I.O.I has, for better or for worst, made an indelible impact on 2016-2017. They were the product of the people and have satisfied the people in varying degrees, and “Downpour” continues this trend.
It is no secret that I have been critical of I.O.I’s releases. “Dream Girls” was underwhelming and shabbily produced, while “Very Very Very” was repetitive but did end up growing on me. Though “Very Very Very” came the closest to achieving I.O.I’s potential, I.O.I has spent much of its promotional period inching towards but failing to reach the grand, musical impact that its potential deserves. Sadly, “Downpour” does not provide I.O.I with the musically satisfying ending that I was desperately hoping for.
“Downpour”, like other songs released pre-disbandment, is certainly marketed and produced to be a gift to fans. Scenes spanning I.O.I’s period of activity provide an emotional backing to equally emotional vocals.
I am not going to lie and say that I felt nothing while experiencing “Downpour”. If “Downpour” does anything right, it is that it succeeds in conveying the sadness of I.O.I’s imminent disbandment. The subdued vocals, whispered and tinged with sadness, ‘work’ in the sense that their delivery is the best for this type of song. However, these positives do not quite make an objectively good song.
My biggest gripe with “Downpour” is, ironically, also what makes it most successful. “Downpour” is so overwrought with emotionality and forced softness that it comes off as quite boring. If not for my own interest in I.O.I, I would have given up on the song thirty seconds in. It is, in no uncertain terms, a whisper-fest. Said whispering does nothing to assist I.O.I’s weaker singers and causes a few of the members (Sohye and Somi in particular) to sound downright amateur. Additionally, the by-the-numbers melody forces “Downpour” into instantly forgettable territory.
“Downpour” is a send-off in the most clichéd sense. It is sad, emotional, and provides fans with a trip down memory lane. Fans and those looking for fodder for their upcoming nostalgia will surely find much to like with I.O.I’s swansong. However, those just in the market for an engaging song will be sorely disappointed.
‘Downpour’ Single Album