Saturday, February 24th, 2018

iKON – Love Scenario

Saying goodbye: the ultimate love scenario?


Anjy Ou: Well, that was unexpected. The song starts out with this ragtime piano, then throws in a metronome and some coconuts to give you this “smiley face” atmosphere. But then the drums kick in, and the first thing Bobby says is “actually I’m not okay.” This bitter and sweet contrast continues as the pre-chorus gets emotional, and the chorus is delivered in a matter-of-fact sort of way, but then midway there’s a drop into a solid trap beat that feels kind of dramatic? This song is the forced smile you give while you say “it’s okay, no hard feelings” after a break-up. If it feels a little on the nose, I bet it’s intentional. At the time B.I. would have been writing this song, iKON was going through it. They’d finally returned to Korea after a 2-year sojourn in Japan, only for their comeback single to flop due to a dwindling fanbase. Considering how easy it is for idol groups to implode, he probably thought this would be his last release as a member of iKON. So he pens a happy goodbye – to the fans that loved him as well as the fans that left him. Aside from the impossible catchiness of the song and the [ugly crying] factor, I also love that this song feels contemporary and nostalgic at the same time. The piano reminds me of early Bruno Mars, while the trap beat roots it in 2017/18. It feels very “of the moment” and yet nothing sounds like it. It’s the kind of song I imagine people hearing years down the line and going, “oh yeah, I remember that group!” with a smile. The skill that it takes to achieve that balance shows that iKON are underrated as songwriters, and they deserve more attention than they’ve gotten. (Bobby’s 2017 album is a lovestruck millennial pop-hip-hop-R&B dream and absolutely worth a listen.) Any comparisons to Big Bang only highlight this fact, as Big Bang themselves are at their best when showing off their pop prowess. All this to say, it’s the sweetest kind of irony that a song meant as a farewell is what’s bringing iKON a new round of fame. They absolutely deserve it, and I’m excited to see what they do next. I just hope YG doesn’t keep fucking them over.

Ryo Miyauchi: That piano riff says it all: “Hey, we fucked up, but we had quite a ride, didn’t we?” Though I’m happy for the peace iKON find, I also wish for some tension to disrupt this sound of mutual agreement. Or at least some flashbacks to the supposedly frustrating melodrama would’ve done fine.

Will Rivitz: The happy-go-lucky Aminé vibes here are pleasant, but the Portland rapper is as alluring as he is because of his nearly unparalleled charisma, turning songs with about as much harmonic complexity as “Love Scenario” into living and breathing creations, the rapper as the electricity invigorating Frankenstein’s monster’s cadaver. iKON, unable to capture the same spirit, sounds flat and lifeless.

Katherine St Asaph: “Lush Life” plus “Same Old Love,” plus synth claps and cowbell for some reason. You’d think that combination would be good, or at least dynamic; instead it’s pleasant and static like hold music.

Alfred Soto: Have these kids been listening to Fountains of Wayne or something? That piano melody and the lilt of their voices suggest a nugget buried on the back half of Welcome Interstate Managers. But FOW wouldn’t have attempted the alternation of programmed cowbell and keyboard lick.

Micha Cavaseno: It’s hard to say exactly when the thread began (in some respects you can go to the under-regarded cornmeal of “Yesterday” by Block B, or even as far back to the supreme 1D derivative cheese of “We Like 2 Party” by BIGBANG), but a strangely inviting group of K-Pop boy band material is not looking to the cool nostalgia of definitive pop styles such as New Jack Swing or even current day rap tropes, but instead end up somewhere closer to Plain White T’s or All-American Rejects “the big hit was over a year ago and we’re so fucked on our debts we need another one NOW” pop rock. “Love Scenario” with its absurdly trite piano melody has one foot in that camp and another in the sadsack pop raps of Beenzino, but thankfully avoids being too wistful for a strange mix of stoic glumness and acceptance. iKON’s failed romance isn’t so much full of regret or disdain, but a reluctant desire to treat the past with a scrutiny not to find out what went wrong but instead to try and preserve its integrity. Maybe a bit chauvinistically noble in some regards, but in others a bit more mature than it should manage to achieve.

Reader average: [3.85] (14 votes)

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