It’s not easy making a statement when someone who has been part of a group for so long tries to go solo, especially when there’s no guarantee that the venture will end up going the way you hope. But for Kim Yugyeom, who has spent the last seven years as a member of K-pop boyband GOT7, it’s a risk that he’s willing to take.
For the first time in what seems like forever, the singer can finally show who he is outside of the idol group, following their departure from longtime label JYP Entertainment.The singer’s debut solo EP, the seven-track ‘Point Of View: U’, tells a love story in all its rocky, emotional glory while exploring the different facets of R&B.
Yugyeom kicks off the project with ‘I Want You Around’, featuring fellow AOMG signee DeVita, a haunting song that mixes elements of trap with a hard-hitting base, recalling Chris Brown’s 2020 song with Young Thug, ‘City Girls’. On the song, which DeVita and Yugyeom co-wrote with rapper GRAY, the duo express the need to keep the object of their affections close by.
“I want you around / Baby I want you to stay with me forever / I want you around / For you, I can give up mo’ money,” the duo sing on the sensual chorus. The seductive track not only serves as a prelude for the mature nature of the entire EP, but also does a good job of exhibiting Yugyeom’s strong vocals that will continue to appear throughout the album.
In ‘Running Through The Rain’, Yugyeom continues his exploration of love and relationships: “I’m running through the rain (for you) / Even if the rain and wind blow hard / I’ll run anytime for you.” All of this is done on a laid-back beat that mixes synth sounds, Pop and R&B, with a bridge that is very reminiscent of late-’90s/early-2000s Daft Punk.
Unlike the loved-up mood of the EP’s first two songs, title track ‘All Your Fault’ turns the project’s vibe (so far) on its head. Here, Yugyeom sings candidly about heartbreak and spiralling out of control: “When I see you before my eyes / I feel so infinitely small / As if my heart could stop any minute / I can’t stand it anymore.”
Coupling the song’s raw lyrics with an intoxicating electric guitar, groovy R&B production and a banging rap verse from GRAY, Yugyeom finds himself with a clear standout. And that’s not mentioning the compelling, cinematic accompanying music video, where things get notably dark.
Yugyeom continues to build the album’s trajectory with ‘All About U’ and ‘Love The Way’, two feel-good, production-heavy songs with a laid-back summer vibe. Both songs also feature guest artists: Loco on the former, and AOMG head Jay Park and Punchnello on the latter.
It’s also worth noting that all the featured artists on ‘Point Of View: U’ are affiliated or signed under AOMG, including GRAY and DeVita. While collaborations between labelmates can sometimes feel unnecessary – just take a look at artist-founded labels in the US – each feature on this project adds to the overall quality of the songs and, more importantly, do not feel like a forced attempt to legitimise Yugyeom’s entry into the world K-R&B.
On the final stretch of the EP, Yugyeom takes the opportunity to showcase the lighter, airy side of his vocal abilities – arguably the best quality of his versatile voice. ‘Falling In Love’, produced by Cha Cha Malone, who is best known as one of Park’s most frequent collaborators and producers, sounds like an upgraded version of the already-beloved ‘Focus’ by Jus2, the GOT7 sub-unit Yugyeom formed in 2019 with Jay B. Meanwhile, the sophisticated guitar melodies and a soft piano instrumental on ‘When U Fall’ bring out the gentle, emotional quality of the singer’s voice.
For fans of GOT7 who feel that the individual group members were held back from reaching their full creative potential, you’ll be happy to hear that on ‘Point Of View: U’, Yugyeom is using his newfound freedom to assert his independence and make a clear statement about the type of artist he wants to be.
While the project may not be the most diverse solo debut, the EP goes a long way in helping to shed the constraints that normally comes with being an “idol”. Moreover, with AOMG, the singer appears to have found a home that will effectively nurture his budding artistry. If nothing else, ‘Point Of View: U’ is proof that Yugyeom will be able to stand on his own in times to come.
- Release date: June 17
- Record label: AOMG