New releases by (G) I-DLE , Dreamcatcher and ITZY ,
Pictured below from left to right, give us three indications of where K-Pop is headed
“Do I look like your mommy’ from ITZY’s new song “Boys like you” indicates that something is happening in K-Pop.
ITZY’s song Boys like you is their first all-English language. Previously they have re-recorded many in English, but this track appears firmly aimed at the US /European market. We say it seems because it would be daft to imagine that these are the only markets this song is aimed at.
ITZY has come in for criticism, with reviewers saying this is not an accurate representation of the K-pop style, and that’s true because then it would be sung in Korean. In fairness, though, we do see what they mean. However, we feel they are somewhat missing the point – the track is the first foray into all English, and with that in mind, ITZY has delivered.
The song is fun.
It has an easy-to-remember Chorus, and it’s aimed squarely at the Teen market. Now that’s not to say that teens only like simple Chorus lines – the market sector is flooded with competition in that sense -and a song that’s instantly catchy and easy to remember has been a winning formula for a very long time.
The team at JYP Entertainment are pros at bringing a group along at the right pace and adapting to market style. The most commented factor reviewers seemed to hit on was that the song is in English, and there is no doubt that’s a message that ITZY will be pleased to hear. It’s a catchy Pop song with a positive statement that will resound with the teen market, and with that in mind, it’s a strong entrance into the English language market. So keep an eye on ITZY as they do more. We believe they will do so while gradually increasing the ‘full K-pop sound’ to a market hungry for more.
By making their own music arrangement and writing their lyrics
(G), I-DLE has grown their unique sound into a force to be reckoned with in K-Pop. Their success stands out against a typical albeit massively successful formula adopted by the most prominent management companies in Korea for controlling almost all aspects of song production down to choosing the music and approving the song lyrics. Instead, the group makes its own music arrangement and writes its lyrics. This has been delivered for (G) I-DLE, who are riding high in the world of girl groups in K-Pop.
Their new track, where even the title pokes fun at the sometimes proffered thought that the genre is backdropped against the ‘sexy but not too bright ‘label, is something that has more to it than first appears. The title of the song NXDE, where even the U in NUDE is replaced by an X as if there is something wrong with being nude – hints they are calling out the double standard the genre is accused of. However, they are doing it by asking what’s wrong with being Nude – we all come into the world that way. So what’s wrong with showing who you are – it’s OK not to be perfect all the time, and given that this world of “k-Pop’ is highly polished, it makes their view all the more enjoyable.
This isn’t a song about bashing looking sexy – it’s a song saying that Kpop Girl Groups are intelligent and savvy about what they are doing. At the same time, it is calling out the idea that a film star or Music star who is seen ‘in the nude’ must instantly fall from grace because it’s to do with Sex – when entire industries are based on selling Sex. So someone saw you for who you are, they saw you as “Nude” it’s not about Sex – get your mind out of the gutter -we are all born nude. So it’s a bold move from a Group who have taken its path to success.
It’s also a perfect song.
The lyrics have fun with the topic, the ‘tongue-in-cheek burlesque vibe of the song is hard to resist, and once again, (G) I-DLE let us know there is much more to them by delivering a hit song with a strong message.
Vision by Dreamcatcher
Dreamcatcher is known for its sophistication and evocative lyrics matched by driving beats to their Chorus, and they do it well. Dreamcatcher know how to deliver, ad they have done consistently – this track is .. well, it’s Dreamcatcher doing what they do, solid music well produced. Maybe the fans want something more, or it’s that Dreamcatcher are capable of more by going beyond their well-deserved signature sound? There is nothing wrong with the music; the lyrics it’s all high quality as we’ve come to rely on from Dreamcatcher – instead, it’s symptomatic of something we see building within K-Pop, a desire to try something new to express more creativity. It’s going to be interesting to see how this is achieved because as the saying goes if ain’t broke don’t fix it – but creativity must do that it must create to it dies and to create means to try something new continually.
Our point is not that K-pop is at risk of going stale, but instead, how does it evolve without breaking the mould that made it and has delivered so well in its mission to bring Korean Culture to a world stage? As they say, it’s a quality problem.