After an eight-month-long dry spell, iKON is finally back with a full-length album, appropriately titled “Return.” Led by the mild, cheerful title track “Love Scenario,” the album sticks mostly to pop with occasional appearances made by hip-hop and ballads. The whole thing feels very YG, and in particular, very WINNER/iKON. I tend to lump the two boy groups together because they were formed simultaneously as brother groups and because their musical identity is relatively similar. “Love Scenario” could easily have been an early WINNER song. Unfortunately, it’s missing the punch of similar WINNER tracks such as “Sentimental” and also lacking the poignant touch of other downtempo iKON songs of years past such as “Airplane” and “Apology.” While the title track’s a little weak, there are several great moments on the rest of “Return” to reassure fans that this comeback was worth the long wait.
The thing about “Love Scenario” is that it doesn’t have any flaws you can pin down, besides the fact that it has no strengths you can pin down. Big iKON fans will enjoy this song without a problem. But the fact remains that in the context of the current K-pop scene, there is nothing memorable about “Love Scenario.” From an artistic standpoint, the restraint showed in the placement of bass does have a notable dynamic effect. But dynamics can’t take a song without a substantial style or melody anywhere, just like it’s impossible to send a wave from one bank to another if the lake has no water. iKON’s title tracks last year, “Bling Bling” and “BDAY,” were both strange birds, but either could easily beat up this scrawny track with one hand tied behind their backs. I’d rather see that weirdness from iKON, even if it renders a song a little messy, than the innocuous pop of “Love Scenario.”
Other songs on “Return” have more going for them than “Love Scenario,” thankfully. The buoyant, alt-funky “Beautiful” is ten times the song the title track is, with melodies that wonderfully suit iKON’s distinctive low, husky vocals. Carefully designed composition shines on the poignant “Don’t Forget” as well as on the melancholy “Just Go,” and the boisterous hip-hop of “Sinosijak” is a refreshing throwback to iKON’s more bombastic sounds of the past. It’s good to have iKON back with some great new songs, because it has been too long since they had the opportunity to make an album.
LOVE SCENARIO: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Flippy floppy.
Take a look at iKON’s “Love Scenario” MV below: