It’s been a rough few months for K-pop group IZ*ONE, but they’ve recovered and returned. The latest album from the group, and the state of the group as a whole was stuck in limbo in the fall, as controversy over reality TV show Produce 101 sparked.
After months of investigation, it was found out that the two most recent seasons of music contest Produce 101 had rigged voting. Those seasons were the ones that created boy group X1 and IZ*ONE.
The issue put everything on halt for IZ*ONE and their first full-length album BLOOM*IZ, which was intended to come out in November. While IZ*ONE survived the controversy, X1 disbanded. Now that the issue has blown over, for the most part, IZ*ONE finally had the chance to put out their album.
Listening to the album, it’s clear that IZ*ONE has a style that they don’t ever intend to stray far from. While the album as a whole is good and some tracks stick out, it feels like it was hard to remember all of the tracks.
- FIESTA (title track)
- SO CURIOUS
- YOU & I
- PINK BLUSHER
- OPEN YOUR EYES
Track 1: EYES
Before the title track, the first song on the album is “EYES.” The repeated line throughout is “now I’m crazy for you, crazy falling.” The song feels more mellow compared to most of their work, although it also felt like one of the most memorable tracks on the album. It did feel like the high note in the bridge was sporadic, almost like they felt like the song needed a pop so they wedged this in. While it may sound like an insult, the way this song never really kicked it into top gear was nice.
Track 2: FIESTA
The title track for this album is “FIESTA.” This song carries the torch of their previous hit “Violeta,” having a very instrumental focused EDM style. The two-waves of chorus that “FIESTA” had was really good. The first part was packed with lyrics, while the second had more of a beat focus. While it had a similar EDM style to “Violeta,” this is what really set it apart. The bridge was nice, as the high note was obviously impressive.
The music video and the choreography are phenomenal. It seemed very similar to their previous Korean comeback “Violeta.” The video put a big spotlight on the choreography, as it should when it’s this good. Honestly, why even put effort into choreography if a video doesn’t show it? While I was a big fan of the LOONA comeback recently, one of my biggest qualms was how their music video hardly showed their choreography. Yes, the video was still great, but the dance was so intricate. The dance routine for this song is intense, and because of that, it deserves the spotlight it was given.
The sets and costumes were pretty cool too. At some points, all of the scenes felt like a lot to digest all at once, although it was never too over the top.
Track 3: DREAMLIKE
“DREAMLIKE” is the first of many songs on the album that only features some of the members. This one has half of the group, that being Yena, Sakura, Wonyoung, Hitomi, Hyewon and Eunbi. This song had a real tropical pop influence to it, which feels weird to hear in the Winter. The song wasn’t anything amazing, but it’s a cute song with a summer concept.
Track 4: AYAYAYA
The song with the most unique song title was “AYAYAYA.” The song included Eunbi, Sakura, Hyewon, Chaeyeon, Chaewon, Minju, Nako, Yuri and Yujin. While I really enjoyed the vocals on this song, the instrumental felt somewhat generic.
Track 5: SO CURIOUS
It feels like IZ*ONE goes all-in on the cute concept with the song “SO CURIOUS.” This was another song with a pack of nine idols, this time being Yena, Chaeyeon, Chaewon, Minju, Nako, Hitomi, Yuri, Yujin and Wonyoung. This song felt like a little too much. Chaewon’s part before the final chorus was impressive, although the song as a whole was bogged down by adlibs and spoken or chanted lines which replaced singing. This felt like a cheesier version of “AIRPLANE,” a song off of their HEART*IZ EP.
Track 6: SPACESHIP
The whole crew returned for the next three songs of the album, starting with “SPACESHIP.” The singing in the chorus was especially impressive in this song. As a whole, not a lot made this song stick out at the end of the listen.
Track 7: DESTINY
“DESTINY” is the first of three ballad-y songs on the album. This song was nice because it picked up a little during the chorus. If it didn’t, it would have been stale. However, that is not the case.
Track 8: YOU & I
Singing to the backing track of a guitar and other effects, “YOU & I” is the slowest part of the album. If you don’t like ballad songs, this is a skip for you. The song has heartwarming lyrics. This song felt like a slower-paced version of BLACKPINK’s “STAY.”
Track 9: DAYDREAM
The ninth song, “DAYDREAM,” features a sub-unit of Eunbi, Chaeyeon, Minju and Yujin. This was easily, like easily, the best song that the b-sides offered. It followed a similar sound to the EDM-pop title track. This song follows the daydream theme throughout the lyrics. The change in the instrumental when the chorus hits is what makes this song so good.
Track 10: PINK BLUSHER
The song “Pink Blusher” included Sakura, Hyewon, Nako, Hitomi and Wongyoung. If you couldn’t figure it out already from whos in this song, yes, this is another one of those over-the-top cute-pop songs. This wasn’t as bad as “SO CURIOUS,” however was still a little grating.
Track 11: SOMEDAY
“SOMEDAY” featured the smallest cast, being a trio of Yena, Chaewon and Yuri. In this song, Chaewon was given all of the big lines. Her vocal ability was given a real spotlight in this song. Yuri was given lots of high notes too. This was the best of the three slower songs on the album easily just due to the talent it showcased.
Track 12: OPEN YOUR EYES
All 12 members of IZ*ONE came back for the final song on the album, titled “OPEN YOUR EYES.” It was nice to see rapping get some representation in this song, as most of the album was surprisingly vacant of rap. So, credit goes to Minju and Chaeyeon for their rap parts. Also, Yuri deserves some recognition for holding an impressive note through the bridge. The flutes sounded a little out of place during the chorus, but that’s nitpicking.
Was BLOOM*IZ Good?
IZ*ONE’s first full-length album felt like a continuation of the music they put out in their first two Korean EPs. In a sense, it felt like it highlighted one of the flaws in the length of albums. While many songs on this release were good, so many were easy to forget at the end of the day.
The high points were easily the title track “FIESTA,” “DAYDREAM” and “SOMEDAY.” While IZ*ONE is good when they lean into the bubblegum pop sound, it felt a little too overdone in songs like “SO CURIOUS” and “PINK BLUSHER.”
It’s good to see IZ*ONE back after a situation that made some question whether IZ*ONE would return as a group ever again. While this album had some issues in it, the title track “FIESTA” could easily be put up there with their two other Korean title tracks. As the group roughly has another year on their contract, hopefully another hit or two can be added to that collection as well.
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