After losing member Junhyuk, DAY6 is back as a five-piece to offer us another rockier alternative to traditional kpop. Their debut mini album was a very pleasant surprise last September, and luckily their new material ends up being more of the same. While Letting Go lacks some of the singalong quality that made Congratulations so much fun, it offers a more mature glimpse into the band’s potential.
Taking cues from 70’s psychedelic and stadium rock, the song begins in slow, harmony-rich fashion before gradually building to its cathartic, standout chorus. There’s some incredibly interesting production work at play, especially for an idol group. The moment the second chorus hits, with its wall of dense vocals, guitar and drums, it’s clear that the track is not your standard pop/rock radio single. The rap verse that follows fits surprisingly well given the song’s more classic genre origins, though the entire track is a hodgepodge of sounds that shouldn’t fit together but somehow do.
I’m actually very surprised that this was chosen as the single. Daydream is a very strong mini-album, but Letting Go is probably the song that sounds least like what you’d expect from a title track. As effective as the hook is, it’s atypical in structure and certainly not as hummable as their last single. These are actually some of the its strengths, but I do feel like the general public is missing out on the group’s dancier, more electronic side, which has composed a bulk of their albums so far. Still, it’s nice to hear influences from outside the kpop world in DAY6’s music. They could have easily gone a manufactured route, but they’re clearly in the game to give us more.