Song Review: B.I – Illa Illa

B.I - Illa Illa
Though fans had to suffer through a long hiatus as he found his footing with a new agency, B.I has been prolific this year. Back in March, he released his debut solo single. That was followed by a pre-release last month, and now a full album. I suppose this is one of the benefits of being a creative powerhouse. Free from the constraints of the idol world, he’s able to churn out the music he wants to make, as often as he wants to make it.

As the force behind iKON’s pre-2020 singles, B.I’s solo work echoes many of the sounds he’d established with his former group. illa illa (해변) boasts the sing-song melody of tracks like Love Scenario, laid over a minimalist trap beat and moody keys. It’s an expected arrangement, but works well with B.I’s emotive voice. He gives a laidback performance, perched halfway between rap and singing. The style suits illa illa’s languid sound.

Though this isn’t the kind of showstopper I usually prefer, I think the song achieves its aim. The filtered chorus is particularly appealing, given just enough vocal effects to add texture. It sounds like summer, but in a subdued way. illa illa gains energy during its climax, when a chanted hook competes with its swirling centerpiece. This keeps the track from growing stale, even if its inclusion conforms to many of the tropes favored by B.I’s former agency. As much as I complain about trap breakdowns in K-pop tracks, I think the genre has its place. Songs like this and Jay B’s Switch It Up succeed on the strength of their musical continuity. Instead of trying to do too much, they find a beguiling hook and let it breathe.

 Hooks 9
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25


7 thoughts on “Song Review: B.I – Illa Illa

  1. There are parts I like about this song and parts I don’t, but on balance it’s a nice song. I could do without the trap. Also, it overstays its welcome by about a minute.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I enjoyed this song and the album on a whole. Most are subdued moody affairs but that works very well with his emotive tone. This song captures the frustration and pain and hope perfectly in an atmospheric setup which is commendable.


  3. I like this lazy moody vibe of the song but agree with the above comment that this song is long. It can be a bit monotonous at this time frame, maybe it should have been under 3 minutes.


  4. I found this haunting and beautiful. I love the other songs on the album as well. I can relate to a lot of what he expresses.


  5. Love it. After a year of hearing acapella’s on his Soundcloud, it’s nice to hear BI’s vocals with an instrumental. I like the instrumental especially the piano line. I felt that even though the production was minimal, the arrangement had some nice switch-ups while maintaining the over feel. The ending lift is nice even though it’s particularly climatic.


  6. His album made me tear up. For his song, illa illa has a such a deep meaning and I love that. What got me most about it was when he said that depression was the most comfortable home for him. This man went through so much hardships. He deserves everything good. 🥺😭💕

    Liked by 1 person

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