It has been over a month since it was announced that ITZY would be making a comeback in July and embark on a world tour that will run throughout the second half of the year. Fast-forwarding to today, ITZY made their long awaited comeback with their new single SNEAKERS and their fifth mini-album, CHECKMATE. It follows the release of LOCO, which was released in September (almost 10 months ago!) last year. It also follows their first Japanese original single, Voltage, which I have yet to review.
I didn’t necessarily follow their one month long tease towards their comeback (that is just too much), so I had no expectations going into this comeback. As a result, I am genuinely surprised about how much I enjoyed SNEAKERS. It is such a bright and giddy track. Sure, their past tracks have been youthful and energetic. But SNEAKERS brings a whole new level of brightness to their portfolio, in a similar fashion to the likes of ICY but with a cutesy tinge. The bright pop (which seems to have a hint of hip-hop as well) instrumental was quite playful and comes off as refreshing. I do think the backing could have been filled in more and heftier, just to give SNEAKERS some more body and oomph. But overall, I enjoyed the fun nature of the song. Adding to the fun nature are the melodies and hooks. At first, they do feel quite elementary and childish. But repeat listens to the song have helped these melodies and hooks grow on me considerably. ITZY also does a strong showing throughout the song, with the vocals in the first round of pre-chorus being my favourite moment of SNEAKERS. As for the rapping, I enjoyed all rapping sequences including the verses and bridges. But overall, SNEAKERS stands out to me for its fun nature and addictive hooks.
Music video was fine. I like how the video really encompassed the energy that the song exuded. In addition to that, it also emphasised the fun vibe of the song, by story telling how the sneaker travelled through time. It was first introduced to royalty in the first sequence, before a Spread Sneaker Worldwide mission told everyone about sneakers in the second sequence. The bridge seems to show the members opening a shop, with the ending showing them in the future. I really liked the green screen usage in the video, and the members looked great throughout.
I was only recently informed of this, but ITZY finishes all their main title track choreography with a crown. I don’t know how I missed that, especially since I have taken note of these endings before. It made me pay attention to their other hand formations, and I noticed the ‘W’ in this pre-choruses. As for the chorus, I liked how they incorporated the leg movements so the members can show off their sneakers. It is quite clever. Aside from that, I enjoyed the energy and brightness that the members brought to the stage for this comeback, as well.
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10