I knew V before I did BTS.
Unlike most folks who probably knew the Korean supergroup through their high-energy chart-toppers and electrifying live performances, “Stigma” by V was my gateway drug to the Bangtan universe. Both its genre and lyricism were relatively uncommon to K-pop, so the listening experience was akin to discovering vintage wine in a minibar full of caffeinated drinks: intoxicating, sophisticated, and rare.
Plus, it wasn’t just a one-time thing. “Stigma” was followed by “Singularity” and a few more tracks that are best enjoyed in a serene corner away from the frenetic rhythm of mainstream pop. That was when I realized that while everybody may (understandably) associate the septet with adrenaline rush, V’s solo works will *always* lead us down a path less traveled—something more introspective and atmospheric.
Now, “Layover” (a.k.a. his debut EP after a decade of being in the industry) finally dropped, and it honestly feels like a welcome return to the comforting hug of V’s mellower sound. So, in the grand tradition of Rating Things on the Internet™, here’s a review of each track from the EP—non-scientifically evaluated based on their tranquilizing abilities. (Because what better way to judge V’s new release than by its power to put us in a state of calm?)
4 out of 5
Lo-fi enjoyers, you’re in for a treat with this one. “Rainy Days” has basically everything you would want in a song—the gentle patter of rain, white noise, chill beats, and poetic lyricism.
The delicate piano chords neatly set the mood for the longing and nostalgia that the lyrics evoke, which can make listeners want to reminisce about the subject of their own rainy days. Whether it’s a lost connection or simply the innocence of youthful memories, the track resonates with anybody who has experienced the bittersweet feeling of looking back on the past.
The only reason I’m knocking off a point is that the vocal processing is a bit too raw and unedited (for my liking, at least). Though the intention is likely to emphasize the raw emotions, V’s unprocessed thick vocals put a heavier vibe to the song—a feeling that makes bawling slightly more appealing than relaxing.
The number of times “blue” is mentioned in the song out of 5
Professional music critics (read: chronically online stans on X-slash-Twitter) typically see lyrical repetitions as lazy work. However, this musical structure seems to work just fine—or dare I say, perfectly—in “Blue.”
You know how most lullabies work their magic by using simple or repetitive phrases to effectively put toddlers to a slumber? Well, V has channeled that energy into this B-side. It doesn’t operate on dramatic beat switches or high notes; neither does it rely on intricate wordplay nor convoluted metaphors.
Instead, the song’s charm lies in its unassuming simplicity. The lyrics might come off as a broken record for some, especially with lines like “on and on and on” and “blue” appearing recurrently. But here’s the thing: this repetitive nature creates a mesmerizing and (almost) hypnotic effect for “Blue,” not to mention its unobtrusive instrumentation that feels like a soft caress on your head.
“Love Me Again”
3.5 out of 5 (and I’m being generous here)
Don’t get me wrong. “Love Me Again” is a bedroom pop single. V wears his lounge singer hat for this one—scented candles, velvet drapes, and scotch on the rocks completing the cozy ambience.
If you’re one to hyperfixate on the lyrics, though, this song is going to stir up conflicting feelings you’d rather not deal with during a supposed chill sesh. It’s essentially the aural equivalent of self-sabotage. It’s the vulnerable text you’d impulsively send to an ex-lover (or ex-fling) at ass o’clock. You know damn well that it isn’t a great idea, but the temptation is too strong to resist.
I initially wanted to give it a two out of five, but decided to add a point and a half for the hints of jazz and sultry R&B in the overall production.
The song’s MV views out of 5
Picture this: A moonlit night, a gentle breeze rustling through the trees, and the comforting thought of slow dancing with your constant under a canopy of stars. Now, incorporate “Slow Dancing” into this idyllic scene, and you’ve got yourself the recipe for a tranquil and romantic rendezvous.
It’s a slow jam that seems tailor-made for a candlelit date for two… or you and your microwave dinner because we don’t discriminate here. V’s velvety vocals, coupled with the track’s soothing melodies and flute interlude, paint a dreamscape where stress easily melts away.
Plus, it can serve as the perfect sonic backdrop for your “delulu hours” and fictional Y/N scenarios. (And yup, I’m actively ignoring the fact that its lyrics are somehow in the same melancholic vein as “Love Me Again.”)
Negatives out of 5
If “Love Me Again” was the impulsive text you’d send to an ex, “For Us” is the desperate voicemail you’d leave after drinking beyond your tolerance. It navigates themes of separation, regret, and aching desire.
The lyrics are honest and painfully relatable, and they can trigger a tsunami of buried memories and forgotten feelings. V’s plaintive plea (to be with the subject of this track again) resonates with anyone who’s ever yearned for a second chance—for a love that felt just out of reach. It also has the ability to make you ache for something you may have never experienced yet, and open wounds you probably didn’t know were there.
So, nah. It’s not a lullaby; it’s a dagger to the heart and a haunting reminder of the love that once was. Don’t even get me started on how emotionally charged V’s voice is in this side track. (Seriously, who hurt him, and why did he use it as a free pass to hurt us as well?)
Still from “Love Me Again” music video