iKON, also known as Bobby & B.I + 5 vocals, has made its official debut with "debut half album" "Welcome Back." From what I can gather, this is a mini album released in October, while the full album will come out in November. Does this debut live up to the unfathomable hype that surrounded the poor group? Of course it doesn't. Such high standards were created by the die-hard fans, and thus, people are disappointed with this release. But that doesn't mean it's terrible; it's actually a solid release for a debut.
Living up to the standards of a YG group is a difficult task, what with YG stans being some of the craziest around. The general consensus is if you like one YG group, you have to love all of them or else you're not a real fan. This differs from SM stans, who just sell their souls to one individual group (at least, that's my experience dealing with various fans). Nevertheless, iKON has been able to carve out its own audience and, more importantly, has released (as part of its dual title track) the song people expected.
I'm not one for a group that gives off the vibe that they're about to drop the hottest track of the year and end up releasing some slow ass song (I'm looking at you Got7 and Winner ). It's not always a bad thing as sometimes the songs are solid, but generally, they aren't. "Rhythm Ta" has a nice beat and is something the target audience could jam to. The song started off very G-Dragon inspired then quickly strayed away, which was a smart move. Although B.I didn't particularly stand out in this release, the rest of the group performed well enough that now I'm actually interested in learning the rest of the members in the group.
The Korean idol imitation of hip-hop is a sound I personally really enjoy and is obviously something widely enjoyed by a large majority of the older teenage girls who are into k-pop right now. If it wasn't, there wouldn't be this many releases from the genre. A lot of fans I know wanted to hear more of this sound from the group, rather than whatever the shit "Wait for me" was. This was a solid track that lived up to expectations.
On the other hand, I can understand how people could dislike "Rhythm Ta." The song doesn't particularly go anywhere after the G-Dragon-inspired start. From what I can see, it's generally the older k-pop fans and male fans who tend to have something against this style of music, probably because they grew up hearing actual hip-hop instead of the imitations heard heavily within k-pop the past few years.
The group's other title track, "Airplane," follows the prior release "My Type" (that I'll get to next) sound wise but is a more boring version of it. While the vocals and rapping are pleasant, this is not my style of song, and looking at the views of "Airplane" and "Rhythm Ta," it seems to be universally agreed (by the western market, I'm assuming) that this song just isn't that great. "Rhythm Ta" leads with an extra ~500,000 views. Generally, views shouldn't be used to dictate how good a song is, but in this case when the tracks were released at the same time, it's a pretty good indicator.
For those who enjoy iKON's slower sound, this is their track. It's reminiscent of most of Big Bang's slower songs (But don't compare iKON and Big Bang; it makes YG uncomfortable: "I think that this comparison, or competition, is unnecessary and not right"). iKon has been able to pull off the slower song concepts and the more "heep-haap" songs fairly well, which is probably why they had a dual title track release to show both sides of them. That and to get more publicity, but that's a given.
For those of you who enjoy slower songs but felt "Airplane" was too bland, "My Type" is for you. Released under the title of a "warm-up single," this music video dropped half a month before the actual album. For anyone who says "Airplane" should've been released first, it probably wasn't because it was obviously a forgettable song, whereas this was a solid release and has been widely accepted by fans (though this genre isn't always up everyone's alley). It's not something I'd add to a playlist, but it's not something I'd skip if it came up on shuffle,
The rest of the album isn't terrible with solid tracks that
probably could've replaced " Airplane" show a more hip hop, chill vibe:
"Welcome Back": the first track, a mid-tempo song with a solid back track and rapping. It's probably my favourite out of the three tracks that don't have a music video.
"Today": a decent track
"M.U.P": odd chorus, but the rest of the song is good. For those wondering and don't want to listen to the song to find out, "M.U.P" stands for "Make U Proud."
Obviously, iKON is going to have a reasonably long career in the industry, being from one of the Big 3 and seeing what they've already gone through (not one, but two survival shows and Bobby won "Show Me The Money 3"). They've also carved out a large fan base for themselves. As such, it'll be difficult to avoid them, so it's best to just get comfortable with them; they probably won't have another release for a while any way ...
And for those dumb fucks like me, who couldn't figure out what the lines were in the logo: