bts v friends review

Friends-to-lovers is a classic trope for a reason. It’s a journey full of risk and tension, one in which the whole future of a friendship hangs in the balance. If things work out, great! But if they don’t? Get ready for things to become increasingly excruciatingly awkward until one or both of you can no longer take it, and you become more and more distant from the other.

BTSV is aware of this danger on his new single, ‘Fri(end)s’, but that’s not going to hold him back from boldly venturing into the kind of romantic territory that should be out of bounds. “You’re in my head,” he croons in the opening line. “I had plans for the weekend / But wound up with you instead.” It’s an innocent enough start – but he quickly ramps things up into a convincing argument for throwing caution to the wind and stepping right out of the friend zone.

His reasoning is logical – he and his friend have each other’s backs, offering support and companionship (“You were there my lonely nights, yeah, keeping me together”). There’s already a flirty element to their relationship that goes beyond banter between mates (“Yeah, but friends don’t say words that / Make friends feel like more than just / Friends”). They’ve known each other for a long time – long enough that, presumably, V just knows this will work (“You and I go back to like ’09 it’s like forever”).

Each rationale is delivered with an intoxicating mix of complete assurance and lingering nerves; the latter made louder and larger by the syncopated beat that underpins the whole song. It’s hard not to get swept up in the swirling mass of emotion and root for him and his daring proposition.

Despite those anxieties, ‘Fri(end)s’ doesn’t get bogged down in overthinking and what ifs – appropriate for a song with such a snappy runtime of just shy of two-and-a-half minutes. Instead, it’s breezy and a little cheeky, not least when V sings, “Got me deep in my feelings / When I should be in your bed”, a line so exploding with rizz, it practically winks at you through the speakers.

Sonically, the standalone single feels like a natural continuation of V’s 2023 album, ‘Layover’, without being a carbon copy of that record. ‘Fri(end)s’ is brighter and a little more upbeat, ‘Layover’’s smoky jazz bar atmosphere all but evaporated. The song still maintains the vintage feel of that album, though, with its waltzing time signature and soulful R&B that’s rooted in ’60s tradition.

bts v friends review
BTS’ V. Credit: Big Hit Music

It’s also a great showcase of V’s vocal abilities, highlighting the range in his vocals. It starts in that rich, luxurious baritone, rising and falling through falsetto flutters and stylistic sharps. Towards the song’s choir-backed climax, he adds a smooth, strong backing vocal that soars confidently to the end. The effortlessness with which he elegantly careens through registers is nothing short of stunning.

The only problem here is the song’s brevity – just as you become invested in V’s attempts to woo his pal, it’s over, snapping and shuffling into the distance. Its succinctness adds to the addictive quality of the track, but its make-up is so effectively simple it’s unlikely that would be negatively affected if it were fleshed out a little more. Spending a little more time on this rollercoaster ride of relationship roulette and in this vintage R&B dream could only ever be a good thing.

The post BTS’ V attempts to get out of the friend zone on addictive new single ‘Fri(end)s’ appeared first on NME.


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