MAP6 are one of the few struggling groups who didn’t opt to appear on this year’s pair of “idol rebooting” shows, The Unit and MIXNINE. That’s a shame, because the guys could really use the exposure. With each passing release, it feels like their career has stalled more and more. Since debuting at the tail end of 2015, they’ve only promoted four title tracks — none of which has come close to charting. To say that Love Is Gone has a lot riding on it would be an understatement. And unfortunately, I don’t think the song is going to do much to ignite their career.
Love Is Gone is perfectly serviceable idol pop, with the kind of trend-free production that could easily place it in any k-pop era. A sense of timelessness is usually a positive thing, but in this case it renders the track a bit generic. The instrumental retains many of the rock influences that drove May’s I’m Ready, though they’re utilized in an odd way. Rather than fuel the track with a robust live-band feel, the arrangement seems to rely almost entirely on more high-pitched elements (snare, hi-hat, etc). Even the electric guitar seems oddly lightweight, giving the production a tinny sort of sound like it was recorded on someone’s phone.
This is regrettable, because Love Is Gone‘s sweeping melody has potential. The airy background vocals cast a forlorn mood that heightens the drama during the impressive pre-chorus, and the vocals throughout are incredibly solid. The track also pulls in some classic Brave Brothers/Sweetune ad-libs that recall k-pop’s glory days, but Gone‘s overall appeal is a testament to just how impressive those legendary producers are. There’s something missing here that keeps the song from truly standing out as the breakthrough comeback that MAP6 deserves.