By Kya Brodgon | 12, May, 2023
Ikon's Take Off Album Review
Following their contract expiration with YG Entertainment and subsequent signing with 143 Entertainment, iKon has released their third studio album titled Take Off. Consisting of 7 group songs and 3 solo tracks (done by members Song “SONG” Yunhyeong, Kim “DK” Donghyuk, and Koo “JU-NE” Junhoe) ranging from genres like hip-hop to ballads to trot, Take Off proves that iKon has only continued to excel in their musical progression. There’s no sign of them stopping anytime soon.
The pre-release single for this album is called “Tantara.”Opening with an iconic rap verse from member Kim “Bobby” Jiwon, “All my party people here, 손을 들어 올려 번쩍 / I need a Coke with my rum, feeling way too conscious / Millionaire pompous / I got ninety-nine problems, but they all women,” (translation: “Put your hands up in the air”) the song is immediately attention-grabbing. The star-studded collabs on TikTok only solidify the party song vibe “Tantara” has, as well as show off the fun choreography. Filled with their signature swag and featuring the dance team Hook, “Tantara” is the perfect song to build hype for this release. Also, I’m a sucker for songs that include the group name in the lyrics - and the “All my party people here / I-K-O-N, we run, run” in the outro is addicting.
Opening the album is the bubbly, upbeat love song title track “U.” In this song, the members declare their love for the listener over a groovy backing track that makes you want to dance along after the first listen. This is quintessentially a love song, something that I think iKon has always done really well, and I really enjoy the fact that it isn’t just your usual pop ballad with sappy lyrics over a piano tune (although there is absolutely nothing wrong with that). The chorus, “Baby, I just can't get enough of you (Can't get enough) / Wrote a thousands songs for you / 너만 원한다면 girl (원한다면) / We throwing party just for you” (translation: “if you want girl (if you want)”) and the bridge “We throwing party just for you / Heads out the sunroof / Stuck on thoughts of you / Whatever it take to please ya / You know that I'm gonna do” solidify the fact that the only thing important for the boys is “U,” and that they’ll do whatever it takes to make “U” feel loved. It’s the summer bop to blast on the beach during late night bonfires.
While the first three songs on the album are your typical high-energy songs, the next three B-sides are on the softer pop ballad side. I think my favorite is “Driving Slowly,” a soft, summery easy listening track. Lyrically similar to “U,” “Driving Slowly” tells the story of taking a slow drive by the Han River and enjoying each and every moment with the one person you adore the most. Bobby’s melodic rap in the chorus is audibly addictive and has you singing along right on the next pass, but the bridge is easily my favorite part. “만약 불안해진다 해도 / 내 손 놓지 않는다면 / 몸이 나이가 든다 해도 / I'll be here, I'll be there / I'll go wherever you go / Forever young / 모든 게 무너져도 driving slow” (translation: “Even if you get nervous / If you don't let go of my hand / Even if you get older / I'll be here, I'll be there / I'll go wherever you go / Forever young / Even if everything collapses, driving slow”). With the weather turning warmer and the sun staying out longer, this is the perfect song to play on those early evening drives.
The most stand-out song off of the album is SONG’s solo track, “Fighting.” While trot-style songs tend to be hit or miss for me, I loved this song from the get-go. SONG’s vocals fit so well with the genre, and everything is so catchy I was easily singing and tapping my foot along to the beat after the first thirty seconds of the music. This is definitely a song that I can see people singing along to at karaoke booths or other groups dancing to during variety shows.
Overall, this album is an amazing release from iKon that proves they’re just as strong seven years into their career as they were when they started, if not stronger. The exploration of genres both by the group and by the solo songs shows that they aren’t scared to push their limits, while still sticking true to their roots and creating new immediate classic iKon tracks.