Though on the verge of superstardom after the release of 2018’s Love Scenario, iKON never really went anywhere. The group followed their national hit with a number of decent singles before leader Hanbin (B.I) was forced to leave the group as a result of a drug scandal. Without their leader and primary composer, the group was left in a limbo of sorts. Dive is their first release in over a year, and whilst it does provide some sparks, it’s let down by a few uninspired arrangement choices.

The most exciting part of Dive is its unique production. The ever-present harmonica sample is an inspired choice, providing a nice blend of modern dance beats over a country inspired soundscape. It’s something that we rarely hear and is especially refreshing in age dominated by computerised vocals and languid trap influenced beats. The groups effortless vocals are also on full display during the tracks fluid verses. They are by far the tracks most enjoyable moments, perfectly streamlined and brimming with buoyancy.

The central hook is also enjoyable, but consists of an oddly short refrain. It’s almost as if its begging for an additional post hook or breakdown, which would have absolutely sent it soaring. In fact, the entire track plays out like a lesser version of MBLAQ’s 2011 hit, the excellent Mona Lisa. Whereas that track had a dynamite multi refrain hook, Dive kind of just fizzles out every time it should explode. The thing is, I wouldn’t be as hard on Dive if it wasn’t for the fact Mona Lisa does almost everything Dive does, but to much better level. This brings me to the posted climactic hook, which although a staple for all YG tracks feels especially out of place here. It somehow sounds off-key and time anti-climactic, completely derailing most of the goodwill the track had been building up till this point. Although I appreciate the rest of the song, the final 30 seconds really brings it down for me, to create a song that’s great if fits and starts but doesn’t totally work as a package.

Verses: 8

Chorus: 8

Production: 8

Performance: 8

Final Rating8 / 10


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