RM – mono Album First Listen + Review

There is no way for me to convey my intense excitement for this album through a computer screen. I am beyond excited and beyond ready to hear it. I’m expecting a lot of slower songs, a lot of Joon singing and a lot of high-quality song writing. Like I mentioned in my “Forever Rain” review I won’t be reading translations before listening but I’m debating where I’ll mention the lyrics at all in this review.

ARTIST: RM

ALBUM: mono

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Available on Spotify and iTunes!

mono was released 23 October 2018 with title track “Forever Rain”. Although there were only two days between the announcement and the actual day it dropped, this mixtape playlist did incredibly well on the charts. While I’m a firm believer in charts meaning little to nothing, I love it when a member is credited as a solo artist. I’ve stayed away from this album for a while now, almost a week, and I’ve gone crazy from not listening to it. Namjoon is a special individual to me. Not only was he the reason I was interested in BTS in the first place but to me, we are subconsciously linked in a lot of ways. (A lot of my Twitter mutuals will understand this last statement.)

First track “tokyo” uses a similar start to “Forever Rain” and “Reflection” with the use of ever day life in the intro. He starts singing on top of the piano, kind of mumbling which is interesting. I haven’t heard him mumble like this since “Always” which makes me a little emotional. The vocal runs after the first verse is giving me chills! I’m also getting big vibes of “Sea” which, again, I’M EMOTIONAL!! There’s some kind of traditional instrument used in the back which is a nice touch but the whistling… I hate it haha purely because I can’t, but the decision to put whistling in here is strange. I wonder why he did so… Ummm, is this song is english?! Like the whole thing?? Wow, Joon. Great job! Chills. Throughout the whole thing. I love this so much.

I’m not too sure what this song is about based on the lyrics. There seems to be a certain amount of longing in it which is only heightened by the lyrics:

Life is a word that sometimes you cannot say
And ash is a thing that someday we all should be
When tomorrow comes
How different it’s going to be?
Why do love and hate sound just the same to me?

Second track “seoul” is more upbeat than the previous yet still stays within the same family due to the slower beat as well as his vocals. I knew he’d sing on here but I’m surprised at the amount he’s done it so far. There’s clearly some kind of autotune happening in the chorus which I don’t mind – it’s not overly noticeable and suits the song. The chorus also has a certain catchiness to it which I think totally relies on the beat as well as the use of english. It’s a chorus international fans can join in on. The break down during the bridge is great and does reference closer to “tokyo”. The whispering section at the end is where I draw the line. I feel some type of way when artists whisper in their songs and it’s not something Joon does – it’s a technique Hoseok and Yoongi use so I’m having difficulty.

Lyrically expected, this song is about Seoul. What I do find interesting is the use of ‘love’ and ‘hate’ in reference to Seoul, the city he now lives and calls home.

If love and hate are the same words
I love you Seoul
If love and hate are the same words
I hate you Seoul
If love and hate are the same words
I love you Seoul
If love and hate are the same words
I hate you Seoul (Seoul)

I have done a bit of reading over this issue and realised that by using both words ‘love’ and ‘hate’ he’s portraying his feelings about the city as neither and instead something he’s passionate about.

“These lines pose the popular psychological question of whether hate and love are the same. Since both are strong human emotions fueled by passion, it is argued that they both fall in the same spectrum.

This question has been around for a while, and was famously discussed by Nathaniel Hawthorne:

“It is a curious subject of observation and inquiry, whether hatred and love be not the same thing at bottom. Each, in its utmost development, supposes a high degree of intimacy and heart-knowledge; each renders one individual dependent for the food of his affections and spiritual life upon another; each leaves the passionate lover, or the no less passionate hater, forlorn and desolate by the withdrawal of his object.”

In these lines, phonetically, it sounds like he is saying ‘seoul,’ ‘soul,’ and ‘so.’ By doing this, RM applies this theology to both Seoul and his own soul. He does not define his relationship with the city or himself as one driven by hate or love, but rather one he is simply passionate about. – Genius.com

Once again, Namjoon shows us all how talented he is at wordplay between two different languages.

“Moonchild” is the song I’m most excited for. I know Joon’s deep connection to all things astrological runs deep but also the link to “4 O’clock”. I’m interested in how much of this is related to this song as Taehyung had originally aimed it towards Jimin. I don’t think this is going to go well… ten seconds in and I have tears in my eyes. It’s the definition of a slow jam and is very empty with a lot of space to create a nice a dreamy ambiance. It is a little more dependent on percussion than the previous two songs and has a lot more autotune than “seoul”. I don’t think it’s used as seamlessly in this song but I can’t dislike the overall direction. It also has a lot more diversity in regards to intensity and does change up in the last half of the song. There are moments of mumbling at the end which reminds me of “Sea” yet again. I’m so interested in the translation for this song.

This song is about uplifting those going through a hard time. There are lyrics that I can link to “4 O’clock” so it’s nice there’s some continuity there:

“I left, but can never get to leave once
You say you wanna die, but live it much harder
You say you wanna let go but put on another weight
Thinking of not thinking at all is still a thinking, you know
Actually this is our destiny, you know
Smiling in endless pain, you know
There is no ‘freedom’ when you say ‘freedom’ out loud, you know
Do you know?”

“In the moon hours, look at the night sky through the eyes of your soul
Gonna show it to you, your window, your time
You know, there’s a lot of thorns on that streetlight too
Look closely at that blinking light for once
Isn’t a night view such a cruel thing
A magnificent sight of somebodies’ thorns
Someone will be consoled by looking at your thorns for sure”

Reading these lyrics is the closest I came to crying so far. Reading how, through a song, he’s trying to lift others up makes my heart hurt and I love him for reaching out.

“badbye” features eAeon, the first feature on the album. This song sounds like it’s more produced than the rest of the tracks so far. It has a certain darkness to it which is refreshing and I enjoy how the music almost entirely disappears in the last half of the song. I’m curious over the vocals and when eAeon is singing and when Joon is. I wish this song was longer to be honest as it has a lot more creativity than some of the earlier songs. This song, for me, is a mood-setting song. I’m just not sure what the mood should be.

From reading up on this song it seems like its a source of healing. It’s very repetitive and implies a kind of mantra which, mixed with the play on words with ‘goodbye’, it’s a song of comfort.

Fifth track “uhgood” gives me a good vibe. It is slower but there’s a nice beat with layering of a lot of vocals on top of each other, something I haven’t noticed happen on any earlier track. I can hear the lyric ‘I feel so lonely’ in english which makes me sad but also a little silly at my earlier statement over it having a good vibe…maybe it doesn’t. Aside from the vocal layering, this song doesn’t show any big artistic difference and I almost feel like it falls a little on the back burner. This isn’t a bad thing at all. It still creates a vibe I just think reading the translations will help me with how I’m supposed to feel about it.

I genuinely cried while reading these lyrics. As I’m writing this paragraph, I’m crying. This song is straight from Joon’s heart as he talks about struggling to find out who he really is. He references a lot of statements towards him, true or not I’m not sure. But I can’t help but see him taking these statements to heart. I want to comfort him, hug him and tell him he’s doing well. Sometimes being there for someone is the best thing and I want to let him know I’ll always be here:

“At times I’m disappointed with myself (disappointed with myself)
Honestly, I trample myself (trample myself)
“Do you only amount to this?” (do you only amount to this?)
“Need to do so much better” (need to do so much better)
“You need to be so much cooler” (you need to be so much cooler)
“If you’re going to be defeated, might as well die” (if you’re going to be defeated, might as well die)
“You have to win, you, you, you”
“You”

“To be out of place, it hurts so much
If you don’t experience it, it cannot be known
My ideal and what is reality
They’re so far, far away
But I still want to cross that two bridges
To reach myself
To the real me, yeah yeah
To the real me, yeah”

“everythingoes” is with the EPs second featured artist NELL. Joon singing is amazing! I’m used to him rap-singing but there is little to no rap happening in this intro. It sounds dreamy and makes me feel sad and at peace at the same time. There is more melody in this song which is nice which only escalates through the chorus as the instrumentation builds intensity. This doesn’t at all sound like something I’d associate with RM of BTS and I’m pleasantly surprised. It does make more sense half-way through as he starts rapping. The build of intensity in this last half almost makes this song my favourite so far. It’s so good, all the choices he’s made with composition and how he changed his voice. It does sound quite busy but I love every second of it. I think this song would’ve been a great place to end the album and I’m curious to why “forever rain” is the last song.

This is another uplifting song with words of comfort. Even though it does have that feel to it lyrically, I can’t help but be sad at the same time.

“Just like the night leaves and the morning comes
The spring leaves and summer comes, but
Just like the flower wilts and the fruit grows ripe
Everything needs to go through pain
Embrace the world and suck in a breath
That prickling air that fills up your lungs says everything
Yeah, back when I wished to drink it in innumerable times
Underneath those old times when I, a fool, grew dull”

The last track “forever rain” makes a lot more sense to me now – read review (here). In saying that, he could’ve release that song on SoundCloud by itself and I would’ve understood it but hearing it as a part of this whole album makes me feel so happy. It makes sense to being the title track. The quality production-wise sounds more finessed with this song which only highlights how important he found this song to be. I love it even more every time I hear it and I’m so proud he was able to get his voice out there like this.

This album is entirely moody – it sets a calming and almost melancholic one while uplifts at the same time. I’m proud of what he’s done with each and every track and I can clearly see how he’s changed and improved his composing and songwriting. He’s said before that it takes him a long time to come up with melodies so I’m happy he was content enough to release seven tracks.

RATING: 9.5/10

How did you all like mono? Were there any songs that stood out for you? Let me know down below or leave me a message on Twitter!

 

Bye guys!

xx

2 thoughts on “RM – mono Album First Listen + Review

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