I am going to take a breather today after an intense week of comebacks and post just an album review today. The chosen album of the day is IZ*ONE’s Oneiric Diary, the group’s 3rd mini-album. The album itself features the title track, Secret Story of the Swan. Also featuring on it are the Japanese version of the title track and sidetrack Merry Go Round. This release occurs after the group returned after a rocky end of 2019 with Fiesta and BLOOM*IZ, their first studio album. Given their active return to the industry in 2020, we will definitely be seeing more releases from this popular female group. But until then, let’s have a close look at Oneiric Diary.
1. Welcome (Intro Track) – IZ*ONE kicks things with an introductory track. The best way I can describe the instrumental is that is similar to a music box. Just a lot slower and more boring than how I remember music boxes. The introductory track also contains vocals (hence why there is a review for it) and I am amazed that they are able to fit all 12 members into a minute and a half. The vocals give the introductory song a sweet and cutesy vibe, but it doesn’t really help make the introductory track any better than slow and boring. In the lyrics, they welcome us to the album and the IZ*Land. (6/10)
2. Secret Story of the Swan (환상동화) – Click here to read the full review for Secret Story of the Swan. (7/10)
3. Pretty – Pretty is a fun pop tune, with an addictive melody that is well suited for the Summery season. While the instrumental is pretty standard pop, I really enjoyed the whistling sound in the background. It adds a touch of vibrancy to the already bright and upbeat sounding song. I also really enjoyed their vocals in this song. The song brought out their vocals in a strong manner. We aren’t talking powerhouse vocals, but rather a vocal style that feels perfect for IZ*ONE. I am completely fine with the rapping, though I wonder how the song would have turned out if they infused some edge into the song via the rap sequence. I think it would have been epic. But all together as it is, pretty is probably the one word I would use to describe the song in a nutshell. Overall, Pretty brings a smile to my face and I really enjoyed it. (10/10)
4. Merry Go Round (회전목마) – We go retro with Merry Go Round. I really like the funky disco-like instrumental that opens up the song. While the instrumental remains upbeat and fun-sounding, the funky and retro disco-like instrumentation just isn’t as prevalent anymore as the song progressed, which was mildly disappointing. Covering up this flaw are the vocals. They were very clear and crisp. I really enjoyed the melodies that bring out their voices in this song. The melodies were memorable and catchy. I would have liked a bit of rapping in this song. I felt like that element was really needed and I think a really cool funky sequence would have added more substance to this song. (8/10)
5. Rococo – The main issue that I have with Rocco is that the vocals felt like it was in the foreground of the song too much. It just didn’t feel like it was mixed well into the instrumental and they felt disconnected at times. Standalone, the two elements were okay. The instrumental is more of your typical pop sound from recent times. It just has no character. I also got the impression that it was rather empty and needed more to be filled up. The vocal work was also a little typical and they too felt like could have used some backing or definition to give it some oomph. They weren’t bad in any sense, just needed more. Maybe that is why they felt too disconnected. (6/10)
6. With*One – We end the album with the mandatory ballad. Unlike the preceding song, With*One felt a lot more cohesive and sounded quite nice. I couldn’t help but think some of their higher pitches were a tad too high for my liking and so some of the vocals came off a little screechy for my liking. Despite that, there were some good melodies, especially in the chorus. I like the pop feel of the instrumental, which prevented an eye roll once I had realized it was that mandatory ballad. I also like the way they ended the song, with all the members harmonizing. (8/10)
Overall Album Rating – 7.5/10