“Rover” by KAI
Kai is a long-standing member of Exo, one of the most-successful K-pop boy bands of the last decade. As these stories tend to go, he has also ventured into the realm of solo releases, dropping the EPs “Kai” in 2020 and “Peaches” in 2021, both of which performed exceptionally well in his homeland of South Korea.
So as of 13 March 2023, Kai has gotten around to coming out with a third extended play (or mini album, as they’re sometimes referred to in his part of the world), on again under SM Entertainment, the same label behind Exo. The name of the project is “Rover”, and as such this is the title track of the six-song project.
THE INTERNATIONAL TEAM BEHIND “ROVER”
The producers of this song are IMLAY and Monoir, who respectively come from South Korea and Romania.
Monoir also contributed to the writing of Kai alongside the international assemblage made up of the following:
- Gabriel Brandes (Sweden)
- YoungChance (South Korea)
- YNGA (Sweden)
- Valentina Nikova (Bulgaria)
- Dara (Bulgaria)
To further note, “Rover” relies on an interpolation of “Mr. Rover”, a track that Dara dropped in 2022.
EXO MEMBERS SHOW KAI SOME LOVE
South Korea is in the unfortunate position of having its bloodiest rival, North Korea, as its neighbor. We all know that North Korea is very militaristic, but South Korea also has to deal with the ramifications of this reality. For instance, all able-bodied South Korean males are required to spend a year and a half in the military, and this even goes for the utmost of music stars.
As such Exo, which is currently nine-members’ deep, hasn’t been whole since 2018, as respective members go about fulfilling their conscription. (Kai, being one of the younger members of the crew, has yet to serve his own.) But they did reunite upon the release of this track and more specifically in the name of biggin’ up its music video.
“Rover” is rendered primarily in Korean, but in this case we do have an official Genius translation to rely on. And it is relatively easy to ascertain what Kai is getting at. That would be something along the lines of encouraging the listener, particularly within the context of social media it would seem, to forsake fakeness and be truer to self.
And you may be wondering what Kai referring to himself as “Mr. Rover” has to do with all of this. Kai is an artist who, as an individual actually, has always been associated with the concept of openness. And “Mr. Rover” is one of his aliases, if you will, which personifies that particular character trait.
So as explained by the singer, this track “has a story about a wander and a message of waiting to be free”. So based on that explanation, we will take it that the addressee is akin to a wanderer, i.e. someone trying to figure out his or her place in the world and relatedly has what can be deemed self-esteem issues.
“Stop, 이름은 버려
Mr. Rover, rover, rover
I’m coming over, over, over
Call me Rover, rover, rover
I’m coming over
이름은 버려, ‘Mr.’”
Conclusively, what we are met with here is a song whereas the vocalist is encouraging the listening audience to be more confident in their true selves as opposed to “illusions” or what have you. Ultimately, it’s up to the listener to decide what Kai actually means in that regard.
But in the meantime he, “Mr. Rover”, is serving a living, breathing example of enjoying that type of lifestyle, someone who, if you “ride with” him, does in fact have the ability to lead adherents to ‘freedom’.