Boy group iKON feel like they’re in the same place as fellow YG artists Winner were last year. Their career kicked off with a highly successful debut that built them a steady and dedicated fan base, but their domestic promotions have started to stall in years two and three. What they need is a Really Really style resurgence. Bobby may only be one-seventh of iKON, but as their most well-known member, his solo success could go a long way towards reestablishing the group.
I Love You (사랑해) is the first of two title tracks, and easily the most uptempo song on his debut album. What we’ve seen from Bobby so far has mostly been hard-hitting hip-hop, so the song’s sing-song melodic style comes as a welcome surprise. Taking a page from G-Dragon’s work, Bobby delivers the majority of the track with a charismatic croon. He’s not what anyone would call a polished vocalist, but I’ve always been a fan of singers who prioritize character over perfection. I Love You is driven by a carefree style that’s quite infectious.
I’ve spent much of this year bemoaning the constant presence of tropical elements in k-pop, so I fully expected this aspect of I Love You to grate. But the bright, synth-kissed production offers a needed foil for Bobby’s grittier tone. He fits the genre surprisingly well, and with a chorus as catchy and celebratory as I Love You’s, it’s easy to overlook the song’s more generic leanings. Though the structure and instrumental are completely expected when it comes to k-pop in 2017, I wouldn’t have pegged Bobby as an artist who would debut with something so light and breezy. It turns out that this was just what he needed.