Ah December. The month where most groups wind down for Christmas and awards season. It’s a notoriously quiet month, but much like the rest of 2020, December has flipped expectations and is looking surprisingly stacked. We’ve already got comebacks from the likes of BOA, NCT 2020, ONEUS and have acts like Ghost9 and Super Junior waiting in the wings. But today it’s all about IZ*ONE. The girls have had a very strong year commercially after the Produce scandal of last year and while I haven’t really vibed with much of their material, it’s fair to say that they’ve definitely made their mark. And the festive Panorama feels like the perfect victory lap.
Panorama feels very much like a fusion of the groups past two singles, taking the more buoyant and melodic aspects of Fiesta and melding it with the hard hitting instrumentation of Secret Story of The Swan to create a track that feels uniquely suited to the group. Now neither of those tracks really experienced much staying power and while I don’t know whether or not Panorama will fare over the next few months, it easily makes a much more instant impression than its predecessors. Opening with a percolating synth line heavily reminiscent of X1’s fantastic Like always, Panorama quickly launches into its gargantuan synth loop before pulling back for a more restrained first verse. It’s a track that builds on the more enjoyable aspects of groups past two singles and revels in its chic, yet boisterous atmosphere. And despite my many qualms regarding the groups discography, this is one aspect of IZ*ONE’s music that I’ve come to respect. They have a signature sound and despite their temporary status, build upon it to create a unique discography. And this sense of identity also helps elevate Panorama into something much more enjoyable.
This is especially evident during the multi-part chorus which employs a fantastic melody over an equally potent instrumental. It’s the tracks most satisfying moment, propelling it forward in dramatic fashion and giving the track a centrepiece that’s both memorable and weighty. And while the second verse trap breakdown does halt some of the track momentum, the introduction of strings during the following verse really helps give Panorama an added bit of character. I would have loved to see the final few seconds of the track extended to maybe one more gargantuan hook but i’m very happy with what we have here. Time will tell if Panorama will go onto usurp Violeta or La Vi en Rose but it’s easily my favourite IZ*ONE single from the past year.
Final Rating: 8.5 / 10