IZ*ONE - La Vie en Rose
It’s another year which means another season of popular television shows. Relevant to this group would be the newest season of Produce 101. Aptly named Produce48, the show brought several girls from Japan’s popular AKB48 group as well as its sister groups and threw them into the K-pop mix. That show has finished and now we’re seeing the debut of the winning members, now known as IZ*ONE. I didn’t check out any of the teasers heading into this, but I was a bit on the fence because I’ve never really been the biggest fan of I.O.I or Wanna One.
Well if this debut is any hint at what to expect in the future, I might actually change my position on general opinion of the Produce groups. This song is stupidly catchy and an excellent showing of the potential that this group has. I don’t know that I’ve heard anything quite like it in K-pop in a long while. The energy that this song gives off is so exceptional and different than I was expecting, and I can’t help but think that might be due to the mixture of Japanese and Korean influences.
Speaking of which, I absolutely love the instrumental choices in this song. The shamisen allows the Japanese members of the group to retain some of their personal culture and legacy while the song utilizes it as a unique, standout sound in the scene. On top of the upbeat synths and funk-styled guitar licks, it gives the song a nice mix of both modern and traditional vibes. Those boombastic horns leading up to the chorus also give a great break from the otherwise ever-present synth and make the song feel so much more dynamic.
Alright, enough about the instrumentals. Let’s talk about the vocals. Those wavy rolls during the chorus are dangerously addictive for sure, but I think the verses and pre-chorus are just as catchy. There are so many gummy parts that can get stuck in your head, I’m not sure that it’s possible to hear this song and not at the very least remember it. On top of that, the rap was flawless. Actually flawless. It fit right in with the rest of the song yet managed to stand out as a quick burst of energy in an already kinetic song.
Speaking of which, I absolutely love how the song ended on what felt like another buildup. That last minute shift for such a short period of time was not only timely, it was damn effective. The abruptness of the ending makes you want to hit replay instantly, and if I’m being truthful that’s exactly what I did. And have been doing. And will be doing. If it wasn’t already clear, I absolutely love this. It’s one of the strongest debuts I think I’ve ever had the pleasure of witnessing.
If the bold, daring red hue is going to be the new trend in K-pop, I’m here for it. At least for now while it’s not being done to death. I absolutely loved the use of that color here, both for the backgrounds as well as for the outfits that absolutely popped off the screen. I’m definitely excited to see what styling choices they use for live performances, but if it’s anything like what we saw in this video, the girls are going to be looking incredible. Oh, did I mention that yet? Because they all look amazing. I know that’s a standard in K-pop, but these girls had a very different vibe to them overall because a lot of the members don’t have the sort of standard Korean features that you often see.
I don’t think I can do a proper review of this video without talking about the choreography. This had such a wonderful blend of everything. It was sexy, sensual, powerful; it was playful, easy to follow, and at times even cutesy. And more than all of that? It flowed so smoothly. It never seemed awkward even during transitions, which by the by looked incredible. If I had to pick a personal favorite portion, I think it definitely has to be the cool stomp move during the pre-chorus buildup. That intensity just matches that portion of the song so perfectly.
Alright, so I have to a complaint of some kind because that’s just how I am. I wish there was a bit more of a plot going on, but at least there was plenty of imagery. I believe I’ve talked about the symbolic meaning of red before, but I’ll talk about it in terms of this video. The title of the song roughly translates to “Life in happy hues,” but both lyrically and visually, the song focuses on the color red. Obviously it also plays into the color of a rose, but personally I think it goes just a bit deeper than that. It’s a color that grabs your attention quickly and has you focus on it - something that these girls are going to be trying to do now that they’re venturing into the mainstream. It represents the girls’ passion in this case, at least in my opinion. They want you to associate them with the concept of red - to see them as lively, determined, and strong. And red is the perfect color to exhibit all of those attributes.
All in all, this video was great and I personally found it enjoyable as well as entertaining. I wish that there was a way for newcomers to learn the members of the group, but I guess I could always go back and watch Produce48 if I feel the need for that.
IZ*ONE has struck absolute gold with “La Vie en Rose” as their debut title track. I don’t imagine this doing anything but absolutely crushing the charts, especially right now before all of the November comebacks strike. I can’t recall the last time that I was this floored by a debut, especially by a group that I had no intentions of falling in love with. If you haven’t already, go give this music video a view - they just might win you over as quickly as they did me.