iKON will soon be participating in MNET’s Kingdom series – the second most senior act to do so. It’s hard to believe these guys debuted almost six years ago. A pair of long hiatuses have made their career arc feel both shorter and longer than it is, and I’m hoping that Kingdom can garner them renewed attention. Before that, they’ve unveiled new digital single Why Why Why (왜왜왜).
For whatever reason, I’d expected this song to be a straightforward ballad. So when its pulsing dance beat came in, I was pleasantly surprised. However, the instrumental feels as if it’s missing something. I enjoy its pace, energy and drive, but its lack of individual character almost has it feeling like stock music. Maybe I’ve just become too used to K-pop tracks with overly noisy production!
Luckily, Why Why Why harnesses those angsty, lovelorn melodic turns that have powered so many great YG Entertainment ballads. The song doesn’t transcend them, but the agency has mastered this kind of emotive sound. I like the fractured nature of the verses. The structure gives them a confessional air, and echoes the halting rhythm of the chorus. And though I wish the second verse didn’t upend the song’s flow so completely, it’s always nice to hear Bobby rapping in this softer, melodic style. Taken all together, Why Why Why is a strange one. It’s satisfying, but feels unfinished and undercooked in some aspects. Regardless, it’s always great to have iKON back. I hope they’re able to find new growth within Kingdom’s battle royale.