[Review] Happening – AKMU

Kicking start the comebacks for this week is the return of two groups known for their vocals. The first is AKMU, the infamous sibling duo from YG Entertainment. Not much has happened since their last comeback, aside from Suhyun making her solo debut last month with Alien. Alien was also confirmed to be the first of a series of comebacks AKMU have scheduled for late 2020. Today, the pair makes their comeback with their second single/comeback of this series, titled Happening.

AKMU’s comeback single features a mid-tempo band instrumental that is really easy on the ears and extremely enjoyable. It also feels quite refreshing and different, relative to AKMU’s already diverse array of genres and musical styles. Happening starts off with predominantly acoustic guitar in the verses, before progressing to a slight touch of rock in the chorus. They form the bridge of the song with a half acoustic and half rock approach, before proceeding to add some suspense to the song by holding back on the upbeatness we got in the earlier choruses for the final chorus. But Happening isn’t just made of instrumentation. Happening also features amazing vocals from AKMU, which is the usual expectation. I really like the vocal processing in this song, especially the contrast between the Chanhyuk’s vocals in the verses and chorus. Also, the song seems perfect for his vocals so I liked that he took the lead in the chorus. Suhyun should not be forgotten as well, as her light tone brings some lightness to the song. I wished they sung together more. The resultant product was really top-notch already. But I wanted more of what I think is the briefest of harmonies at the end of each chorus. Overall, Happening is another fantastic addition to the duo’s discography.

When I watch the music video, I find it quite confusing on what the scenes are meant to represent. But I have a feeling the story behind it is quite simple. From what we know, the lyrics of the song is about a breakup. From how I see the music video, Suhyun’s scenes shows the reality of a breakup. We are shown how different the world is pre- and post-breakup. Everything that was once there and vibrant either disappeared or changed to be abandoned. And it looks like Suhyun comes to terms with this towards the end as the switching doesn’t happen as much at the end of the video and remains in the ‘pre-breakup’ setting. Chanhyuk’s scenes on the train a little more cryptic. But I see it how he views his world after the breakup. He sees that he is all alone as there is no one there for him anymore (i.e. skeletons appear instead of people) or that it is his fault for not being able to keep up with his ex (i.e. when he is darting around everyone coming towards him). I feel that he also comes to terms with his breakup as well. One moment in the middle of the video, it looks like he manages to get to her and is holding onto the memory of her. While the other moment (the ending) shows him hugging a skeleton, which suggests to me he has accepted that she is longer there. But that is my interpretation of the video. I may be wrong and I am sure there are many other interpretations out there as well.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10

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