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Itzy - Guess Who Music Album Reviews

Itzy - Guess Who Music Album Reviews
On this mini-album, the K-pop girl group struggle to maintain the audacious energy that first put them in the spotlight.

The K-pop girl group ITZY debuted two years ago with the brazen and lively “DALLA DALLA.” The song bore a resemblance to their forebears and contemporaries—2NE1’s domineering vocals, TWICE’s group chants, Momoland’s triplet-rapped breakdowns—while establishing the quintet as a massive new force in the industry. Their cute yet fiery electropop put dubstep wobbles against bright synths and trap drums against cheerleader chants. More memorable was the message, with lyrics full of self-love and explicit, endearing encouragement: “Keep your chin up! We got your back!” The chorus’ anthemic cries of “I love myself!” were directed both to you and themselves; it was instructive pomp.

ITZY have always matched a contagious confidence with audacious songwriting; singles like “ICY” and “WANNABE” have prismatic beats that make them runway-ready pop spectacles (it’s fitting that they’re the sole K-pop group with production credits from SOPHIE). Disappointingly, their latest mini-album, Guess Who, often strays from the formula, eschewing genre-blending panache for the tediously straight-ahead. Lead single “Mafia in the Morning” is the biggest offender: There’s a Cardi B lilt in the verses, but it otherwise feels like BLACKPINK without the stadium-sized grandeur. ITZY’s labelmates Stray Kids have aimed for bombastic hip-hop too, but the results have never been as stilted and one-dimensional. Whenever K-pop borrows ideas from Black music and whiffs this hard, the results are cringeworthy—there’s no empowerment here, just secondhand embarrassment.

Guess Who exposes ITZY’s kitchen-sink approach as a necessity; without it, their songs fail to dazzle. Their rapping, for example, is rarely impressive, so it’s best when it’s included as a minor element. “KIDDING ME” makes this exceedingly clear: Built on murky bass lurches, the song has a brain-rattling chorus drop and the album’s very worst rap verse, both technically and lyrically. Still, by diversifying its individual parts, the song redeems itself: The pre-chorus is all EDM balladry and build-up, and its last 15 seconds find wonky electronics adorning the beat, like a final blitz onto the dancefloor. It’s a much more convincing hip-hop track than “Mafia in the Morning,” largely because it refuses to be just that.

Most deserving of lead-single status is “Sorry Not Sorry.” It’s built on a country-rock guitar riff that exudes the braggadocio of the lyrics. Such brashness is offset by dreamy pre-choruses: “I’ll show you, are you ready for me?” they sing. It’s a vulnerable moment—an announcement that they’ve quietly been waiting to show themselves off. They do just that on the chorus: With brass blazing, their sung and rapped vocals strut along to rapid-fire kick drums—they sound like shrapnel when howling “I-T-Z-Y.”

Guess Who’s other tracks are paltry and bloodless. “SHOOT!” is Travis Scott meets “Hotline Bling,” and while a perfectly fine mood piece, it’s too short to feel like anything but an odd curio. Given Scott’s influence on Korean music for the past half-decade, “SHOOT!” ends up feeling both unadventurous compared to other idols’ songs and less catchy than Korean rappers’ more faithful reproductions. “Wild Wild West” has a country veneer but is limp, corny, and unconvincing in its tepid handclaps and “bang, bang, bang” shouts. “TENNIS (0:0)” is even more frivolous: an acoustic guitar-driven love song with a gliding bassline that fails to inject any verve—think Korean superstar IU without the charm. ITZY built themselves up as one of the most exciting groups in K-pop, but they’ve somehow become more uncomfortable being themselves in the process.
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Itzy - Guess Who Music Album Reviews Itzy - Guess Who Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, May 13, 2021 Rating: 5

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