Review

Song Review: RM (BTS) – Wild Flower (ft. Youjeen)

RM - Wild FlowerBefore I share my thoughts about this song, it’s probably wise to address the elephant in the room — or the elephant on Twitter, to be more specific.

Being my occasionally cantankerous self, I recently made a comment about the MAMA daesang award-winners of the past eight years. Look, I really don’t care about MAMA — or awards in general. Kudos to the winners, but it’s never been something I’ve invested much energy in. Still, I couldn’t help but notice that over eight years and 29 available awards, the daesang recipients have consisted of a whopping… five artists. I understand that events like MAMA are largely sales-based. I’m not disputing the validity of them, but it is kind of depressing (or maybe just boring) to see such a lack of variety. I don’t think it’s healthy for any industry — music or otherwise — to become so dependent on one or two exemplars for too long.

Anyway… since then, this tweet has gone viral. As of this writing, it’s been viewed over three million times. The BTS fandom has latched on and unleashed the full brunt of their rancor. I’ve been reported and sent death wishes (it’s not the first time!), but most of these “fans” have simply celebrated the fact that their definitely-not-K-pop champions made a “Kpoppy” like myself depressed. I’m sure some of them will find their way to this review to continue their crusade. If they can’t be civil, they will be blocked. For whatever reason, there’s a deep well of anger and a hair-trigger defensiveness within this fandom. At its worst, it’s truly unhinged and seems quite miserable to me.

Well, despite the language in my tweet I’m not depressed or sad. Like I said, the MAMAs are a blip on my radar. That now-infamous comment was a flippant observation made during my lunch break. But, I do care about a robust music landscape. I’ve always been a musical omnivore who enjoys uncovering new songs and artists that click with me. The more variety we have at the top of the pack, the better off we all are. Congrats to BTS and other artists for their record-breaking wins. However, there’s a vast world of excellent music beyond these top few artists. I hope folks are curious enough to uncover their own personal standouts. That discovery can be one of life’s greatest joys.

With that long and dramatic introduction out of the way, it’s time to dig into the latest of BTS’s solo offerings. I mean, it’s a perfect day for me to write about BTS again… right?

(**insert nervous laughter here**)


Leader RM has released mixtapes before, so Wild Flower (들꽃놀이) isn’t a solo debut. But like Jin and J-Hope before him, these 2022 songs feel weightier given the group’s current status. It’s been fun to see how BTS functions as soloists, with different personalities and tastes tackling different genre elements. So far, rock music has been a surprising touchstone linking these projects together. I was quite partial to Jin’s recent The Astronaut, which leveraged its anthemic, soft rock influence to great effect.

Wild Flower is also anthemic, though less glossy in execution. The song has a welcome sense of grit, lending it cathartic energy that echoes some of BTS’s strongest work. I’m sure it will resonate most for those firmly entrenched in the BTS mythos, but even if you know nothing about the group you can still feel the emotion. A cinematic blend of strings, guitar and resounding percussion brings this pathos to life and keeps the soundscape interesting throughout. The song feels a bit overlong in places, but it has enough push and pull to maintain a sense of movement.

For me, the real standout is guest vocalist Youjeen. This is the first time I’m hearing her, though her career stretches back to the early 2000’s. She cites many Western rock acts as influences, which is funny because her performance in Wild Flower immediately reminded me of Alanis Morissette. She elevates a so-so melodic hook, making for a stirring centerpiece that compliments RM’s verses with a showier flourish that feels well-earned.

Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

Grade: B

77 thoughts on “Song Review: RM (BTS) – Wild Flower (ft. Youjeen)

  1. Good living heck this album is good. I loved every song on it. He started it with an Erykah Badu feature and then brought in Anderson Paak. Go to jail RM. You automatically have my whole heart. This song is very pretty and so is the video. I didn’t expect anything less from him. His style just has always worked for me. This was one of my most anticipated projects this year and it did not disappoint.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. The track list for this came out while I was hanging out with a group of non-kpop fans and they all thought it was pretty cool and spoke well for him that he had Erykah Badu doing a guest spot. I really like RM as a rapper and vocalist – it hasn’t felt like he’s had much influence on BTS’ english-language output, but this whole album feels like something he might have actually cared about and really showcases his versatility. I think I’ll be listening to this a lot.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Me encantan tus reseñas llevo dos años leyendo tus artículos y me encanta el profesionalismo que entregas a cada uno. Y tus reseñas se asimilan con la mayoría de las críticas de Billboard a las mejores canciones por año.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. It’s good. RM and Youjeen complement eachother very well. Might make it onto my vitamin drain playlist.

    Still, J-Hope’s release remains the best of BTS’ solo work this year. By far.

    Also, MAMA and MMA are joke awards, like most year end shows. Imagine winning album and artist of the year with 3 new songs.

    Liked by 8 people

    • The kind of people who attacked you are a big reason why ended up distancing myself from ARMYs, even if I still love BTS’s music. I know that most fans are decent people but the sheer size of the fandom has made it very hard to find a fan space that’s not riddled with toxicity and I value my own sanity over interacting with other fans.

      Are you planning to do a review/ranking of the award show performances this year by any chance ? There’s been a few I really enjoyed for both MMA and MAMA and I’m curious as to what you thought about them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I usually do a write-up for MMA/MAMA but over the past few years my interest in them has lowered considerably. I haven’t even watched any of MAMA yet this year and only checked out a couple of MMA performances. Which would you recommend?

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        • I watched a fair number of MAMA, and I have nothing to recommend. Broadly speaking, I thought that they did not use the size of the stage well, resembling moreslightly larger version of a regular music show performance than anything special. The stage was enormous, the arena was enormous, and the performances will still in small tight formation for a stage a fraction of the size.

          Also DARK, the lights were DARK, how did anyone see anything in the arena itself, it was hard enough to see what was going on a small phone screen and the cameras were centered right on the action.

          I have not yet watched MMA.

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          • Did you watch Stray Kids Venom/Maniac? Obviously I’m biased but I thought they did interesting stuff with the stage. Memorably they sprinted down that platform with all of the backup dancers like they were all being pursued by a humongous starving bear 😭

            Liked by 1 person

            • I thought it was better than most, but I was distracted by all the visuals – the flashing graphics, the light up facemasks what could they be made of, the giant CGI spider on top of the cube, etc. For Maniac, how much of the performance was playing to the camera directly, again, not the audience.

              Also, DARK.

              But mostly, this and others, I was wondering about the lack of effect use of space. How closed in, small dimension, it is. Part of this is bias as I have been watch marching bands filling an entire football field while darling daughter is in band, 100 yards or meters of sound and movement and drama. I mean, check out this, Carolina Crown “e=mc2”. No CGI, no pre-recorded background, just flags and a bench. The illusion at 11:31 just blows my mind.
              ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q6MJSfjXUgQ

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  5. His collab ‘WINTER FLOWER’ with Younha was incredible with it having (for me) one of the best and powerful choruses I’ve heard (might be my love for Younha talking). This song follows its predecessor. I really really like this.

    This song contains the same aspects that made WINTER FLOWER Great. It’s got an emotional and incredibly powerful chorus. The emotional instrumental contrasting with his raspy voice / rapping sounds so good. I love younjeen’s singing in this song. I rate this a 10/10 honestly. It’s a rare 10/10 from the first listen for me. I LOVE how emotional this is. I’ll definitely be listening to this on repeat for a long long time.

    Liked by 6 people

    • I definitely thought of Winter Flower as well. For now I prefer Winter Flower (might be my own love of Younha talking) and I don’t like either as much as his guest spot on eAeon’s Don’t, but it’s in really good company.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. yeah i saw the tweet and the fans that attacked you completely missed the point of what you were tryna say

    there’s a huge lack of variety in MAMA award show wins considering its just a giant popularity contest and not an actual indicator of quality (stares directly at the Flopscars and their Best Animated Feature award, encanto DID NOT deserve it), and the fact ARMYs took it as an attack on their fave shows that whole point went completely over their head and how terminally online they are

    anyway imma run into my hut and prepare for the storm in the comments (and maybe fight off some nerds)

    Liked by 8 people

  7. I hope ARMYs take the time to read this review (and other BTS reviews) to know you aren’t “salty” about BTS and listen to the music constructively. It would be a miracle if half of the toxic side could acknowledge your review maturely.

    Anyway, this is a solid surprise. I agree that the guest singer is the star here. This reminds me of the song “Going Crazy” by Yongguk and Song Ji-Eun.

    Liked by 8 people

  8. Oh nick! I absolutely saw the whole thing going around your tweet. People misinterpreted your point. I just hope you’re okay right now.

    As for me, I just listened to the album, and then watch the music video. During my album initial listen, that soaring vocals of youjeen CAUGHT ME OFF GUARD. i had full shivers. a whole goosebumps. IT WAS THAT GREAT. I even cried lol ( this might sound hyperbole but i REALLY CRIED like whew that voice is so fucking powerful )
    RM, really does go all out on this album. What do you mean you have the ERYKAH BADU, TABLO, ANDERSON PAAK on the same album?????????? This whole album is bonkers. Definitely his strongest work.
    9/10. Can we get buried treasure from this album? I think All Day or Yun should be one.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hey Nick! I’ve never commented here before but I’ve religiously read your blog since I first started listening to k-pop in 2019. I love your features and reviews and have found some amazing songs thanks to you (especially the 2nd gen deep dives I’ve done!) and always feel pleased when our opinions of a song match- I will die on the hill that Navillera by Gfriend and The Chaser by Infinite are the two best k-pop songs ever. I saw your tweet make its way round Twitter and thought to myself ‘gosh he’s right surely there can be more variety even if MAMA is a joke’ and went on my way and I’m incredibly saddened that you’re received such hate over an incredibly innocuous comment. I have plenty of issues with k-pop but fundamentally I love it for the concepts and larger-than-life nesss I don’t often find in other pop music and want to see it flourish and improve, like I would for anything I care about. I’ve decided to go back through your posts this year and leave some more comments (mostly a girl group and soloist stan with the exceptions of mainly shinee/infinite/bts!) to thank you for the joy you’ve given me in my morning routine. This blog makes me love k-pop more and that’s not something I say lightly!

    Anyway, the song.. RM and Jin are my BTS biases and I think I prefer The Astronaut to this. I love RM’s verses, youjeen sounds fantastic oh my GOD, but I can’t help but be a little disappointed at how collab-heavy this album is. I like the songs fine but I’m not familiar with the artists he’s collabing with and would prefer for it to have been more RM-focused. I was excited for an Official RM solo album, so am left feeling like I didn’t get that. This one is my favourite song off Indigo though!

    -Zia

    Liked by 5 people

  10. I think it is fine, but not compelling. I have listened to the full album this morning, For most of the album, it sounds like the two artists are not in the same room or even on the same continent. Not the first time for duets to sound phoned in, not the last time. When duets sound like this, the collaboration really is just a vanity project, name dropping and cred building, not art.

    Is there anything more beautiful to feel as a musician than singing in harmony with another human? Have we become so glued to our screens that being with someone is foreign?

    The Tablo song sounds the best for this reason. It sounds like they were at least in the same studio, at the same time, feeding off each other’s energy.

    For this song, it almost sounds like two different songs, her part and his part, without synergy. I think Youjeen outperforms RM here, upstages him, because her performance has a significant and noticeable more passion than RM’s, and a surprising rawness as well. For a “solo” song, I don’t understand the point of releasing a duet single where the other artist outperforms the title artist. I would have released the Tablo one.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. This song is so very beautiful and so very sad. From Reflection (one of my favorite BTS songs) to pretty much everything on mono, RM’s solo work has always had this through-line of intense personal introspection that is almost painful. This felt hugely cathartic and for that reason I don’t think I’d want to listen to it again. I’m not sure if someone who hasn’t followed BTS in the past few years would feel the same way.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. I love this song a lot. It’s been a while since I had a song pull at my heartstrings REALLY hard.

    The rock influences are top notch and RM’s rapping skills were executed very well in the song. In addition, Youjeen’s vocals are so powerful and adds to the emotional factor.

    I’ve heard the album’s solid so I’ll check the rest of the songs out later today.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Alright, I just finished listening to the album and I didn’t expect it to be very solid, considering that the majority is full of old school hip-hop midtempo songs. RM is an amazing musical artist and I feel that it’s his best work yet.

      My favorite song right now has to be his collaboration with Colde, “Hectic”. I didn’t expect a very funky and upbeat song from them, knowing what I know about Colde’s music, so this was a pleasant surprise.

      Are we getting a “Buried Treasure” review for Indigo? I think there are a few songs from the album (including “Hectic”) that Nick might like knowing his musical taste…

      Liked by 3 people

  13. I have to agree that youjeen was really great on this track. I can still hear voice afterwards. RM sounds good, but as a person not fluent in Korean his words don’t hit as hard as they might for someone who is. The English sub didn’t really help. I’m not sure when I would listen to this though, maybe when I’m in the dumps

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’m sure the companies are aware of the sort of behavior the fans engage in sometimes. But, I think they don’t care as long as they’re making money. They’re not doing a Nicki Minaj and egging the fans on, but just letting this stuff happen is ridiculous. Even Beyonce has told her fans to calm down, I wish kpop artists/companies did the same.

    Like

    • I know this isn’t always a popular opinion, but I truly believe that BTS/HYBE have an obligation to speak to the fanbase about this.

      I mean, at this point it’s a known and documented feature of this particular fandom. And given the profit and goodwill they’ve made off of campaigns surrounding mental health and inclusion, it feels a little complicit not to — at the very least — open a conversation regarding the coordinated malice that spews from a sizable portion of the fandom.

      Liked by 10 people

      • Yeah, it makes me question how authentic those messages really are. BTS has promoted the idea of loving yourself, but the behavior their fans do sometimes don’t seem like the actions of people who love themselves

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s similar to the James Cordon joke incident. It would have been nice for RM (since he’s the English speaker) to say on TV, “Hey you don’t have to like the joke but maybe don’t threaten James with death and if you don’t you aren’t with us” I know they have to walk a fine line with the fans and the suits above them because money money money and KPop being unique about the artists being your best friend but it honestly gets to be too much. I consider myself ARMY but this “everyone hates us because we were underdogs” narrative that the fans cling to, and honestly pushed by the boys themselves, has gotten really played out. It’s not 2013 anymore. They are doing just fine. It’s almost to the point of a religious experience rather than liking someone’s music.

        Liked by 5 people

        • I think a lot of people also forget the joint management contract with JYP Entertainment that helped establish Big Hit. I guess I could buy “underdogs” in some sense, but the company was never some run-out-of-a-basement start-up with no funding or industry clout. It all feels like an invented fairytale to pacify some sort of “us against the world” narrative that fans like these thrive upon. Even during those debut years, the group got plenty of attention.

          I know because I was there and I remember those first few albums/singles.

          Liked by 5 people

          • Yep. And sadly, I imagine the narrative of “everyone forgot about them when they went to the military” is already being cooked up by someone some where. As I said, I love ’em but it’s exhausting. But we aren’t all crazy and I’m sorry they went after you. Long time lurker but I enjoy your stuff. Keep up the good work.

            Liked by 3 people

  15. It’s scary that people think a commensurate response to an opposing opinion is a death threat. Some people will even threaten shooting up places which should not be taken lightly.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. I’m an ARMY, although I rarely put that label on myself since fandoms are always chaotic. I intentionally don’t follow or engage in any awards or any type of voting, because the bias is too strong at this point (not even just for BTS). I even muted the words “vote” and “voting” while MAMA was happening. These awards are not a fair assessment of an artists skill or the music’s quality. And this goes well beyond K-Pop and into every large-scale entertainment awards system, so it is honestly never going to get better in my opinion unless massive overhauls happen. So while I’m happy to see BTS do well, I’m also sad for all of the other artists who could be up there too if given a shred of opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. If it makes you feel any better you probably weren’t the only one to be dogpiled that day. A lot of army are chronically online and actively seek out “hate” so they can ratio and threaten someone for their views and then pat themselves on the back for a “job well done” in defending 7 dudes that have no idea they even exist. A sad existence to live tbh.

    Anyway RM and Jhope were always my two faves from BTS, I like their solos more often than not. Probably still prefer Jhope’s material but still a nice effort.

    Liked by 7 people

  18. Honestly reading these comments I thought you said something “scandalous” 💀 but seeing the actual comment you made I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. This is why I’m forever scared of the kpop fandom culture. I have even read reviews of certain songs on this site which sound more “scandalous” than that comment of yours… 😂 Hope it blows over soon

    I don’t care about the voting either and I just watched MAMA for the cool stages and performances lol. Really loved that Cheer Up stage – nice to see all those gg together; a real treat – wish we had more stuff like this really…

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Always my fear to say anything about BTS. That’s why I just decided to be a quiet fan, I buy their merch, go to the concerts, and never tweet about them. Haha. Thank you for your articles, though. I like reaching your reviews even when I don’t agree with them, it’s nice to see other people’s perspectives, and I never take it personally.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Sorry about the wrath of some ARMY, but please remember not all ARMY are that way. I do not condone the attacks and cancel culture unless it’s blatant racist attack on BTS, which we’ve seen a few of. With BTS having 40+ millions of fans, I would venture to say the majority are of sound mind and have no time to engage in such negative interactions on Twitter or any other social media platforms. Most truly enjoy their music, their concerts and their shows (Run BTS, Bon Voyage, In The Soop).

    Liked by 1 person

  21. bts aren’t shit for consistently encouraging their deranged fanbase in their behavior. just a bunch of awful people, idols and fans.

    Like

    • Since your comment seems confrontational without a purpose, why bother? I see no reason to apologize for the behavior of a certain segment of our fandom when that’s not what you’re actually seeking.

      Like

  22. Ok I see what your saying about BTS winning all the awards but I would like to first apologize on behalf of the people whom sent “death threats” and also disagree with your statement. Awards like best selling kpop artist and many others are strictly dependent on the data and if no data is even used, we can use common sense which is the fact that BTS probably is much more famous and outperforms many of the other artists in the industry so it is fair for them to be winning the “major” awards.
    It is understandable for them to be much more commonly chosen for those awards in the past years because there has been a major growth in online communication and media influence which has made them more and more famous and well known, which was not possible in the years before 2010 as there was much less forms of communication present.
    In conclusion, BTS winning major awards “all the time” is not a scam or a way of pulling back all those new artists. The industry is competitive and people with good enough connection, outstanding performances, and good songs, can make their way up the charts much better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally get this perspective, but I think you’re misunderstanding my point. My issue was never with BTS specifically, nor do I find any problem with the qualifications for awards like this. I just wish the landscape of “top K-pop artists” was wider and more varied in general.

      The way K-pop often works, fans divide themselves into tribes and go full bore on whatever their favorite act may be — regardless of varying music quality and other, more interesting options on the market. For someone who actively seeks out as many different artists as they can, seeing the same three or four names year after year performing at all the year-end shows and sweeping all the awards gets very dull.

      Again, this isn’t a BTS problem specifically, though they’re easy targets since they’re the biggest act out there. It’s not any idol group’s fault. It’s just the way the industry and idol fandom psychology works. I’m just having an “old man yells at cloud” moment, imaging a more equitable, exciting K-pop market that never has (and likely never will) exist.

      Of course, nuance is hard to express on twitter!

      Liked by 8 people

      • I totally get your point and it’s why I find awards show boring, but it’s not exclusive to kpop. Western awards shows are the same with the same faces winning the same awards, which is why I don’t watch them. It’s not that those people (kpop or west) are the only ones generating good music or even that they’re creating good music at all…it’s because of who they are and because the networks need people to watch to earn money. The big names draw the big views. I read your site (and others) to find quality music to which I would otherwise never be exposed. Thank you for that.

        Like

  23. Well the MAMA have clear criteria, and the winner choosen based on those criteria. Not yours. End of discussion. Many people feel happy and content only by their fave. Dont need to know the whole singer in this universe. And that’s also valid.

    Like

    • And he also has the right to share his opinion on the matter. End of discussion. His opinion is valid, and you have no right to attack someone because of it.

      Like

  24. >>Curious as to WHY your “critique” list doesn’t include LYRICS ??? As a singer/ songwriter myself, I think RM is simply a genius, using double entendres, ver-bage + mad wordplay in 3 diff. languages + deep, raw, honest lyrics, along w/ crazy either fierce or gentle flow, cadences + timing (yet top 3 SK fastest rap- pers), on par w/Top Amer. rappers. Per collab. w/WalE, WalE said RM’s one of the most brilliant artists he ever met + would like his farewell album to be w/ just RM + writing + producing!! RM ‘s goal was to serve his song/words, for all to hear + re-listen +NO ego about YJ’s voice-it’s why HE chose her, so your cynical comment falls flat….>>Meantime, this song is simply: quiet FIRE I’ll be listening to, for years to come!!>>ALL= KOMCA Songwriters/Producers since teens +ALL = have B.A.s + going for their MASTERS!! (Eldest Jin has his>^now Military Dec.13) >>>NEED NO RESPONSE… 🙂

    Like

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