Much has been made about the debut of YG Entertainment‘s first new solo artist in years, and with that kind of qualifier you might expect a splashy, go-for-the-jugular k-pop smash. But rather than offer the sort of bombastic, swag-filled hip-hop that the agency has become known for, One debuts with a laid-back summer track that opts for vibey coolness over producer-honed pop magic. This approach is not normally something I’d be all that fond of, but with Gettin’ By (그냥 그래) it feels like the perfect match between artist and song.
Working with producer Cha Cha Malone rather than YG’s typical collaborators, Gettin’ By paints a hazy mid-tempo bounce that takes a finger-snap beat and layers atmospheric piano and synth to give the instrumental a sense of moody fluidity. One possesses a unique performance style that suits this unassuming production. His drawl — perched somewhere between singing and hip-hop — rarely strays from a conversational sense of aloofness.
Gettin’ By is the kind of track that’s hard to write much about, because it doesn’t attempt to travel to any interesting or noteworthy places. Instead, the song rests on its gentle, oft-repeated chorus. Luckily, this hook ingratiates itself quickly and sticks more than I would have expected. Like iKON‘s My Type in 2015, it’s the kind of debut that works because of its loose, understated nature. I’m not so sure how effective it will be as the kick-off to an entire career, but for now Gettin’ By is a pleasant diversion from the more hyperactive k-pop that summertime often gives us.