iKON - I'M OK
YG really seems intent on milking out whatever momentum iKON has built up from last year, so the boys are already back with a new release in the form of “I’M OK.” I felt like last year was a bit of a mixed bag for me with iKON, and I tended to disagree with general public opinion in that I enjoyed a couple of their b-sides much more than I did their title releases. Regardless, I didn’t really have the time to dip into any teasers for this release, so I went in with no expectations other than a solid track from the group.
So before I dive into anything, I’d like to say that I actually really enjoyed this track. The atmosphere is incredibly tense and heavy throughout, and that really just adds to the gravity of the song when combined with the lyrical impact and rawness. The simpler and less varied instrumentation goes a long way in keeping the song uniform and serious, which was something that I personally found to be an issue with their release “Killing Me.”
However, I did find the whole “I’m OK” lyric to be fairly repetitive by the end of the song. I was there was some kind of variation on it at basically any point throughout the song to keep it from being overdone, but that’s pretty much my only gripe overall. The raps felt emotional as did the singing, and I think that iKON’s greatest strength is still their ability to seamlessly flow from those impassioned raps into the softer vocal presentations.
In any case, apart from that minor gripe, I liked the song overall. The piano is present but underplayed enough that it gives the song a bit more of a drastic, dramatic feel, and while the synths on their own honestly sound like they shouldn’t work alongside something so serious, they somehow do. The lyrics are surprisingly relatable and significant, and I really like that there were translations included for international fans. All in all, this is definitely one of the stronger iKON title tracks in my opinion.
This is where I think this comeback was a bit more lacking. Most of this video just doesn't hit in the same way that the lyrics do. There’s easily a few parts that are artful and great to see, but most of it just doesn’t have as much gravity as I feel it should to match the weight of the song. There are even a few times where the color palette seems to stray heavily from the rest of the video, which was both jarring and odd.
However, there were also glimpses of beauty in the video. In particular, I really loved the scene of B.I falling against a pure black backing, only for the camera to pull back and show the hourglass. It’s a great visual, and it hit home on how sometimes we just wallow in darkness for what can seem like forever. The wall of suitcases was also an intriguing metaphor. My personal take is that each suitcase is supposed to represent a previous failed relationship. When you pack all of your things into a suitcase to leave somewhere, you’re taking things with you - so perhaps this was to represent that he couldn’t get past this gigantic wall of previous experiences.
All of the car imagery and the stuff on fire, however, just sort of didn’t do it for me. In particular, the burning stuff just was a little too on the nose and overdone. In my opinion the whole car crash was supposed to be a visual representation of how a relationship crashed and the impact of it thereafter, but I just didn’t really feel much from it while watching.
In any case, this video was okay. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t think the visuals slam you the way the lyrics and general atmosphere of the song do, and it took away from the experience a bit for me.
“I’M OK” is a strong comeback from iKON. The moody styling of this song is perfect for a Winter release, and I think that with their momentum and clout gained from last year, this will definitely chart well. If you’re a fan of songs that depict dread and desolation well, this is an easy choice to start your year off with. If you enjoyed the softer bits in “Killing Me” and wished that there was less of the odd chorus drop, this may also be a better fit for you.