August and September seems to be the month of comebacks, as ITZY, JYP Entertainment’s girl-crush and individuality concept girl group, is back! In this latest effort from the five-member group, ITZY takes the concept of not being shy and merges it with a western feel, which they’ve previously incorporated into their music before, but never image-wise.
With this comeback comes six new songs to showcase ITZY’s growth as a girl group since their stellar debut last year. But is the release just the right combination of elements for a perfect comeback or is it just shy of getting there? Let’s take a look!
To kick off the mini, “Not Shy“, the title track, is ITZY at their most badass. Starting with some distorted noise with Yuna telling you ITZY is ‘not shy’, we’re thrown into girl-crush territory with horns and heavy beats that fluctuate throughout, incorporating hip-hop beats to give it a bit of edge. The chorus is filled with the same distorted horns that has the girls at their loudest, with screams of ‘ITZY!’ and ‘not shy!’ in the background. This song, from the instant it begins to end, has you on its hooks, as every portion of the song is Top 40 flavor. It’s a great, fun song, and one that I am not shy to say I really like. ⬛
The girl-crush vibes do not end at ‘Not Shy’ as “Don’t Give A What” immediately takes hold with its intro horn before going into full-blown electric guitar to complement the anthem-like yells of the girls. While it has a very youthful feel to it, it is so powerful and incredibly catchy. The electric guitar continues throughout, with bits and pieces of heavy dance elements to support. It has the appeal to be played non-stop and none of the girls are vocally straining. It’s a loud anthem, and it really gets you going from its starting point to finish. This song really annoys my partner, and I really don’t give a what. ⬛
Anthems don’t end with ITZY, as we have the next song, “Louder“. Here, the girls beg you to get louder. However, upon listening to the song, it doesn’t quite have the ‘loud’ oomph that I was hoping for following the last two songs. Built upon a distorted staccato-like synth that goes throughout, the song goes off-beat for a few parts, before landing back into a slightly louder chorus. It’s in the chorus where it feels slightly subdued, not matching the power that should be there, and the vocals throughout the song feel strained. Not my favorite, but I’m finding upon more listens that it’s getting catchier to listen to. I might be louder in my opinion later on. ⬛
“iD“, I! Perhaps the favorite of all the songs on the album, ‘iD’ is the exact opposite of ‘Louder’ in terms of its sound and presentation, as it has the loudness I was hoping for in ‘Louder’s’ chorus. Swinging right into the song with a horn intro, we are swaying to a hard-hitting dance beat meshed with the distorted sounds of the girls’ vocals. Here, the girls are booming with emotion and the sound follows suit as its catchy chorus tells you to give them your ID. There’s a fantastic line about a SIN that I thought was so silly… but it just adds to the fun of this song. With its awesome rap segments, and the girls’ great vocals here, I can’t help but show my ID to them at the door. ⬛
Here’s where the album gets incredibly interesting! “SURF” strays from ITZY’s girl-crush concept to go for a summer tune, appropriately since this release came within summer. Starting off with the girls vocalizing, we splash into what almost feels like a city-pop vibe. ‘SURF’ is built on a summer-like dance beat and guitar melody, one that is meant to get you swaying with its cow-bell noises. The girls’ vocals hit a little bit higher as they’re not hitting harder like their previous songs in their catalogue, but it doesn’t sound painful and complement the song nicely. A wonderful, mellower, but still catchy track from the girls, this surf is worth going to the beach for. ⬛
“Be In Love” ends the album on a slower but still very uptempo note. The girls sing upon a bass and guitar melody, with vocalizations that are very reminiscent to a song in miss A’s catalogue a la ‘Ma Style’. The chorus itself is booming with beats behind the melody, giving it a powerful oomph that is very much ITZY’s. Here, the vocals of the girls are put at the forefront, as it is slower than most of their songs, and they sing very well. While it is the song I will likely listen to less on the album than the remainder, it is still a fantastic song, as it has an end-of-summer flair that I might find myself listening to a little bit more when fall hits. Then, I may be in love with this song at a later time… ⬛
This is a fantastic comeback! Especially coming off the heels of their mini-album ‘IT’z ME’, the follow-up ‘Not Shy’ is not shy enough to go further for the girls. While the release still maintains that hardcore style of individuality that ITZY is so known for, there are bits and pieces of the mini that take ITZY to newer directions, and I love it. ITZY is quickly becoming one of my favorite groups in this generation of Korean pop groups, and I’m not shy to say that I have my eye on them for the next releases to come.
MUST-LISTEN: iD, Don’t Give A What, SURF