After a 2019 reinvention that climaxed with the throbbing club track Sunset, KNK have been absent from K-pop’s comeback slate for over a year. They’re the kind of group I always find myself rooting for – the guys who have been through so much and seem destined to finally catch a break. To an extent, Sunset felt like that break. It won many fans, though the lack of a quick follow-up likely hampered its overall effect. But, KNK are back again with Ride, which takes a more generic approach while offering a few surprises under its hood.
Though Ride borrows from many current production trends, I find its percussion to be quite interesting. It’s more of a gallop than we often hear in K-pop, forged to a track that has more of a lurching structure. This contrast feels novel, even if I’m not sure it works the entire way through. But, the constant sense of rhythm gives the track a continuity that prevents it from derailing. And honestly, with a melody like Ride’s, derailment is a concern. The hooks here are fitful and many, spasming from the main melody. The track never hits a sweet spot, where the listener is allowed to let down their guard and simply enjoy. I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, but it does make Ride a unique beast.
Personally, I prefer a galloping percussion to be paired with a melodic structure that embraces more anthemic qualities. The two approaches compliment each other. Instead, Ride constantly feels at odd with itself. In a way, this can be kind of thrilling. And when the percussion is paired with house piano, the instrumental ignites sparks. But, Ride would have benefited from a more distinct, streamlined chorus. I appreciate the different vocal approaches at work, but the refrain feels overlong and cluttered, without one killer hook to sink your teeth into. Still, further listens will likely bring out more of its charms.