On December 2, 2022, Kim Namjoon, better known by his stage name RM of the Korean boy band BTS, released his debut solo album, Indigo. His first single “Wild Flower” (with youjeen) also has a music video that can be found on YouTube.
Indigo serves as a memoir of RM’s twenties and an introduction to his character. In every song, RM expresses his unabashed views, current ideas, memories, and immediate emotions.
In a press video from BigHit Music, RM states that he wanted to show how his tendency, colors, and thoughts have changed in the album. “I chose the color indigo to create a contrasting mood from the black and white of mono. Indigo is also a natural color of jeans. I wanted my first official solo album to start with a natural hue, so I chose Indigo as the title. There may be several tones of indigo, dark blue or blue colors, and you will be able to see the gradation of those colors from this album” RM shares. RM has already released two mixtapes, RM (2015) and mono (2018).
The cover art for Indigo depicts RM in a denim getup next to a painting titled “Blue” by the late Korean painter Yun Hyong-keun, whose work he greatly admires and whose color scheme is a perfect representation of the color “indigo.”
Indigo defies categorization as a collection of works by musicians from different musical backgrounds working together on a single album. RM was the creative force behind every aspect of the album, from songwriting and conceptualization to album art and music video production. “When making music, there are songs that I think I should complete on my own, and there are songs that I need someone else to make them more complete. This time, there were several songs that I wanted someone else’s frequencies, their narratives or feelings to be added to, so I worked with many other musicians. I learned a lot while working with them, and it was a new experience” says RM.
The ten-tracked album includes: lead single “Wild Flower (with youjeen),” “Yun (with Erykah Badu),” “Still Life (with Anderson .Paak),” “All Day (with Tablo),” “Forg_tful (with Kim Sawol),” “Closer (with Paul Blanco, Mahalia),” “Change pt.2,” “Lonely,” “Hectic (with Colde)” and “No.2 (with parkjiyoon).”
Music Video of the Lead Single “Wild Flower (with youjeen)”
The album’s lead single, “Wild Flower (with youjeen),” expresses RM’s wish to live more like a quiet and unassuming wildflower than a flashy and fleeting flame. The lead singer of the South Korean rock band Cherry Filter, youjeen, joined as a featured artist. The song’s rock energy is amplified by RM’s composed rap and youjeen’s powerful vocal.
The video, directed by Woogie Kim (who has directed music videos for many other popular Korean songs, such as BTS’ “Permission to Dance” and “Mic Drop”), begins with fireworks shot from above and then progresses through a blazing sun, turbulent night, a field of falling petals, and finally RM performing in front of a packed house. Nakhwa Nori, one of the design elements, is a traditional folk game in which participants hang bags of oak charcoal powder between lotus lanterns and set them on fire, then watch as the flaming contents fall into the water below. A compelling scene of Nakhwa Nori’s flames tumbling to the ground is the video’s focal point, bringing the song’s message full circle.
The third member of the band to release a solo project this year is RM. The first to do so was j-hope with his debut solo album Jack in the Box, and then came Jin with his single “The Astronaut,” a collaboration with the band Coldplay. Recently, the group’s youngest member Jungkook sang “Dreamers,” the official soundtrack of this year’s FIFA World Cup. The members of BTS are on a mission to express who they are as individuals through their music and content, so we can expect them to release more songs and solo projects in the near future. “I worked on the album for almost four years, so I hope you enjoy listening to it. I don’t intend to deliver a big message through these songs. I just think one of the songs could suit somebody’s taste. So, I just hope the album or a song could stay in your playlist, like a leaf slipped between pages of a book.”