[Review] U – iKON

Last week, iKON pre-released the single Tantara from their 3rd studio album, Take Off – the first post-YG Entertainment release since the group decided to not renew their contracts with the company in December 2022. Since December, the entire group (yes, all current 6 members of iKON) signed on with 143 Entertainment, announcing plans for an April comeback. Well, the group is now officially back with the unvielling of the entire Take Off studio album and the title track U – both dropping on Thursday of this week.

U shows a completely different side of iKON. Most of their past singles have been heavily influenced and centred around the hip-hop genre. It was only until recently (i.e., Why Why Why and BUT YOU) did the group put something else out that was not primarily hip-hop centric. U continues exploring other genres, this time opting for a fun and vibrant disco party number that I am totally digging. The energy is fantastic and the rhythmic funky guitar riffs are super infectious, bringing a smile to my face (at the very least) each time I have heard the song since its release on Thursday. It is also highly suitable for the Summer season that is fast approaching for Korea. If there is one thing I want to be critical about in terms of the instrumental, U needed more electric guitar riffs at the end to drive up the energy. Cliché as it sounds, but it will give the ending some additional flair. Bobby’s raspy vocals stands out quite a bit, which made the pre-choruses feel the most memorable part of the song. JAY’s first verse was also a nice standout. Unfortunately, the rest of U wasn’t as compelling and the other members didn’t have their moment to shine, They all sounded great, but no other parts struck me as memorable or stood out to me. It might have been that the super bright and upbeat energy just took over as the most striking aspect of the song, following the parts that I have pointed out. Still, I am glad that iKON has managed to push out new music and that U is fun and enjoyable.

The music video shows the members getting ready and going on a road trip to their next concert/live performance destination. Whilst getting ready and along the way, the members experience some hiccups. Given the bright and vibrant tone of the song, the members approach these moments with their sense of humour and fun energy – i.e., JAY riding his bicycle whilst the other members are trying to push their out-of-petrol van along and unknowingly leaving JUNE behind who has to run after them. In the end, all the members arrive at the final destination just fine and put on an amazing performance to close out the video. I liked their casual and light-hearted approach, no doubt fitting in well with the song.

As for the choreography, it is upbeat and light – just as you would have expected it to be. I really liked the “Only For U” circle the members formed in the first half of the post-chorus hook. It was a fun formation.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 8.5/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.9/10


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