s going to be alright” is also a lie he tells himself, tying back to the album’s overall theme of reflection.

When the pre-released single, Set Me Free Pt. 2, dropped, fans speculated that the “Pt. 2” was a continuation of bandmate SUGA’s Interlude: Set Me Free in his last album release as Agust D. Jimin stated that the two songs were not connected to each other, though his song did build upon similar themes, and he wanted to keep that integrity when composing the song. The mood of the song is much more battle-ready compared to the other tracks, starting with a chorus winding up to a heavy high note before the drop to the hip-hop track laced with brassy tones throughout. One can even say this is the light at the end of the dark tunnel previously set throughout the album.

The last track is the English version of Like Crazy, and although the lyrics are different between languages, the themes for both songs are very similar, showing Jimin’s versatility in reaching his global ARMYs. The seemingly psychedelic and danceable vibes throughout the track contradict with the lyrics he sings, showing the duality of darkness and light that he tried to express through the teaser photos, the album, and the music video.

Everything about FACE, from the tracks to the concept photos to the album cover, is all a personification of Jimin’s reflection, whether in the mirror or within himself. The tracklist, especially, follows a thematic trajectory of an evening of loneliness into the morning, not only illustrating the duality of darkness and light, but also highlighting the heaviness of darkness and the light that can be glimpsed in-between. Even the concept photos of “Hardware” and “Software” depict his duality of light and dark and his transition from dark to light, metaphorically and literally, through the absence of color and the clothes he wears.

The world has had a glimpse into each of the BTS members’ inner feelings thanks to their solo albums and how they’ve grown as artists and humans through their expressive lyrics and music. Jimin has made his statement on his solo career with the hope that “if people understand the emotions I’m trying to express, I’ll consider the album a success.” In the eyes of the public, and even more so of ARMY, he’s more than surpassed that bar that he’s given himself.

Written by: Rei

Edited by: Ren

Designed by: ThornToHisRose

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