KNK -- AWAKE
2. Back Again
3. I Remember
4. Let Me Try
5. Day N Night
7. Back Again (Inst.)
8. How Are You Today (Inst.)
The rookie boy band KNK is 'back again' with a new mini-album. This comes right on the heels of their last digital single "I Remember." Rather than a collection of singles, their first mini-album features all-new tracks (with the exception of "Gone" and "I Remember").
"Gone" is a pretty effective intro track, and I like the concept (gone, then back again). Both this one and "Back Again" share similar beginnings, though the latter goes to a completely different place. I like how it leads into the title track, and it's short like some of the most dramatic goodbyes.
The title track is the appropriately-named "Back Again." It's an okay piece of dance, but its pretty low-key. The best parts are the raps, but otherwise it sounds subdued, like they were holding back. There's a few stylistic touches where the lead reaches deeper, but overall it's just "meh." The same problems plague "Day N Night." It's meant to be fun, light, and danceable, but it just lacks that essential spark that could make it an otherwise successful song. It's kind of by the numbers. I don't know -- maybe they were going for that, but it doesn't mean I have to reward them for that.
They transition to soft pop, giving us two such tunes in a row. They're noticeably better at this than dance, almost as if they prefer this style. "I Remember" and "Let Me Try" are the ones I'm talking about. The first is a really pleasant listen, and they seem more emotional here, and there are some smooth harmonies that are soothing. "Let Me Try" is sort of a ballad hybrid, and I like some of the special effects on this track that aren't strictly music. There's some touching moments in this song. The feels seem pretty authentic, which is what you need. They did an awesome job on these two tunes.
"Confession" is the last song, again kind giving off that soft pop vibe. The emotional falsetto is worked to good effect, giving some heft to it. There's a nice beat that reminds us we're not in ballad territory. It's a leisurely foray, peppered with occasional longing in the vocals. This one resonated a little deeper with me than much of the others.
The essential problem is that there's no surprises here, other than the lack of a ballad; but they don't need it, since most of the disc is given over to soft songs. It's quiet and safe, and that might be my issue -- if the songs are bland, why release them? As I said, it might be better for them to concentrate on soft pop, as it's what they seem best at.
Some bands rip off other band's concepts, but KNK ripped off everyone's concept -- and not in a good way. They start off dancing in a box while lights are shone on them. Even when they switch locations, it's still a confined space -- with blinking lights and dancing. There were some nice touches, symbolic scenes that showed how the relationship wasn't working, but they were few and far between.
They can almost be forgiven for the cheapness because the dancing was pretty awesome. But almost only counts in horseshoes and hand-grenades. That's one good thing I can say is that some of the lighting and such created a dramatic mood for some of the moves. They were well-positioned and in sync.
One of the cool parts.
It's just it is hard to look past the budget and set design for this. I'm sure they did their best, but it still ended up being campy, like a parody of boy band MVs. I almost wish that it was.