South Korean singer and songwriter JAY B (Lim Jae-beom), who is also the leader of the K-pop group GOT7, has signed with H1GHER MUSIC which is owned by musician Jay Park. SOMO: FUME marks his first venture as a soloist with the label. It is a seven-track mini-album, featuring collaborations with artists Jay Park, WHEE IN (of MAMAMOO), JUNNY, g1nger and sokodomo. With JAY B composing and writing the tracks, H1GHER MUSIC and AOMG producers Cha Cha Malone, Gray, GroovyRoom and WOOGIE have also backed the album for composition. The mini-album was released on August 26, 2021.
Titled SOMO: FUME, SOMO stands for ‘Style Of My Own’ but it is also a play on Korean word ‘소모품/somopoom’ which means to consume. FUME is short for perfume by which JAY B hopes that this album is absorbed into everyone just like a perfume. The album is aimed at highlighting JAY B’s singing and songwriting prowess, and it succeeds at doing so. He dabbles with R&B genre and makes each track sultrier that the last. The mini-album is just over 19 minutes, and each track tells a story about a stage in a romantic relationship. Let’s take a closer look at JAY B’s story of his own as told in SOMO: FUME.
B.T.W. (ft. Jay Park) (Prod. Cha Cha Malone)
JAY B’s ‘B.T.W.’ is a sultry track to listen to from the start. With the signature ‘I need a Cha Cha beat boy’ to the trance-like music, the song kicks off to a promising start. Jay B doesn’t beat around the bush and with lyrics like – “Anywhere with you by the way / Imma show you everything by the way / Just trust and follow me” – makes a direct love confession and promises luxury, love and comfort for the love of his life. CEO of H1GHER MUSIC and a musician himself, Jay Park brings in the Korean-English rap verse in the song.
The music video for ‘B.T.W.’ brings in a funky vibrant palette of visuals. Jay B grooves to the beats and is soon joined by Jay Park prancing around in an airplane. In the music video, the viewers can clearly see that Jay B is enjoying every bit of this performance, be it the happy-go-lucky prancing around, or be it those smooth lyrical dance moves. His expressions and his singing perfectly reflect the song’s fun and dancing vibe.
AM PM (ft. WHEE IN) (Prod. Gray)
Ever been entranced or high on love that you feel hazy all day long? If you answer yes, then ‘AM PM’ is the one for you for it encapsulates that exact feeling. Jay B begins his monologue by posing questions to his love, and then goes on to confessing that be it “A.M., P.M, I can only picture you (I can only picture you) / A.M., P.M, all the time, (How do you think about it?) / I forget what’s important / You’re inside my head / A.M., P.M, wandering everyday.” WHEE IN soon echoes the feeling, and her inclusion signals that the feelings are mutual, literally. Her voice compliments Jay B’s satin-like vocals and matches the lazy tempo. The song plays on a laid-back vibe with mild guitar riffs and percussions, clubbed with synth-based music. Gray, who is known for songs like ‘Upside Down’, ‘Loco’, to name a few; lends a beautiful composition to ‘AM PM’ with the hazy beats.
FAME (ft. JUNNY) (Prod. GroovyRoom)
Known for songs like ‘Thank You’ and ‘Movie’, JUNNY is one of the popular names in the K-Indie world. Where JAY B enthralls the listeners with his breathy vocals, JUNNY does the same with his rap. The song is fast paced than the previous two. Imagine this song being played over a slide of images of a people captured in their happy moments. Sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? ‘Fame’ is peppered with groovy beats that can easily make one start tapping their feet. A love story that is so popular that it brings a lot of fame, JAY B paints a joyous picture with lyrics like “If I’m with you, everything is possible / We got the fame / Everybody surrounding us is looking at us / Capturing the frame”.
INTO YOU (ft. g1nger) (Prod. WOOGIE)
WOOGIE takes the wheel to compose this somber track. Gone are the sweet promises of luxury and love, JAY B’s music has taken a slightly sexy turn with Into You. The song is a confession of a physical attraction between two individuals, and it is portrayed with lyrics – “The rosе color makes them sweet / I’m sorry about being еxcited about your lips.” There is reluctance somewhere, but the attraction has overpowered all senses. JAY B lends a sensual feel with his husky, lazy vocals. The music with occasional trap beats, and the piano tunes are perfect for a song that is laced with sensuality.
SWITCH IT UP (ft. sokodomo) (Prod. Cha Cha Malone)
Released back in May 2021, one more song with the classic Cha Cha beats, we were introduced to ‘Switch It Up’ before the rest of the album. The song also introduced soloist JAY B to the world under his new label. Unlike ‘Into You’, in this track, JAY B sheds all inhibitions and reluctance when he sings “Just like a wave / Baby, ride my body / Girl, nice and calm.” By far the sexiest song from this bunch, JAY B set the theme for his solo EP with this song, even before the EP was released. He pairs up with rapper sokodomo, who brings in a nice leeway between Jay B’s vocals.
COUNT ON ME (Prod. GroovyRoom)The one track from the digital album, without a singing companion, ‘Count on Me’ presents a promising side of JAY B. Especially when he sings, “You don’t havе to look into people’s minds / You just need to look at me / I’ll bе honest with you”. The song plays on mild acoustic guitar beats paired with summery vibe to it. The song brings the love story telling to a comforting and settlingconclusion, with Jay B giving reassurances of trust and faith.
Overall, SOMO: FUME presents the listeners with a story from start to end. Just like we see in a rom-com movie, the stages of a romantic relationship are narrated here with a sensual feel to it. JAY B plays to his strengths as a vocalist and does a brilliant job at creating a hazy vibe with his songs. These songs are a must-have on any playlist, better if one wants to go on a road trip or even shake a leg in the living room. There’s one more song to the album, ‘Paranoia’ which is only available in the CD format. The song is quite different as it is not a romantic number but a story of a personal struggle. In one of his interviews with Teen Vogue, JAY B spoke about how the song is very personal to him as it comes from his experiences of struggling with mental health issues like clinical depression and panic disorder. Staying true to the title of the EP ‘Story of my own’, JAY B does present us with a story that is very much his own, and carries his own scent.
Watch the music video for B.T.W. (ft. Jay Park) (Prod. Cha Cha Malone) here:
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