The Triumphs of a Leader with mono.
If Hope World came crashing the charts, then mono. further raised the bar….
RM is the leader, rapper and spokesperson of global boy band “BTS”. RM is known as a highly skilled producer with years of experience and accredited involvement in the writing of BTS songs. RM also received acknowledgements through his solo collaborations with great rappers like Warren G, Wale, Tiger JK, MFBTY etc.
RM was the first BTS member to drop his mixtape named RM in 2015. On Oct 2018, RM announced on Twitter that he will release his new work named mono. On October 23, 2018, mono. was released which RM called it a “playlist” rather than a mixtape (so I would call it a playlist to respect RM’s decision).
Like the previous mixtapes released by BTS members, mono. was released on SoundCloud, Apple Music and Spotify. mono. gained commercial and critical acclaim for its quality with the songs being deep, thoughtful and soothing. Let’s talk about mono. in different aspects.
The meaning of mono. is thought-provoking. When we check the meaning of the word “mono”, it means “one”, “‘single”, “alone”, “monochrome” (has one color or hue) or “monophonic (using one musical instrument without any chords). It is interesting because all the meanings sort of connect with each other and all the meanings can be seen in the playlist. In an interview, Honne said that mono. stands for “Rap MOnster No more” (of course there is no confirmation from RM about this). In the end, it is up to the reader to decide what interpretation he or she wants to follow.
In mono., RM collaborated with three different artists in some tracks: Honne, eAeon and Nell.
Honne is a British electronic duo who focus on contemporary R&B and EDM music. They worked on the song “Seoul” with RM. eAeon is the lead singer of the Korean Indie rock band MOT who contributed his vocals for “Badbye”. Nell is also a Korean indie rock band who is well renowned for its dark and kaleidoscopic sound. Nell added its signature sound in the track “Everythingoes”.
With artists of different styles in music, RM combined different sounds into a musical cohesive playlist which is complemented with RM’s rapping and vocal skills.
mono.’s success in iTunes was mind blowing. RM surpassed his own group BTS and became the Korean artist with the most #1s by getting #1 in 90 countries in the iTunes albums chart. RM is the first Korean artist to reach over 90 countries which signifies the growth and popularity of BTS around the world.
It didn’t come as a surprise when mono. managed to break previous records for a Korean soloist in Billboard. RM’s mono. charted at #26 in Billboard 200 with only less than three days of charting, breaking j-Hope’s record as the highest ranking Korean soloist.
Besides that, mono. peaked at #2 in both US Independent Albums and World Albums. In the World Digital Song Sales, six songs from mono. charted led by “Seoul” at #5.
mono. further raised the bar in breaking the previous records in Billboard for Korean music.
Global Music Charts
RM’s playlist charting in multiple music charts around the globe with no promotions solidified RM’s strength as a competitive Korean artist at the global scale.
In the Canadian chart, he broke j-Hope’s record and became the highest charting Korean soloist in the Billboard Canadian Albums chart with mono. at #22.
Outside North America, mono. managed to debut in numerous official charts. He also became the highest charting Korean Soloist in some countries’ album charts like Spain, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden etc.
The chart below shows mono.’s global rankings for different music charts.
Update: mono. also debuted in the Slovak Albums chart at #15 (dated “201843” in SK - ALBUMS - TOP 100).
Critical Acclaim & Impact
The leader came and the leader conquered. Indeed, RM’s mono. captured the hearts and appreciation of both fans and critics. For me, I would describe mono. in three words: in-depth, expressive and soothing.
mono. was given a 4/5 star rating by NME stating the playlist as “atmospheric and reflective” which shows its “impressive growth since its predecessor’s release”. Vulture praised the playlist by playfully calling it a “free therapy your body, soul, and bank account collectively require”. MTV also noticed the depth of the playlist by saying, “it has listeners deep in their feelings”.
CelebMix praised RM who has been “able to brilliantly convey a variety of emotions”. AFFINITY described the playlist “full of meaning, soul, love, and self-reflection with a poignant, soothing, and smooth feel to each of the tracks”. Beat also described the playlist as “calming, a bit melancholy, hopeful, and remarkably soothing”. More praises were given by Billboard.
mono. also entered in some music year-end Lists, further proving the mixtape’s success in the critical aspect. It entered the Billboard’s “The 20 Best K-Pop Albums of 2018: Critics’ Picks” list at #6 and Bravo’s “10 Best K-pop albums of the year” at #6 too. The track “everythinggoes” charted at #18 in MTV’s “The 18 Best K-pop B-sides Of 2018” while the track “forever rain” entered the Thrillist’s “The Best Music Videos of 2018” at #48.
mono. is indeed a testament of RM’s growth as a rapper, lyricist, producer and vocalist. The playlist proves how much RM has grown in expressing his feelings, perception and outlook. mono. is a healer for a listener’s heart and soul. If you want to fall into the depths of emotions, then mono. is the one to check out.
3 tracks from mono. have their own music videos on YouTube. Check them out below.