[Double Review] Say Yes + Missing U – IZ

IZ is nominated for Best Band in the 2021 KPOPREVIEWED Awards. Support IZ by clicking here to vote for them!

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.

Say Yes
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 7.5/10
Overall Rating – 8/10

Missing U
Song – 8.5/10

Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.3/10

[Review] Final Kiss – IZ

It seems like the weekend will be dedicated to catching up as I still have a few more reviews to get through. Hence, there will no Japanese review this week. But there are other songs to check out in the meantime. IZ is one of the groups to return during the week, with the release of Final Kiss on Wednesday. The band’s last comeback was with EDEN, which was released back in May of this year.

Final Kiss takes a unique approach with its Summery track, placing emphasis on its rock instrumentation and reducing the vocals a fair bit to allow for the instrumentation to be focused upon. There isn’t anything wrong about this. To be exact, I don’t think there has been much of s song lately that does this. So there is a slight freshness to it, which I think works really well with the idea of a Summer song. The instrumentation feels loaded, giving the song some definition and oomph, which I really enjoyed. There was almost a head-banging feel to it, which is something I enjoy hearing when it comes to rock music (‘Almost’ being a keyword here. It just doesn’t feel exactly like it got into that territory).  It just feels awkwardly unbalanced. Every section had a part dedicated to instrumental, so it left the members with very little opportunity to flourish vocally. What we managed to hear was pretty good itself. But I just felt like they could have reduced some of the instrumentation and given more of themselves to the track. 

The video shows a comparison between their life indoors versus the outdoors by the pool. Rewatching the video a few times, I found it very boring and dry, not something you expect from the Summer concept. The idea is rather typical and I think the producers of the video could have done something to get the video to stand out. They may have been limited to the Summer concept but that feels like a minor hurdle nowadays given the magnitude of the industry. Unfortunately, what we got isn’t something that I find worthwhile watching again and again.

Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 5/10
Overall Rating – 6.5/10

[Review] EDEN – IZ

It is time to catch up on some more reviews for some tracks/music video releases. A number of bands released new tracks and promotional music videos over the last month, which I had neglected due to my busy study load. But today, I will check them off my list. First up is a totally brand new comeback from IZ, a band who released Angel last year. This time around, they returned with the title track EDEN, which is featured on their 3rd mini-album, RE:IZ.

I will be completely honest. Not only did I neglect to review this earlier, but today is also actually my first time to listen to the track. And right off the bat, I have major regrets for not doing both of those sooner. EDEN is a perfect head-banging song that I needed last week to shake my worries away. This is the personally the type of song that I wished bands churn out as it is so energy driven and are usually be emotionally charged. Essentially, EDEN ticks a few of my desired check boxes. The rock vibe that comes off this track is so strong, which makes it so appealing. The song did have a slight J-Rock twist to it, which I think makes it more interesting. Vocally, the track is pretty good. I thought the verses were nicely melodic, with the chorus going for that energy rush as pointed out before. That falsetto high note at the end is probably my pick for the highlight of the track and definitely gives the song a climatic ending. Overall, I highly recommend for you to check out EDEN.

This music video deserves some attention for how freaking high quality it is. It is a very colourful video but the colour is used in a subtle way (via lighting), which makes fit the rock vibes so well. Watching the overall video, you got a sense of how grungy the video was going for.  However, at the exact same time, I found the video to have an aesthetic vibe to it as well, which I thought was a very interesting contrast. My favourite scene has to be when the focus was purely on the drummer, who (with the combination of the flashing lights) managed to stand out so well. And also, the forehead game was strong, thanks to the drummer.

Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10

[Review] Angel – IZ

This is my first time hearing about IZ, yet they made their debut last year (which I somehow did not notice or completely missed). IZ is a 4-member boy band under Music K Entertainment who debuted with All You Want in August 2017. Jihoo, Hyunjun, Junyoung and Woosu returned on May 1st for the first time since debuting with Angel.

When you listen to this song as it appears on your playlist, it actually sounds decent. However, it is when I start making notes in my head for these reviews that I start noticing flaws of the track. The song lacks memorable elements. It fails to have a powerful hook that grabs your attention. While what we have does ring in your head for a while, it isn’t necessary that same sensation as you get with a really catchy song that engraves its hook into your mind. This just barely scratches the surface. Another thing that the song lacks in is energy. I feel like intensity was there but I felt like it there was a more powerful hook, it would have made the song much more interesting. Instead, it felt like it was going back and forth. The vocals were okay and the rapping was decent. But while it may sound like I don’t really like the song, I am not too troubled by it when I am listening to it when doing homework or working on other stuff. (I know it is odd but that is my honest opinion about the song).

While the music video does seem to feature that same generic issue that the song also faced, it felt fitting with the seriousness of the song. Once again, the same sets are used. I think my take on the plotline of the video makes it interesting for me. It seems like the members are finding this ‘angel‘ who has left feathers from her wings behind and a pearl necklace, which on the members hold onto. But it seems like the serious nature of the video/song and the microphone wires binding to the members, this person is no ‘angel’. That’s my take on it. I may be completely wrong.

Song – 6/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 6.6/10