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REVIEW: BTS' Jimin sets himself free from loneliness and pressures of fame on solo album ‘FACE’

By Mica Rodriguez Published Apr 07, 2023 9:00 am

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, BTS became a source of strength, solace, and happiness to many. A number of music lovers learned to appreciate the charm of K-pop because of the group. As the fandom grew significantly, BTS dropped some singles and albums that kept a lot of people company during the enforced downtime.

Through their 2020 album BE and other releases, BTS members opened up about their true sentiments about the loneliness they felt when the whole world had to be locked down amid the crisis. The unexpected turn of events made them figure out what they really wanted to do with their personal lives and realize the importance of not taking things for granted.

One of the members who became really vocal about their feelings during the isolation period is Jimin. It's evident in his first-ever solo album FACE, which was released in late March. As the first member of the vocal line to out a solo album, there were certain expectations and predictions on what his record would sound like. Being known as the singer with sweet vocals and smooth dance moves, I bet fans had a certain sound in mind that they were anticipating to hear.

According to Jimin, he started working on the album in early 2022. This project was heavily influenced by his reflections while in isolation due to the pandemic.

The album starts strong with Face-Off, which sets the tone of the whole album as it deals with a messy breakup. The track made me, along with many fans, ask: Who hurt him this much for him to write such a song? I also can’t help but think of the possible choreography he will be presenting once he performs this song onstage.

Interlude: Dive is a transition track that gives the listener a vibe of how Jimin might’ve felt hearing the cheers of enthusiastic fans at the 2022 BTS Yet to Come Busan concert as they pictured him starting the engine of his car, driving home, pouring a drink into a glass, and spending the night alone at his place. It gives off the feeling of having friends who make you happy in one minute and diving into loneliness as you spend the evening alone in your room to sleep. 

Like Crazy reminds me of the synth-pop tracks in the 80s. According to Jimin, he was inspired by the 2022 movie of the same name (starring Jennifer Lawrence, Felicity Jones, and Anton Yelchin). The Korean version of the song is still related to a breakup, where one tries to cling to something that's in denial that everything is falling apart. Like the previous song on the album, this also evokes the feeling of going to a club with the intention of drinking and dancing to escape momentarily from something and going home alone in your room.

One of the many things that I love and appreciate in this album is the English version of Like Crazy, which Jimin first performed on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. While the Korean version deals with trying to hold on to something, the English version deals with the pressures that come with fame. I assume this is related to how Jimin tries to cope with the price of being one of the world’s most recognized K-pop idols. I also love the stage performances of Jimin with his equally talented dancers. Watching him onstage is a good temporary escape from reality.

The monotonous life amid the COVID-19 pandemic is best reflected in the song Alone. Here, Jimin reflects on how he truly feels whenever the music and the crowd disappear. From world tours to just staying at home doing the same thing every day, Jimin comforts himself by saying "It’s gonna be alright." Interestingly, there’s also a hidden reference to one of his early solo songs Lie.

Set Me Free Pt. 2 was initially unveiled as a pre-release for the album. If the main purpose in releasing this first was to shock, then I can say that his team successfully did so. A homage to Agust D’s Set Me Free from the D-2 album, this track is the most straightforward one in terms of the lyrics, where he confronts the haters and those who doubt his capabilities. It kind of reminds me of their 2020 hit song On. Although this track comes off strong and the choreography asserts dominance, the heavy auto-tune in the second half was quite unnecessary. I’d be honest that I didn’t initially embrace this track at first because of that part, but Jimin’s live stage performances for this teaser song made me understand why they might’ve felt that the auto-tune was needed for grandeur. It would be nice to see him perform Black Swan and then transition to this song in one of his future concerts with BTS or as a soloist.

In order for you to really appreciate this mini album, you must listen to it from start to finish because it's designed that way. Jimin takes us through the different phases of heartbreak, isolation, loneliness, and pressure until he comforts himself that everything is going to be just fine. It also shows us the many sides of the K-pop idol as a person who can also be sensitive and vocal with his true feelings—no matter how turbulent life can be.