I wasn’t a big fan of KNK’s debut a few months ago, and that hasn’t really changed. But, I also make sure never to write a group off based solely on their debut track. Rookie debuts often end up sounding unlike anything else in their discography, and this is definitely the case so far with KNK. Back Again is a quantum leap in quality, offering a classic k-pop sound that feels very refreshing in today’s globally-oriented Korean music scene.
Back Again fuses a high energy electronic dance beat with a melancholic undertone to create something that feels both propulsive and emotional. It’s a uniquely Korean pop song structure that was especially popular with boy groups from around 2011 to 2013. As the genre has continued to experiment and branch out internationally, we don’t hear as many songs with this sound. I’m delighted that KNK has picked it up, and they do an admirable job with it. The first time through, the hook seems to lack that one element that would make it instantly catchy, but repeated listens prove the power of an understated melodic refrain. Nothing about Back Again‘s melody or performance is in-your-face, but it really doesn’t need to be. Instead, it has staying power — and that’s ultimately more important.
The song sounds very much like Beast meets VIXX, but that’s an excellent comparison to give a rookie group. Unlike their debut track, Back Again is crisply produced, utilizing some beautiful harmonic breakdowns over an instrumental that never lets up. The repeated piano/synth line adds a sense of a drama and emotion, perfectly tying everything together. It’s not a sound we haven’t heard before, but there’s a reason this type of song works as well as it does. I hope this is the direction the group plans to follow from now on, because they officially have my attention.