Though I didn’t really care for their debut, KNK absolutely knocked it out of the park with last year’s Back Again. That song seemed to mark them as true successors to 2nd generation idol groups like Beast. But since then, it feels like we’re dealing with ever diminishing returns. I’m not sure whose idea it was to cast the guys as a dour, down-tempo idol group, but Rain (비) is their second single in a row that feels overly murky and lifeless.
There’s nothing wrong with a mid-tempo, and May’s Sun, Moon, Star did grow better as time went on. Rain will likely share the same trajectory, but that’s because it’s essentially the same song. KNK has once again collaborated with Kim Tae Joo — well-known for his extensive work with Beast/Highlight over the past few years. Expectedly, Rain sounds quite a bit like a Highlight b-side, painting an emotive melody over a moody instrumental. This time around, the violin has been traded for a synthesized saxophone, but the basic structure and vibe is almost identical.
This is frustrating, because KNK don’t strike me as this kind if group. And even if they are, Rain‘s serious-minded emotional catharsis feels better suited to the fall or winter months. I fear that its charms will get completely steamrolled during the summer. Maybe if it featured a stronger hook (like Ribbon) or a more dynamic tempo (like Back Again), the song could leave a greater mark. As it stands, Rain barely elicits a shoulder shrug.