Over a year since its release, AKMU’s 2019 title track How Can I Love The Heartbreak, You’re The One I Love is still lodged in the top twenty of the Melon digital chart. That’s the very definition of an enduring megahit, and a testament to just how much Korea loves this singer-songwriter duo. Because of this, I’m surprised that it took them so long to release more music, though vocalist Suhyun did debut as a soloist last month.
Whatever the reason, it’s always good to have AKMU back. Their music never disappoints, even as it hops from genre to genre. With that said, I’d be surprised if new single Happening enjoyed the same long-term success as How Can I Love The Heartbreak. Though it’s unattached from a full or mini album, the track feels more like a b-side than an obvious title. AKMU’s b-sides tend to be very good, so this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Happening enlists a sprightly tempo while retaining a sense of melancholy. The song divides its verses equally between Suhyun and Chanhyuk, though his voice is more prominent throughout. This includes the chorus, which pushes forward with a satisfying, guitar-driven drive. Speaking of guitar, my favorite moment in Happening occurs during its climax, when the instrumental’s gentle strum is bolstered by rock distortion. This brings some welcome sonic angst the track, and could have been capitalized upon further. As it stands, Happening is oddly hushed. It harnesses a great melody, but the track feels like it’s missing something. And to make matters more frustrating, I can’t quite put my finger on what that something might be.