Akdong Musician have long been a favorite of mine, and it’s seemed like a lifetime since they had a proper comeback. Though kpop as a whole continues to become more musically diverse, there are no easy comparisons to this quirky sibling duo. For their new album, we’re treated to double title tracks, with Re-Bye being the first.
Re-Bye is the slower of the two songs, harnessing a baroque jazz style to create a track that feels as much of a performance as a pop song. Immediately, we’re treated to Suhyun’s lilting vocals, which imbue the hook with an old-fashioned charm. As Re-Bye continues, the piano is joined by cinematic strings and a loose drum beat. As usual with the group, it’s within the vocal interplay between siblings Suhyun and Chanhyuk that much of the charm is unraveled. They have a vocal chemistry forged from their close relationship, and that gives even a more subdued track like this plenty of playful invention.
When it comes to assigning a rating, my feelings for the song come down to personal taste. It’s hard to slight Re-Bye in any way, since AKMU’s musicianship is always on point. But, for me the duo is at their best when the tempo is high and the fun-factor is on full display. 200% remains one of my favorite kpop songs of all time, and I long for a return to that youthful, bubbly sound. That said, it’s unfair to expect that Akdong Musician’s output will remain static. There’s simply too much untapped creativity to repeat the same format over again.