[Review] Dilemma – APINK

Kickstarting this week is APINK’s grand return with the single Dilemma and the special mini-album, Horn. This is the group’s first official comeback since the release of their March 2020 single Dumhdurum, though they did release a single last year (titled Thank You) in celebration of their 10th anniversary. Last year also saw the group undergo contract renewals, and all members besides Naeun re-signed with Plan M Entertainment (now known as IST Entertainment, after a merger with Cre.Kr Entertainment later in the year). Naeun, however, remains as a member of the group, but signed on with YG Entertainment as an actress. Naeun was part of the album preparations (including music video), but will not be promoting this new release with the rest of the group due to scheduling conflicts.

Dilemma continues the APINK’s run of mature sound, a sound profile that they adopted after a reinvention of the group in 2018 through the single I’m So Sick. Dilemma adds a more sophisticated sound this matureness, but in a modern and trendy manner. It features a simple synth beat instrumental for the most part, but on top of this was these synth-like horns that elevates the song in an unique manner. This extends into the chorus with the unique instrumental piece in the background reminding me of a kazoo. In addition this (possible) kazoo, the repetition of the song’s title and the vocals in the second half of the chorus (courtesy of Eunji and Bomi) make the chorus quite memorable, pop out and catchy. Elsewhere, I enjoyed the softness the other members’ vocals brought. It brought on an intriguing dynamic that really helps make Dilemma become quite appealing to me. With the pre-choruses, I liked the striking nature the keyboard had and the build in momentum to the fabulous chorus. Another part of Dilemma that I enjoyed was that instrumental break. It really ‘woke up’ the song and infused a burst of groovy energy into the matured nature of Dilemma. But while it seems like I am just giving praises to Dilemma, there are two aspects of the song that I am not keen on. The first is the rap sequence in the second verse and its trap instrumental sequence. It definitely tries to change up the momentum of Dilemma, but doesn’t really feel like a commitment to a change whatsoever. I am just glad it was brief and we return to the original pre-chorus and chorus. The second aspect has to be the ending. It felt sudden and abrupt (never a fan of those). An extension of some kind would have helped reduce the abruptness for me. But the positives outweighs the negative aspects, and Dilemma is still a fantastic song that I will definitely be be replaying a lot into the future.

This music video is stunning. The featured image I have posted with this post was extremely eye-catching for me. And I felt the rest of the visuals of the video, its concept and the members followed through in a similar manner. The dresses they wore really sold me on that sophisticated and mature concept that I mentioned earlier. I also have to compliment the members on their acting throughout the video. While it was all sadness to convey that dilemma of whether to give up on their relationship or push on, they really nailed their concept and I was captivated from start to end.

It is such a pity that we won’t be seeing Naeun on the stage with the group to perform Dilemma. Hopefully we will see an OT6 stage one day. From what I can see in the music video, the performance looks good. I really liked the dilemma move at the start of the chorus. The members turn their wrist back and forth, which reminds me of being indecisive about something. That dance break we get towards the end looks extremely striking and I am super excited for that the most!

Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8.5/10
Overall Rating – 8.4/10

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