RM, also known as Kim Namjoon, is part of the world’s biggest boyband to date, BTS. The BTS leader and music prodigy was born on 12 September 1994 as Kim Namjoon (김남준), in Dongjak, South Korea (later, he grew up in Ilsan).
He is a rapper, songwriter, composer, and producer.
Today marks the 27th birth anniversary of Namjoon and what better way we could celebrate his birthday than by celebrating his music?
BTS Leader RM or Kim Namjoon has written and produced many songs including BTS’ title tracks and sidetracks alongside prolific songwriters and producers, as well as his other members. A total of 162 songs has been attributed to him as a songwriter by The KOMCA (Korea Music Copyright Association), making him the youngest Korean artist to have achieved that feat.
His lyrics often deal with conflicting human emotions and the personal struggle one goes through while dealing with those problems. His works are a reflection of society and how it conditions oneself to live a certain way in order to survive.
Here is a list of 6 songs written and produced by RM that proves he is a music prodigy:
1- Do You
“What do those guys know about you?
Do they understand your dreams or your hobbies?
There are a lot of things that change even if you do not notice
You were born as a master, so why are you trying to become a slave?
“It’s Youth Because It Hurts”
That kind of justification is the biggest problem”
As a part of RM solo mixtape, ‘Do You’ is about embracing individuality and putting your focus on yourself rather than how others perceive you. Whether you feel like you should follow trends or stand out from the crowd, it’s okay to do exactly that and there is no right or wrong in deciding who you should be. It advises people to think for themselves wisely and maturely, instead of being “sheep” and giving in to society’s close-minded and judgmental way of thinking. He keeps on repeating ‘do you’ in his lyrics encouraging the listener to think autonomously about how they should live their lives.
2- Bapsae/ Silver spoon
“They call me a try-hard
Our generation has had it hard
Hurry, chase ’em
Thanks to those that came before us I’m spread too thin
They call me a try-hard
Our generation has had it hard
Hurry, chase ’em
My teachers were born with it all”
There’s an idiom “뱁새가 황새 따라가다 가랑이가 찢어진다,” meaning “If a crow-tit (or parrotbill) tries to follow a stork, it’ll split its legs.” It teaches how you should tailor your ambitions to the measure of your abilities or the resources given to you.
This song essentially talks about knowing your place in society and being a “try-hard,” and the societal spoon class theory that equates four different spoons to different wealth and social status, ‘Silver Spoon’ voices the frustration of the younger generations – typically born into the “dirt spoon” category – and calls out those who play a part in implementing an unnecessary narrative and labelling people’s worth.
It also talks about the concept of Sampo Generation (Hangul: 삼포세대; Hanja: 三抛世代; RR: samposedae, “Three giving-up generation”) which is a neologism in South Korea referring to a generation that gives up courtship, marriage, and having kids. This is so because people who are born out of poverty will likely die in poverty because they aren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouth.
This to date remains one of the best commentary-song on society by BTS.
3- Change by RM ft Wale
“All we got is mad teachers and some visible classes
Divided spaces, and forever-lastin’ stresses
Kill people with fingers on Twitter
More than a gun, more than a knife”
His song Change featuring Wale is a classic. It talks about his frustrations as a man of today –and his hope that the world is going to change.
“Change” is a progressive, politically engaged song that challenges similar problems of both Eastern and Western cultures, such as lack of faith in the government, failing education system, racism and cyberbullying. It is through songs like these, we could understand how much RM cares for the future. “What should we tell our sons? You know that they will be the men” — this line is a great reminder that we don’t live just for today. We have to live today for the generations after us.
4- Everything Goes
“You know forever isn’t possible in dreams
Instead of unclear words saying to have strength
Instead of the lies that it’s all just the way things are
Just like all these winds
That like the winds it will pass
‘Everythingoes’ comes from BTS Leader RM’s second mixtape mono which dropped in 2018 and I can’t describe how brilliant the song is. For this song, RM collaborated with South Korean alt-rock band Nell that featured a minimalist track with simple lyrics over complex beats.
It’s like an assurance to the listener, constantly reminding them that whatever pain they might be going through it will eventually fade away. That our suffering will soon go and pass by, “everything needs to go through pain, embrace the world, and suck in a breath” — that’s our reality. The song doesn’t include complex lyrics with deep psychological concepts unlike other entries in this article. It’s just Namjoon repeating the same line over and over again and it has so much impact that at the end of those 3:43 minutes, you will start believing that every pain eventually fades away.
It’s a simple but consoling track that many turn to when they’re in need of support.
5- ‘Trivia 承 : Love’
I’m just a human, human, human
You erode all my corners
And make me into love, love, love
We’re humans, humans, humans
In that myriad of straight lines
My love, love, love
Sit on top of it and it becomes a heart
Taken from the 2018 BTS repackage album Love Yourself: Answer, this solo song by BTS Leader RM is a celebration of love. In a VLIVE two years prior, he talked about how in Korean the words for ‘love,’ ‘live,’ and ‘human’ were all similar. “They sound similar too. As humans, we’re bound to love. Whether it be romantically or love for our parents, friends, and teachers. I think long ago when Korean was first made, human and love was made similarly on purpose— because you can’t live without love.”
Through this song, Namjoon is describing love as a natural phenomenon, just as natural as trees growing and the seasons changing. This also provides imagery of what love could be represented as in the physical sense.
In three years, he went from “I wish I could love myself” to “I live so I love,” and that is an extremely powerful testament suggesting that he has evolved as a human being and is content in life.
5- Forever Rain
“Just like you
If I could
Just knock on somewhere
If I could kiss
The whole world so hard
Would someone welcome me
Maybe embrace my weary body”
Forever Rain comes after Everythingoes in the ‘Mono Playlist’ and I can not praise RM enough for it. You make yourself believe that everything passes and tell yourself it’s okay (Everythingoes). But eventually, you have to accept what hurts you and your weaknesses — that is life, and “we’re still a hostage of it” (Forever Rain).
Forever Rain is comforting because it can provide company through our hardships. BTS Leader RM has deep attachments to this song and wishes it to be played at his funeral.
This song, like many, tells us how RM views the world without the rose-tinted glasses and flowery lyrics. RM with his lyricism paints a real picture of the world that is raw and unhinged.