Mads Pae

BTS’ V Embarks on a Quest for Love on New Single FRI(END)S

Music Scene Media
Mar 16, 2024
2 min read
Photo courtesy of BigHit Entertainment

Before all of the BTS members began their mandatory service in the South Korean military, V, aka Kim Taehyung, confirmed in a Weverse post that he had prepared many projects to be released while he was away. Since then, he’s collaborated with singer-songwriter UMI on “wherever u r”, and he also acted alongside IU in the music video for her song, “Love wins all”. He’s continuing to make good on his word by releasing “FRI(END)S”, a soulful single about exploring the unclear boundaries that can sometimes arise between friendship and romance.

In September of 2023, V put out his solo project, Layover, creating a vintage and jazz-inspired world that is beautifully unique to him. “FR(IEND)S” is much brighter and upbeat than what is found in V’s EP, yet it feels like a smooth extension of his previous work. With his rich and luxurious baritone that can skillfully transform into a heart-fluttering falsetto, V shows signs of artistic evolution in this new track that makes the song soar and promises wonderful things to come in the future. 

There are many swirling and strong emotions that V conveys lyrically. He possesses logical reasoning for his conviction that propels him into venturing out of the bounds of friendship (‘And you were there [for] my lonely nights, yeah / Keeping me together / So wouldn’t it make sense if I was yours?’). Many listeners will be able to relate to having such a tangible two-way connection with someone and a longing for more. Floating in between the friend zone and the possibility of putting ‘the end in friends’, as V says, is an experience full of tension and nerves that he balances effortlessly. With a choir behind him and syncopated beats throughout this R&B-infused song, throwing caution to the wind in the name of love has never felt or sounded so weightless.

The corresponding music video begins with a visual of a rather empty home – a lonesome toothbrush in the bathroom and one box of takeout in the fridge. When V steps outside, he is immediately surrounded by couples, emphasizing his solitude. At the store, a restaurant, and a bus stop, he is repeatedly inconvenienced by the love around him. His frustration at his situation is masked by the indifference on his face, similar to how someone might not want to show their true feelings for another person. But as the music video progresses, viewers see him get thrust into a different reality where he wakes up to find he is blissfully in a relationship. Some of those opening shots get recreated with someone by his side. As the story loops and resets with vivid color and some cheeky smiles from V, the other couples that were once all over each other are now clearly unhappy instead. This second timeline ends much in the same way it began, and in the end, he wakes up with himself. Overall, it’s a quirky depiction of the different directions love can take. 

If there’s one lesson to extract from V’s timeless voice in this addictive new song, it’s that we should not drown in the weight of all the what-ifs that often plague us when navigating our emotions and relationships. Staying in angst for too long can lead to heartbreak before anything even has a chance to start, and while taking a risk is daunting, it also has the potential to lead to something (or someone) amazing.

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