iKON has finally made their long-anticipated comeback. The title of the new single is “New Kids: Begin,” which is apparently the first in a series of albums that will signal “a new beginning” and “a new style” for the boys. In addition, new stage names have been announced. Jinhwan is now “Jay,” Chanwoo is “Chan,” Donghyuk will go by “DK,” and Yunhyeong is going by his family name, “Song.” Bobby, B.I, and Ju-Ne are keeping their names. As usual, the songs are written by B.I and Bobby and composed by B.I.
“BLING-BLING” is a study in contrasts. There are things that make it almost a good song. And there are parts of it that are genuinely catchy. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to make a good song. The flow in the raps is more awkward than awesome, and it just seems somewhat like they’re holding back. The ending almost seems inspired by Big Bang’s “Bang Bang Bang,” but is not as high-energy. It’s an okay song, but far from an excellent one.
Now “B-DAY” is a lot better, and is really catchy. They seem to almost be channeling “Dumb & Dumber,” but it’s a little different. And I love the stomping nature of the pre-chorus. The only problem I have is the chorus which is a little bit of a comedown. It’s just a little simplistic and silly, having far more to do with the pre-chorus than the overall content of the song. Points for keeping on-topic, but it’s okay to stray a little guys. Still, it’s a good song.
Two singles. One good, one not-so-good. I don’t know. It’s a problem for me in that it’s not great, and when you have two title tracks you ought to feel pumped, especially with a long-anticipated release like this. It took some growing pains before they finally released a worthwhile song, like “Dumb & Dumber” and “What’s Wrong?”, but this is a bit of one step forward, two steps back.
In this MV the boys go through a night filled with random actions, punctuated by occasional dancing sequences. Aside from rolling in money and tossing it, rapping on the hoods of expensive cars, and cooking and eating food in the back of a tractor trailer, they also dance against various LED-generated backgrounds.
And that’s really it. There’s no plot to speak of, only a hodgepodge of shots. The dancing is okay some of the time, but mostly there are nods to synchronization while the lead guy for that part gestures and flashes faux gang signs to signal that he’s “hard.”
The clothing is mostly appropriate, being what they imagine young people wearing. Some of it is hip-hop inspired, but most of it wouldn’t be out of place in day to day life. At least I didn’t see the big, thick, heavy gold chains that no one really wears.
I think what makes this video work though is that there’s none of the sense that they’re trying to hide how cheap it was. It may be (I don’t have access to their balance sheets), but it is bright, colorful, and at no time do you get bored. The boys are not dancing in a glorified parking garage, the LED is big, bold, and up front.
My only issue was at the end. Remember how I said it sounded like Big Bang’s “Bang Bang Bang” at the end? Well, it looks like it, too. True, different actors and colors, but the same kind of thing, where it devolves into a crowded party with everyone dancing around while the music blasts behind them.
Overall not a bad job, and I think I enjoyed the MV more than the song itself.
It’s “B-DAY” where the boys really get creative. They end up performing in three places, one is the lost ruins of a jungle-choked temple, another is a neon-lit big darkened space, and the other is a darkened garage like area with pillars both straight vertical and angled (and for some reason in black and white). And there’s a scene where a honeycomb existing in some alternate universe ejects some CGI bee/firefly hybrid, each of them with the faces of the boys of iKON.
There are some odd wardrobe choices in this one, as the necklaces are more prominent. There’s one really strange one that shows a necklace made of what looks like iron orbs. I was noticing that after the last MV had little bling despite the title.
The dancing is, again, not all that. There are some pretty good movements sometimes, forceful and hopefully at least slightly taxing. But they stop as quickly as they start, and it just kind of devolves again in the individual shots.
Apparently, the director took some of those lines in the song literally, like “I don’t know where I am” and “we’re like bees.” And the result is an interesting mix of weird imagery with more standard shots. I really like this one though. Not only was it engaging, it was pretty imaginative, and I’m still stunned by the bee scene.
Yeah, I’m giving this one a thumbs up.
(MV scores are averaged across both)
SEE ALSO: Netizens talk about iKON’s poor performance on Korean charts even though they’re from YG
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