With some charting-topping albums and EPs under their belt, expectations were high for K-pop stars iKon, who performed in Hong Kong in 2018, and have just dropped their third EP I Decide.
Despite their accolades, there is only one decent track here. The fast-moving synth-chord riffs of centrepiece All The World have all the hallmarks of classic j-pop mixed with gamer-pop sensibilities, as the keyboard parts gel perfectly with the electro beat. The closing refrain, “The whole world is everything/I’m coming to you,” is the first memorable hook on the record too, after two very impact-less openers.
The marching snares of opener Ah Yeah, along with the jovial brass ensemble section, hint towards a very regal affair, but it ends up being so minimal that the overall outcome is little more than lack-lustre, with interchanging vocals that have no clear direction.
Dive is even worse. There are noodling acoustic guitar scales in the background of a faux-monica (fake harmonica) lead keyboard sound, and unashamed euro-pop beat that sounds like it came from the early 90s. In fact, the whole sonic palette of this track is so dated it could probably be found on a cheap, discarded second-hand keyboard found in a landfill. Dive really is a truly awful concoction.
Holding On and closer Flower are miles better by comparison, but are so gentle and inoffensive that, again, they don’t really demand the listeners’ attention, even if there are some sweet melodies cutting through - notably the breezy, wistful falsetto of Flower, “I plant the flowers that you/I follow the wind that you are/And I fly away.” It’s a nice touch, but isn’t enough to save this EP by this point.
On I Decide, iKon have made some very questionable choices.