He is now the second in his group, after RM. indigo last December, to launch a full-length project ever since the K-pop monolith that is BTS announced their hiatus, but Agust D (the solo moniker of BTS’s Suga) had actually been launching making waves in the underground under the name even from before. joining the band that would make him an international superstar. Now with the third project of him as August D, day D continues to provide a showcase for his rapping skills outside of the safer, cleaner contexts in which he often appears, but many of Agust D’s risqué moves here don’t work as well as some of his bandmates’ solo work. : his singing voice. he comes across as quite irritating, while his rhythmic abilities don’t quite measure up to the smoothness and charisma on display on his fellow BTS rapper’s recent solo album. While there’s still a solid helping of well-crafted instruments and competent yet smooth BTS-style melodies that you can’t help but nod to, day DThe explosion was not as large as expected.
The title track opens the project, which immediately hits listeners with Agust D’s nasal, belted chorus under a heavy Auto-Tune filter that flickers unpleasantly despite the fact that he’s just playing the same note repeatedly. It’s something like this that immediately makes you realize that he’s been cast in the role of a rapper in BTS for a reason. And despite strangely copying the “directly!” As Travis Scott improvises, the bars on the opening track are pretty cool – it’s Agust D’s bass-heavy vocals that lend the drama to a highly cinematic rap instrumental as he welcomes doomsday and prepares to whatever comes, but he is not capable of doing it. it lives up to the rhythm’s promise in other areas: the sung pre-chorus once again soaks up the energy of the room. “Haegeum,” on the other hand, clearly stands out here, as it’s the track that mostly stays in a hip-hop lane. Siren synths, crunching bass, and a trap beat give Agust D the kind of backdrop he needs to start showing off some of his faster flows, and the moment he interrupts himself with a louder vocal. high-pitched and frantic as if she were an item in her own song she would set a crowd ablaze. The wildest part is when you translate the lyrics and realize that Agust D speaks poetically against capitalism that restricts creative freedoms.
Just because it seems like everyone has to try it right now, the track “HUH?!” he enlists fellow BTS rapper j-hope to tackle a punching beat. Similarly to the opening theme, there’s no denying the skill behind the rap verses, and it’s great to hear a bit more contrast as j-hope descends onto the track with a softer, more laid-back, but nasal tone. by Agust D. The cadence, slight distortion and Auto-Tune filter cranked up to 11 in the chorus make it sound more like a theater nerd kid who isn’t suited to the effortless awesomeness a beat like this requires, not to mention the weird rhythms near the end of the chorus Raising your voice and yelling “this is your wannabe life” through a filter when nothing is built before the hand falls extremely flat. “AMYGDALA” uses the same gritty, frenetic cadence and distortion for a much more understandable reason, as Agust D talks about his struggles and touches on his parents’ illnesses, but it’s a very disjointed song at its core that doesn’t play with none. of his strengths. Set to shrill contemplative acoustics, the computerized vocals don’t do a great job of communicating the emotion he wants to bring here, especially when the tempo suddenly lurches upward into a trap beat. The combination of Auto-Tune and distortion is borderline inaudible at times on this one.
The song “SDL” is a safer excursion, with a more soulful undertone and summery vibe, and is easily Agust D’s biggest hit as a singer. He combines a smoother cadence with some calm and collected raps as he reminisces about a perfect past romance, while a female backing vocalist delivers some impressive performances and vocalizations in a sweet, angelic tone. Another female vocalist, this time with a credit, appears on “People Pt.2” in the form of South Korean superstar IU. The sequel to a track from August D’s 2020 project D-2, is another softer outing carried by a shuffled beat and a very soulful chorus from IU, though some of Agust D’s verses feel a bit short and his sung pre-chorus dampens some of the momentum. “Polar Night” is another rap-heavy track that finds Agust D talking about some big issues and touching on our post-truth world; he finds it running through some more impressive flows, but there’s just something about the spacey, slow-paced jam session. of a pace that doesn’t feel incredibly accommodating to them.
Listeners are ushered into the final moments of the album by “Interlude: Dawn”, a 2-minute orchestral piece that genuinely represents some of the project’s most captivating music; it makes me imagine flying through the cosmos and appropriately leads to “Snooze,” a collaboration with Agust D’s personal hero Ryuichi Sakamoto, who recently passed away. The composer and member of the Yellow Magic Orchestra adds some contemplative pianos to the track, but it’s another guest choir that steals the show as WOOSUNG of indie-rock band The Rose elevates the powerful background boom-bap to another level with his chilling tenor. Things close out with “Life Goes On,” which shares some elements with the BTS track of the same title. Despite another weird filter that makes it sound like a robot, it’s another generally bright and positive tune to end with.
Solo projects by some of the less visible members of a wildly popular collective are always interesting, as it gives them a chance to showcase some of the personal touches that might otherwise have been subsumed. And while not everything works here, hearing some personal stories and more room for their raps provided some solid moments as we wait for BTS to rule the world once again.
Favorite Songs: Snooze, Haegeum, SDL, People Pt.2
Least Favorite Track: AMYGDALA