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‘FACE’ Album Review: A Seductive Reflection On Fame and Loneliness in Jimin’s Solo Debut

3.5 Stars

'FACE' by Jimin was released on March 24.
'FACE' by Jimin was released on March 24. By Courtesy of Jimin / Big Hit Music
By Jen A. Hughes, Crimson Staff Writer

As the first vocalist from K-pop supergroup BTS to release a full album, Jimin’s “FACE” is one of the most highly anticipated releases of 2023. While Jimin has previously released solo tracks under the BTS moniker — “Lie,” “Intro: Serendipity,” and “Filter” — “FACE” marks Jimin’s official debut as a solo artist following his January collaboration, “Vibe,” with BIGBANG’s Taeyang. On “FACE” Jimin sets a high bar for his contemporaries, taking listeners on a genre-bending exploration of his inner psyche, defining a groovy and seductive sound along the way.

“Face-off” serves as an apt opener to the album, detailing a messy break-up with hints at the themes of loneliness, escapism, and introspection to follow on later tracks. The song opens with an ominous and haunting rendition of “Flea Waltz,” growing increasingly distorted before cutting out and transitioning to the equally eerie opening notes of “Face-off.” Underlaid with a trap beat driving the song forward, “Face-off” builds to an intense and bitter climax as Jimin laments “Tonight I don’t want to be sober / Pour it up, it’s all fuckin over.”

As the album’s second track, “Interlude : Dive” comes startling early, serving as a transition rather than a stand alone song. Yet, it fits the album’s storyline well, moving from the outwardly targeted anger of “Face-off” to the dreamlike introspection of “Like Crazy,” as listeners hear sounds pulled from across Jimin’s day. From the cheers of fans at BTS’s “Yet to Come in Busan” Concert to the sound of a car starting and a drink pouring into a glass, the interlude brings listers from the highs of celebrity life to the lows of lonely nights.

“Like Crazy” is a clear standout from the album, serving as the project’s title track and referencing the 2011 film of the same name. The seductive synthpop single opens with the soaring and breathy vocals that Jimin has become known for as a member of BTS. Filling out the vocals on the pre-chorus and adding a distinct synth bass, the track evolves from the whispered promises of a lover to a willful escape into late nights and alcohol as Jimin repeats “I’d rather be / lost in the lights.” Skillfully toeing the line between danceable beats and catchy melodies, “Like Crazy” leans into its ’80s influence, heightened by the accompanying choreography and styling, both evoking the style of Michael Jackson. The album’s sixth track is a full English version of the song, paving the way for US performances including the song’s debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

In many ways, “Alone” is a clear response to the energetic high and promised escapism of “Like Crazy.” Rather than escaping to parties and crowds, “Alone” explores the self-hatred that emerges when the music and lights disappear. In an interview with Dispatch, Jimin has stated that “FACE” represents a chronological retelling of his emotions throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Nowhere is this clearer than on “Alone,” where the monotonous repetition of each day in isolation forces self-reflection during lonely nights. The introspective track ends ominously as Jimin sings “it's gonna be alright” while “lie, lie, lie, lie, lie, lie” echoes through the background.

If the other tracks were meant to blend seamlessly into one another, “Set Me Free, Pt.2” shocks listeners with a jarring change of pace by beginning with ominous stacked harmonies sung by a full choir before a bombastic beat drop. While “FACE” is a tour across different genres, on this track Jimin returns to BTS’s hip-hop roots embracing a level of grandeur on scale with that of BTS’s “ON.” Unfortunately, the grand scale of the song eclipses its melodic merit which gets lost in an overproduced cacophony of horns, choirs, and sirens, ending an otherwise poignant and thoughtful album on a sour note.

Luckily, the physical CD comes with an extra hidden track which follows two minutes and 45 seconds of silence after the English version of “Like Crazy.” This bonus track — “Letter” — is a delightful ballad complete with a harmonica solo and backing vocals from fellow BTS member Jungkook. While the love song might have been out of place on an album that's central theme is introspection and self-reflection, the song's absence from streaming services will be lamented for years to come.

While mini albums as short as “FACE” — just five tracks and an English version of “Like Crazy” — can often sound like a disjointed collection of B-sides, the album sets itself apart through seamless transitions that takes listeners from track to track telling a cohesive story of doubt and discovery. While each song can be listened to individually, it’s clear that it was designed to be listened to from start to finish in a single setting. With a runtime of just under 20 minutes, Jimin takes listeners on a journey of heartbreak, avoidance, introspection, loneliness, and eventually, hesitant self-acceptance.

—Staff writer Jen A. Hughes can be reached at You can find her on twitter @JenHughes_.

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