mini-album review: ITZY “GUESS WHO”

Guess who is back? It’s not Koda Kumi back to do an anime opening for Black Clover, no! IT’z ITZY!

Making their return after their fandom-related release, “MIDZY”, the five-member girl crush group is back to slay the game with the new release “GUESS WHO“. It’s a release that’s been long coming, with their last girl-crush concept being that of “Not Shy”, which I reviewed last year to rave reviews (I’m not shy to say I’m an ITZY stan). This time the girls tackle an even fiercer concept, joining the Korean mafia with this aesthetically-pleasing release. Knowing they have the ability to put a hit on the general public, I’m sure they have the potential to be respected mafias as time goes on.

That said, the girls also brought a bevy of new tracks to keep us on our toes, having their fans guess who, out of the six tracks including the title release, is the true hit-maker. Is it the mafia in the morning? Or is it something more along the lines of… tennis? You’ll have to read on!


ITZY (있지)
GUESS WHO
Released: 2021/04/30

Navigation
Mafia In the morning
Sorry Not Sorry
KIDDING ME
Wild Wild West
SHOOT!
TENNIS (0:0)


ITZY promoting GUESS WHO

마.피.아. In the morning

Mafia In the morning

Rating: 4 out of 5.

“Guess who loves you? It’s me. Do I show you? No. It’s a no.”

THAT is the beginning line of “Mafia In the morning“, the next girl-crush track from the five-member JYP girl group, and it definitely pierces into you like the gunshot wound from a hit. It’s pretty fire. Can the same be said about the rest of the song? Uh… well let’s break it down.

It’s not my favorite ITZY title track, and I’m about to face the wrath of MIDZY, but it just… with a song title like “Mafia In the morning”, I need to FEEL that interrogation, I need to FEEL that push, I need to feel like I’m playing a game of Yakuza but it’s SERIOUS. The problem here is there is no oomph; none of the power in “WANNABE” or the catchiness of “Not Shy” is here. Maybe I’ll get it on more listens. I do really enjoy its instrumental, even when it hits as hard as it possibly can, and it definitely has a more haunting feel than their prior discography.

Perhaps I had some high expectations, but if maybe this was mafia at night, I’d be wanting to send my application in to the Korean mafia.


Sorry Not Sorry

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This ain’t a Demi Lovato cover, no, but “Sorry Not Sorry” is ITZY’s foray into Western-style territory, which they know all too well following the release of Not Shy. Does this have the same power? Kinda! I think I’m being a little generous here, but it’s on par with “Mafia in the morning” in that it just feels there. It’s got a great beat, and the guitar instrumental feels fierce, but maybe it’s because I haven’t listened to it enough times… it just doesn’t have the same power that ITZY’s previous B-sides had. I’ll give it a four-star rating for now, since it has its charm, and as I listen to it more and more as it goes on, I’m feeling it. I feel awful as a MIDZY but maybe I’m sorry… not sorry? Give it time.


KIDDING ME

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

OH, here we go!

KIDDING ME” kicks things up a notch, and I actually really like this. It goes for an overall hip-hop sound that is joined by occasional guitars during the bridge, but it’s at the chorus where you’re thrown for a loop with cowbells that has the catchiest melody; who would have known?! This feels very much along the lines of something I would hear on the “IT’z ME” album, which I’ll get to at some point but is (spoiler) my favorite ITZY release, by far. Every beat that hits in that chorus… you can feel it. There’s a power in this one, and the girls, in every song honestly, deliver vocally. I did dock it a little as that breakdown near the end was very brief and felt undersold, but the very end’s house-like feel has “KIDDING ME” asking… ‘are you kidding me? I love this.’


Wild Wild West

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Gee, for a song titled “Wild Wild West“, you’d think it would take on a more Western sound a la “Sorry Not Sorry”, but alas… I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt though. I can hear SOME form of Western in it, and there are elements that you can separate in this track and very well put in a Western-flavored track. That aside, the song overall is not terrible. It’s got some catch to it, though it truly just feels like a filler track. The clapping gives it a nice flavor, and the hip-hop beats that mesh with some of the more Western-sounding elements are fun. I just don’t feel like it’s for me… I’ll stick to the ‘Wild Wild West’ of Will Smith… (MIDZY, you are welcome to come for me, lol).


SHOOT!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Consider me intrigued by this, but “SHOOT!” is the girl-crush version of elevator music… and this isn’t a bad thing, at all! I actually love this. This is pretty much one of the better tracks on the mini, with its whistly and whimsical melody that feels like hip-hop merged itself with the well-known Wii screen soundtrack. The only things I’ll give it criticism for is that it is too short, giving it the feel of an interlude (which, I can sort of forgive? I think it was intended to be that way), and that it needs a fun breakdown of sorts… otherwise, it just kinda feels like it’s one note all the way. I like it, but it needs… more. This is more of a toot than a shoot (shout out to the Drag Race fans, here!).


TENNIS (0:0)

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The final track on the mini is actually really fun, and it’s named “TENNIS (0:0)“. It’s an interesting track, starting out almost like a midtempo ballad that has an acoustic guitar playing throughout before we’re suddenly introduced by hard-hitting bass. Don’t get me wrong here, this is not a track that goes hard… it is a song that is powered by vocal ability meshed on top of an instrumental that has whimsy and fun attached to it but has a very, almost-summery feel. It’s actually a really cool track to listen to, as it has a breezy vibe to it. I might not be one to play tennis, but I might take up ITZY’s offer on it after listening to this.


OVERVIEW

And the verdict is… definite killers… I mean, hit-makers!

ITZY deliver really well, and I’m always here for their releases, so consider me a MIDZY. However! I am slightly disappointed that some of the tracks, including the title track, don’t have the same capture power as their previous tracks. It feels like there’s something missing. That said, each song still has its charms, and there’s something in each song for everyone to enjoy. If you’re a fan of Western tracks, “Sorry Not Sorry” and perhaps even “Wild Wild West” are tracks to check out. If you’re like me and enjoy elevator music, “SHOOT!” is a good listen. I will say that “KIDDING ME” and “TENNIS (0:0)” show a lot of everything I love from ITZY: catchiness and creativity.

GUESS WHO” isn’t my favorite mini from the girls, but perhaps I’ll give it a few more listens and reappraise sometime in the future. With that all said, there’s no more guessing: give this mini a try; you might just get a hit on you from these mafia girls.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

MUST-LISTEN: KIDDING ME, TENNIS (0:0)

For more ITZY reviews, visit the archive!

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