KARD recently made their first comeback (technically) after their “Hola Hola” debut with “You In Me“, which switched things up from what most are probably used to from them, but the result was a throwback in a way that was modernized by certain familiar sounds.
Perhaps the most prevalent complaint/criticism of KARD is that their singles all sound the same, though for the most part that’s only true in the sense of them all having genre-related tropical sounds (and I didn’t mind since I enjoy that sound anyway). For better or worse, “You In Me” switches things up, taking influence instead from the hip-hop ballads of the early-2000s like “Love The Way You Lie“ in America or “Going Crazy“ in Korea.
Surprisingly it works out better than I anticipated. The concern was that it would sound dated, but while “You In Me” definitely borrows a lot from the past in terms of structure and themes of the darker aspects of relationships, KARD managed to connect the song back to the sound that has defined them with the synthy instrumental drop for the chorus. That wrinkle helps modernize it quite a bit considering it runs trendy, and the chorus benefits from the fact that it has an actual melody over the instrumental instead of just relying on the drop to do all the work.
Perhaps most importantly to its success, “You In Me” realizes the potential of KARD’s unique diversity. Somin and Jiwoo were put into positions where their vocals could shine, while the rapping of J.Seph and BM hit like a ton of bricks and give the song the edge it needed. Basically, the interplay between the male and female members was utilized to wonderful effect here, and it resulted in a consistently fresh sound that makes the track replayable.
The obsession K-pop stans seem to have with groups completely changing with every comeback has always been a bit bizarre, so KARD’s willingness to stick with their guns so far has been fine by me. However, with “You In Me” they managed to walk that fine line between switching things up and maintaining their identity by leaving behind a few breadcrumbs for their fans to recognize them with. The result is their most mature and complete work to date, and it should go a long way to proving they’re much more than a one-trick pony.