BigHit Entertainment/YouTube (Screencap)
In advance of their upcoming album Love Yourself: Tear, BTS has released their latest single, Singularity, featuring the vocal stylings of V, aka Taehyung.
It’s audibly clear to me that “Singularity” is less of a traditional K-pop song and is, indeed, pure R&B. I’m not talking about what passes as “R&B” today, which to me sounds more like diary entries sung aloud than actual songs. Instead, BTS is diving into the realm of R&B between the late ’80s to early ’00s, the last great era of the genre, which had rich melodies, harmonies, hooks, and production value. As someone said to me online, this song has elements of smooth soul singers like Sade.
“Singularity” is also a song tailor made for Taehyung’s voice. Out of everyone in the group, Taehyung has the sultriest voice, which is perfect for smoky-sounding songs such as “Singularity.” To go back to Sade as an example, her songs were always mysterious-sounding with hints of blues and jazz. Sade’s sound and style also lends itself to the torch singers of the past. One song that comes to mind is “Is It A Crime”.
I don’t know if there are men who call themselves torch singers, since that term is usually used for women who sing love ballads, but if there is such a thing, then Taehyung would definitely belong in that group, since his voice naturally lends itself to singing about pain, an emotion that’s clearly an inspiration for “Singularity.” The song’s lyrics showcase someone who has stifled their own voice to the point of losing themselves, and now they’re rediscovering themselves and realizing that stifling themselves might not have been worth it.
This isn’t the first time Taehyung’s voice has been used in this way; “Stigma,” a song that came out in 2016 on BTS’s Wings album, features Taehyung singing about letting someone down and how he (as the song’s character) wants to atone for his sins, even if that means dying. It’s a love song of a different kind; in the song, he says, “I’m sorry my brother” and “I’m sorry my sister,” suggesting that the torch he’s carrying isn’t one for romantic love, but for the love he has for family and friends he’s hurt in the past. Once again, Taehyung’s voice is used to showcase pain, longing, and emotional suffering (especially in the short film the group made for the song; it’s an intense 3 minutes).
Overall, “Singularity” is one of my new favorite songs to listen to, and if this single indicates what Love Yourself: Tear holds when it’s released May 18, then this just might be a spectacular album.