RM shows off his wide range of styles with “Mono.”


Wikimedia Commons

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Common License.

Prudence Nowicki, Multimedia Editor

The leader of the worldwide K-pop group BTS has released his own “playlist” that brings an entirely different style than anything he or BTS has ever done.

Kim Namjoon, known as RM, is a rapper, producer, composer and writer for BTS, the Korean pop group growing quickly in popularity throughout the U.S. and the world. In 2015 RM released RM, his first solo mixtape, produced two years after BTS released its first album.

Unlike the powerful rap songs that filled RM, his new playlist, Mono., is made up seven indie-style songs that are moody and entail deep emotions. The songs contrast dark and hopeful themes and flow quite like a playlist would.

RM shows off his versatility in music as he expands from a hip-hop style to a smooth and soulful style. He blends his deep vocals with his rapping to create an emotional sound in his songs.

While the songs offer meaningful lyrics in both Korean and English, language barriers aren’t really barriers at all as the music and his vocals alone are atmospheric and enough to vibe off of. RM purposely didn’t post official lyrics. He said online after he released the playlist, “I hope people will listen with their expressions and languages. Hopefully we’ll fill (the blanks) in.”

RM makes use of sounds in the album to really take listeners to another place and to create a mood for each song. “Tokyo” opens with sounds of streets and a train while “Forever Rain” has the sound of rain throughout the song. The songs have spatial sounds and are meant to make listeners feel like they are really in these places, but these sounds do not overpower them.

While the playlist isn’t what fans expected when RM suddenly announced that he would release new music, he certainly doesn’t disappoint. Fans will love the talent RM demonstrates in his playlist as well as the contemplative feelings that are portrayed.

For people who are new to K-pop, the playlist is perfect for listening to while studying or for peaceful rainy days. It is also a good, different sound for those who may be turned off by the typical electro-pop or heavy hip-hop sounds of many K-pop songs. While the songs still have that unmistakable electronic music, it is a much more smooth and indie style of music.

BTS has grown massively in popularity in the past year, each album doing better and charting higher than the last as the group earns more and more recognition. With this solo work RM earned the No. 1 spot on the iTunes charts in over 88 countries and regions, beating BTS’s most recent album Love Yourself: Answer. The group’s growth in popularity is truly immense.

RM confidently — and with good reason — has stepped out of his comfort zone with Mono. Both new and returning fans will be pleasantly surprised by the Korean rapper’s wide range of talent and thoughtful music, which will appeal to anyone.