BTS RM’s ‘Right Place, Wrong Person,’ is an elastic experiment

BTS RMs Right Place Wrong Person is an elastic experiment
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RM in a photo sketch for his new album “Right Place, Wrong Person.” Image: Weverse

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All seven members of BTS are currently serving South Korea’s compulsory enlistment for men of a certain age — and in what should feel like an absence, the K-pop boy band is keeping their fans occupied with a steady release schedule of eclectic solo material. Next up is rapper RM’s second solo full-length album, “Right Place, Wrong Person.”

The thoughtful leader of BTS, RM is usually philosophical in his solo work, often unafraid to take big sonic risks, sometimes with big rewards. In “Right Place, Wrong Person,” he continues to ask the big questions atop elastic, genre-averse production.

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The title track opens the bilingual album, launching with RM repeating the album’s title over and over again in a deep, almost militaristic cadence — before exploding into asymmetrical production ornamented by his gothic baritone.

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From there follows the wet, funky bass of “Nuts”; the avant-garde “Around the world in a day” with the inventive guitarist Moses Sumney; and the haunted hip-hop of “Domodachi.” featuring British rapper Little Simz with ferocious drums and jazz-like improvisational instrumentation, a sensibility that continues into the following “Interlude.” Few genres strike fear in RM.

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Or maybe they do, and that’s the point: Thematically, the album centers on the artist considering his own identity — one of the most famous people on the planet expressing that he feels out of step with the world. Naturally, the music mirrors that frustration, curiosity, and meditation. “Groin’” is frustrated, raw rap, and perhaps the most profane he has been to date. “Heaven” is a dreamy shoegaze; he’s a rapper who can live inside ’90s alternative rock and own it.

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