Listening Party: iKON is Back With ‘U’ From Their Latest Album ‘TAKE OFF’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

iKON promotional photo for TAKE OFF

K-Pop superstar iKON just released ‘U’, the lead single from their latest album, ‘TAKE OFF’.

Formerly from YG Entertainment now affiliated with 143 Entertainment, the six-member group behind the smash hits ‘LOVE SCENARIO’ and ‘KILLING ME’ return with a song fit for the summer – hitting the road and speaking of an immense love that cannot be stopped.

The brand-new release not only marks the beginning of Bobby, Jay, JUNE, Song, DK, and Chan’s next phase together with a different label, but it also kick-starts their world tour, visiting a number of cities including Manila, Tokyo, Madrid, Paris, and New York among many others.

iKON world tour
iKON announces the ‘TAKE OFF’ World Tour

In this edition of the Listening Party, we take a look at ‘U’, examining both its lyrics and the music in its totality. In simpler terms, it’s me finding the words to explain why I love it (totally objective though, even as an iKONIC).

Watch the music video for ‘U’ here!

Still from iKON’s MV for ‘U’
Still from iKON’s MV for ‘U’

Lyrically. ‘U’ for the lack of a better term is your typical summer track. And that’s not something to hold against it, it’s executed very well, better than the usual sounding tropical beats we’re often flooded with during the season. That being said, you can’t expect profound lyricism from this release—it’s your standard love song filled with youthful vigor.

Passing all the red lights

Tryna get to you

I’m bringing party to you

Hope you ready? Ready!

There isn’t much to dissect concerning the song’s meaning and any underlying messages; it’s rather straightforward. ‘U’ talks about an intense affection for a beloved, and the desire to “bring a party” or anything they’d want at a moment’s notice, regardless of any obstacles.

Interestingly, despite the fact that the lyrics are not the focal point of the track, it does not fall into repetitiveness. The only instance where there is clear repetition is during the post-chorus but it never goes stale. The reason why, I’ll further delve into in the next section.

If it’s for you, I can do anything 

Take a chance on me baby give a minute 

Pedal to the metal, I’m speeding

I’ll even bleed for you, no kidding

Call your besties to come through though

We need witnesses as well as some covers

Tonight, I am not the lead

Party just for you but first

Still from iKON’s MV for ‘U’
Still from iKON’s MV for ‘U’

Musically. The track’s instrumental is fairly standard as well. It features your usual pop guitar sound (albeit very catchy) that plays throughout the duration of the release. The energy is maintained at a very high level with your four-on-the-floor drum beat and variation is kept to a minimum with instruments being removed during the pre-chorus and the bridge, and added right after. What keeps it interesting is the rhythm in which the guitar is being played; hitting with variety in between each beat to tease the ears.

If both the lyrics and the instrumental are not the track’s focus, then what is? The vocals. iKON does a massive job not only beautifully delivering their lines, but in using their unique voices to add the variation the other components of the song do not provide.

Bobby of iKON
Bobby of iKON

Bobby, a well-known rapper in the K-Pop scene is a prime example of this. Outside of his masterfully delivered lines, his adlibs are what make the track. ​​His voice cuts through all the noise and these small yet impactful flourishes complete the song.

And going back to the post-chorus, despite the line “Only for you” being repeated for around eight bars, it works. It does, because of a “call and response”. For those unfamiliar, the term refers to when a line is sung and is followed up by another as if said as a reply. To illustrate, visualize an artist in a concert telling the crowd to sing a phrase after they do; that’s pretty much it. iKON members Chan and JUNE go in a back and forth during this section of the song, with Chan’s bright tone contrasted by JUNE’s deep voice – adding contrast and variation despite the similarity in lyrics.

Header image courtesy of 143 Entertainment

Lyrics courtesy of Genius