The last artist within the Best Band category that I hadn’t reviewed at all this year yet is IZ. However, this isn’t the first time I have reviewed them, as I had reviewed their Final Kiss and Eden comebacks back in 2019. 2021 saw two comebacks from them, Say Yes (released early March) and Missing U (released mid April), both of which will be reviewed today as part of this double review. I had plans to do one more review for another nominee’s recent release, but due to time constraints, but I will wrapping up the category today and moving onto the next category instead.
Say Yes has one of the most satisfying builds of the year. The rock ballad starts off as a rather simple ballad, with a piano background (played on the keyboard), some other classical elements (i.e. strings) and touching vocals at the start. It was heartfelt and an emotionally heavy sequence. And then the song manages to pull in all this energy for a buildup out of nowhere (though it was expected), and the rock side of the ballad is dropped on us. It reminded me of other rock ballads that were done right, and Say Yes can be added to that list. As part of this build, Say Yes is taken to the chorus, which was nicely executed and had good melodies. The drums and electric guitar remains as part of the second verse and chorus, combining with the piano/strings from the start. The bridge was all English and stripped away the rock elements, but did not return to the likes of how Say Yes started. The piano and strings here was slightly more amped up, allowing the song to effortlessly reincorporate back the rock elements for the final chorus to lead out the song. Throughout all of this, Say Yes manages to put forward emotional vocals. I wished the vocals went a bit further in terms of this, something more gut-wrenching and powerful would have been ideal. What we got from the main vocalist was perfectly fine, but I feel a step further wouldn’t be too bad. Overall, Say Yes was a nicely done rock ballad, with a bit of nostalgia and well-execution adding to its appeal.
What stands out for me in Missing U was the melody of the song. The singing at the start was extremely pleasant, sticking right out at me. The melodies we get throughout the rest of Missing U stands out in a similar fashion, bringing out the delicate and soothing aspects of the song’s rock ballad instrumentation in such a warm light. It also gave the song a bit of vibrancy, colour and freshness, suitable for the time in which the song was released (i.e. the start of Summer). I liked how the piano/keyboard melody remains during the electric guitar solo section of the song. It practically was the element in which tied everything together and kept the song neat in my opinion. The vocals carrying these melodies were also helped make the song memorable for me, giving it more an of edge if I were to compare it to a more straight forward rock ballad, like Say Yes. What lifts up Missing U a lot more was the addition of rap during the verses. During these rap sequence, the rock elements of the rock ballad concentrate and the rapping adds a bit of appealing edge to the song. Overall, Missing U was satisfying and refreshing
The music video for Say Yes was pretty simple. It included the shots of the band on a stage performing the track, with a screen showing some sort of water pattern behind them and everything was in black and white. Simple, but it got the right vibes, feelings and emotions across. I like how the lighting was used to focus on just the keyboard and singer during the start and how it was also replicated during the bridge of the song, practically removing the rock contributors of the song from the video, but still having them there to bring back the rock sound when it was needed. As for Missing U, the video starts with a grayscale tone. But once the instruments kick into gear, the colours come through with a sepia tone. I thought this felt appropriate for the song. Missing U is a rock ballad at heart and so bright colours or harsh tones would not have worked. The closeup of each of the members throughout the video also gave the video a bit of a dynamic touch, which I thought was nice. None of the music videos were memorable enough, but they did their job. My preference, if I was forced to choose, was the Missing U video.
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 8/10
Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10