Although I’ll primarily be reviewing singles, there are some albums that are too influential or strong to not cover. In this segment, I will be spotlighting those standout albums and giving my thoughts on each and every track
While ITZY had a watershed 2019, the only thing that kept them from really transforming into bonafide superstars was their overall lack of musical output. While they released two projects last year, they were both single albums. Thankfully with their newest mini album ‘IT’z Me’ they have eclipsed the 5 songs they released last year with 7 brand new songs. But that wouldn’t mean much if the quality of the tracks were lacking. Well I’m pleased to say that not only is most of project incredibly consistent, but it also features some of the most instantly addicting B-sides we’ve seen all year.
1. WANNABE (review)
2. Ting Ting Ting
One of the most incessantly repetitive songs we’ve heard all year, Ting Ting Ting’s hook is one of the mini albums most instantly addictive. But aside from the titular hook, it’s the propulsive verses that really standout. The propulsive and excellently produced club beats that frame much of the track are incredibly invigorating, providing the track with a constant sense of energy. The final 35 seconds are especially nice, emptying out all the vocals for a pure shot of uncluttered club beats that become more minimal as the track nears its end. It’s a wonderfully unique production choice, and one that helps Ting Ting Ting transform into one of the albums standouts.
3. THAT’S A NO NO
This is title track material right here. Easily my favourite B-side on the album, the carnival party starting That’s a no no is ITZY’s strongest album track yet. Opening with tribal-esque chanting and a collage of interesting production flourishes, the track launches into the industrial beat that underlies much of the tracks verses. It’s heavily reminiscent of much of what SM entertainment were doing at the start of the 2010’s and it’s fantastic. But what really transforms That’s a no no into a larger than life listening experience is the gargantuan two part hook. Many of ITZY’s album tracks suffer from the lack of strong hook, but this track revels in it. After a breathless pre-chorus, it launches into a brilliant chanted hook before the rapid fire second hook comes slamming in. It’s all exhilarating stuff, and easily equates to one of the strongest album tracks we’ve heard all year.
4. Nobody Like You
I don’t think any of us can say that we saw this coming. While most of ITZY’s work has tackled aggressive EDM beats, the grungy rock guitar driven Nobody Like You is the first time that the group has displayed their versatility. Heavily reminiscent of the kind of material that framed much of mid 2000’s Disney channel along with artists like Avril Lavinge and One Direction, it’s a song that works much better than I would have expected. It’s an unexpected diversion from their core sound, but it fits them like a glove. And while the vocals do border on shrill during the hook, it’s just one of those songs that can make you instantly smile.
5. You Make Me
Carried by the strength of its incredibly charismatic and attitude infused verses, You Make Me is a track that just falls short thanks to that let down of a chorus. While the verses present an incredible number of off-kilter production choices, I’m still not sure whether the surprisingly minimalistic hook works. It’s an interesting choice for sure, and I can definitely appreciate this kind of oddball structure. Thankfully, it only reappears twice during the song, which makes the interesting choice of omitting the hook during points where you would expect it to reappear. It’s a weird track for sure, but it’s probably one of my least favourite tracks on an otherwise incredibly consistent album.
6. I Don’t Wanna Dance
Taking the tribal elements teased in That’s a No No to more extreme levels, the incredibly sassy I Don’t Wanna Dance is a track that’s pretty much solely carried by that incredible backing track. While I doubt there were any actual drums utilised within this track, the ever-present thump that frames much the track is heavily reminiscent of tribal music. It’s a unique production choice that I’ve seen repeating throughout the album, and it would be an interesting path for ITZY to follow in the future. The chanted chorus is a choice, but I think they pull it off pretty well. It’s not the best track ITZY have ever recorded, but it isn’t the worst either.
Ok this probably is my least favourite track the group has ever recorded. Produced by renowned artist Sophie, the dark gritty 24HRS combines some of my least favourite musical preferences into one track. While I adore the dark bass line and synths that open the track, the overly childish pre-chorus and grating hook are easily some of the least enjoyable moments within the groups discography. And at 2 minutes long, the track feels way too short to really carry any weight. I understand that it’s probably more an outro than full track, but I feel like both ITZY and Sophie could have done much better.
Best Album Tracks
- THAT’S A NO NO
- Ting Ting Ting
- Nobody Like You
Final Thoughts: Incredibly cohesive and upbeat, ITZY’s first mini album is an excellent reminder that these girls are here to stay. Featuring a number of invigorating production choices, there isn’t a single track on this project that feels boring. And while the albums last three tracks struggle to maintain the incredibly high water mark set by the opening 4 tracks, they still do a good job at maintaining the groups core sound whilst still helping them branch off into unforeseen directions. It’s one of the years stronger mini albums, and that’s why I’m going to award it a:
Album Rating: A-