iKON – NEW KIDS: CONTINUE Album First Listen + Review

Due to my absence on YouTube, I will include both my first listen to this album, including comments of the songs lyrically and how cohesive the album is as a whole.

iKON’s title song “Killing Me” and mini album NEW KIDS: CONTINUE was released 2 August, 2018, which was highly anticipated by all K-Pop fans due to the immense success of their January 2018 release “Love Scenario.” While it is rare for a YG Entertainment group to make two comebacks within the same year it’s clear iKONs popularity continues to escalate as the official music video raked in over 5 million views in 24 hours and topped Worldwide iTunes Albums Charts in 23 countries.

tracklist

I have already listened and watched “Killing Me” and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you wanted to see what I thought about the song and MV click (here). But because I have already listened to it, time to move onto my first listens for the rest of the album.

“Freedom” is lyrically about being youthful and having fun, a concept these boys can easily pull off. The song starts off with a soft electric guitar riff before going into guitar-based percussion. After BIs first verse, the music starts getting a little heavier and leans more towards the punk-rock genre which is a surprise. They have had some experience with rock on their “Rhythm Ta (Rock Version)” but “Freedom” has a totally different kind of feel.

I do enjoy how the song becomes an anthem at the end, with all members coming together to finish the song off. Junhoe, with the most rock-friendly voice, does well in this song while singing the chorus and the bridge. The verses have an emptiness to them which I think works in their favour due to the subject matter while the fullness of the chorus leans more towards the fun aspect of the lyrics.

While “Killing Me” is about a haunting love-gone-wrong situation, third track “Only You” is about being in a relationship and wanting to stay in it forever. Again, this song is very summer-inspired. From the emptiness of the verses and the upbeat and lightness of the instrumentation, this song is perfect for summer. Again, a concept I’ve never heard from iKON.

I personally really enjoy the pre-chorus, particularly Chanwoo’s part – I love when he has a moment to sing with minimal music to support him. Donghyuk and Jinhwan also fit this song really well as they do have the two thinnest voices in the group, they work perfectly with the music and fill up the emptiness well.

For some reason this song also reminds me of youth – the feeling of being in a relationship for the first time, being young and in love and all the heartfelt goodness that goes along with it.

Fourth track “Cocktail” is probably the one I wasn’t looking forward to purely based on lyrics. While I do like when a group can make a song without having too much depth to it lyrically, iKON has done some really heartfelt songs in the past. I wouldn’t say I was let down by the lyrics, I was just wanting just a little bit more.

What I wasn’t expecting was the element of funkiness this song has. Again, this song was quite empty but the funky bass guitar was introduced in the most appropriate places. The chorus is definitely my favourite from the tracks so far (excluding “Killing Me”) and I found myself smiling and dancing along to it. Before hearing this song I did have a few reservations but they all flew out the window when the song broke down in the bridge and Yunhyeong serenaded me perfectly. I really really enjoyed this song.

Like “Only You”, last track “Just For You” is about being in a relationship. Lyrically, I enjoyed this song more than any other and there were some really great lyrics in here. And guys, it sounds EXACTLY how I thought it would.

iKONs ballads are my favourite and this song will have to be added to that list. While vocally Junhoe has always stolen my attention, I found myself paying more attention to the rest of the vocal line – and yes, I’m including Hanbin here. Jinhwan and Donghyuk were exceptional in this song. This is a simple song and aims directly at the heart strings. Some lyrics that were my favourite are:

“I will be just nice to you, I will protect you
I will make you smile as much as you cried
I will be a star and shine you
I will be beside you for as long as you waited for me”

“Inside of this risky reality there is one person I want to protect
I live because of you
In this never ending darkness, the one person that became my light”

As a whole, this album is definitely season appropriate: Summer. And while it is nice to hear a different style than their last album, I can’t help but be a little upset – it’s winter in New Zealand, so all this light and summery music means nothing to me. Nothing but rubbing in the fact it’s miserable here.

I do enjoy how the songs all have a theme and stick to it while their lyrics still do have moments of heft to it. Hanbin has always been great at writing and producing songs and this album is no different. I do like some tracks more than others but I do like how the group was able to expand from what they’d set up through Return.

My rating: 8/10

How did you all like NEW KIDS: CONTINUE? Were there any song you particularly enjoyed? Let me know down below!

Bye guys!

xx

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