[Review] NAKKA – AKMU ft. IU

Before we launch into the new week, I just wanted to cut down my catch up load with one more review. And it is a review that I should have written weeks ago when the release was first dropped. Yes, that should be the case for all the releases. But have you seen the caliber of the two artists that have joined forces for this particular release? AKMU and IU, mega digital topping artists? With big names like that, I don’t know why I have avoided reviewing NAKKA, the title of their collaborative single. NAKKA is also featured on the recently released AKMU album, Next Episode (the duo’s second mini-album), serving as the title track of the release.

NAKKA is an electronic track, tapping into the synthwave subgenre of electronic music. From a casual listen perspective, I would have said that the song didn’t offer anything new and felt plain at best. But NAKKA (and synthwave in general) is a song that you really need to sit down and listen to really appreciate what it is offering. For example, I felt that I could have missed out on the aesthetics of the song and the abundance of textures on top of the sleekness of the song, had I just listened to the song whilst doing other stuff. I would have missed out on the vocals from the members of AKMU and IU herself, which were aesthetically monotone and grey in colour (but when paired with the instrumentation, they really popped out). I would have missed out on a lot. And all of this resulted in a captivating and charming track. I do wish that NAKKA had a bit more bass to it. In its current form, I would have to say the everything comes together decently. But I feel that some additional bass would have taken NAKKA to the next level. As mentioned before, the vocals (standalone) aren’t something to rave about. But they were delivered in a such a way that was aesthetic and hypnotic in combination with the instrumentation. I particularly really liked Changhyuk’s part in the bridge, where there was autotune to give his vocals a choppy texture. It, along with the ‘Ba da bum‘ hook, were probably the song’s most memorable sequences for me. I do feel like they could have made IU’s featuring parts more noticeable, as that would have been a positive selling point. But I kind of also understand that they probably didn’t want to do that to avoid her ‘overwhelm’ the song with her usual higher tone. Overall, NAKKA is one to sit down and really dig into, as there is a lot to discover.

From what I got in the lyrics and the story told by AKMU in the music video, the song was about the fact that no matter what life throws at you, there would be people around to support you. Changhyuk falls through many holes and spends most of his time in the video in freefall. His sister, Suhyun, helps him in the end (after sitting at the edge of the hole and reassures him that everything will be fine), which sends him back up to the party which started off the video. The scene that gets me the most is the one of the level he falls that contains a bunch of little kids, whom I assume are people who fell through and didn’t have someone to help them back up (it explains their sad faces). I also assume that they are young, mainly because ‘falling’ isn’t something that happens with age and that kids will also have their troughs in life, just the same how adults would as well. I would have liked to see IU feature in this video, though.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 10/10
Overall Rating – 9.4/10

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