YG’s new kids are back, and they are badder than ever. iKON kicked off the second half of the year with not one, but two new releases to compensate for the otherwise unusually long hiatus as a new group. The boy group had its debut in September 2015, with their album being released in October of the same year. The group soon hit the road with their iKoncert 2016: Showtime Tour in Asia. iKON then released “#WYD,” their first single after their debut album, in May 2016, followed by their first Japanese single “Dumb & Dumber” in September 2016.
After eight long months, the hip-hop dancing machines are back with “B-DAY” and “BLING BLING,” both songs released simultaneously on May 22 of this year, for their comeback album New Kids: BEGIN. To be very straightforward, it was worth the wait. “B-DAY” provides a unique experience that truly would not feel the same were it not accompanied by its music video. The song is catchy, the rapping is on point, and the vocals are as clean as ever, but the music video is what really gets the job done. Watching “B-DAY” took me back to July 2015 when I had to be anesthetized for a surgery, and I mean it in the greatest way possible. I remember feeling happier than ever, ready for a dancing marathon, and that’s exactly how “B-DAY” made me feel.
As an international fan with little knowledge of Korean, my instinct is to search for the meaning of the lyrics immediately after my first listen, making sure I’m first enjoying it to its fullest before I attempt to understand its meaning. But “B-DAY” didn’t make me want to do that. It only took me one listen to know this song would be on every single one of my playlists for the rest of the year. The music video is a masterpiece of its own. Giving major Land of the Lost feels—the 70’s show, not the bad movie—we see iKON dance, party, discover ruins, and, yes, turn into bees. I was so ready for Bobby to drop into Migos’s “Bad and Boujee” the second his verse started, perpetually amazed until the end. “B-DAY” couldn’t possibly be more entertaining.
The choreography perfectly aligns with the music video: weirdly amazing. Browsing their comments, there is no denying that iKON makes the strangest dance moves look the sexiest. The music video had the same effect. It’s all so odd, fast, and ever-changing, that when compiled together, it becomes one incredibly colorful masterpiece. iKON truly outdid themselves and iKONICs are being fabulously well fed.
The best part about this comeback is that there’s more. As if “B-DAY” wasn’t enough, iKON gifted K-Pop with “BLING BLING.” The song and music video bring the group back to its roots: award-winning rapping, on-beat vocals, and off the charts choreography. Ever since their first appearance on WIN: Who Is Next, iKON has been praised for their dance skills, and the group is truly undeniably talented. The simpler music video, by iKON’s standards, allows for the viewer to focus on their talents and not be distracted by visuals other than their dance moves. The sports cars, abundance of dollar bills, cell phones, change in outfits, and champagne are all visual representations of the song title, with the track depicting iKON ballin’ as their finest, most boujee selves.
After the life changing experience that was “B-DAY,” it was refreshing seeing iKON at its finest. Combining an eye-catching release that will literally drive its viewers nuts with one more that’s simpler, though not less flashy, was a move well-played by the group. The double release compensated not only for the lack of new content, but for the time we were left missing the members. Each had their well-deserved screentime and lines, leaving every fan happy.
iKON didn’t leave much room for disappointment. The only regret with this comeback is that they didn’t have it before and instead left us waiting. But there isn’t much room for complaints either. iKON has acknowledged that their break was a bit too long and explained that it was a conscious move by YG Entertainment. The fans have been complaining that the break is to blame for the newest releases not doing so well on the charts. Claims include that the group’s lack of appearances in South Korea after their comeback resulted in their loss of momentum. I do have to side with iKONICs on this one, but with or without charts, iKON has undeniably put on an entertaining, surprising, and iconic comeback.