For me, one of the most frustrating things about Produce 101-spawned groups is that they don’t attempt to develop a signature sound or concept. Given their temporary status as project groups, I understand the desire to sample as many of the industry’s current trends as they can before disbanding, but it leads to a scattershot discography that feels too reactionary (I’m looking at you, Wanna One). However, IZ*ONE may be different. We’re only two Korean releases in, but the girls already seem to have found their sound.
I wasn’t as crazy about last year’s La Vie en Rose as everyone else seemed to be, and new single Violeta (비올레타) suffers from some of the same issues. But, the energy is bigger this time around, buoyed by an aggressive synth beat and vocal work that strongly recalls Starship Entertainment’s Cosmic Girls. The verses pound forward, building to a series of fake-out climaxes that keep momentum climbing as we approach the inevitable beat drop. The instrumental’s percolating electronics approximate the structure of deep house but stay just shy of shamelessly riding trends.
I wish Violeta’s chorus had a more fleshed-out melody, but this catchphrase-as-hook structure seems to be IZ*ONE’s thing — at least when it comes to title tracks. Despite following the same vibe, Violeta’s refrain has much more punch than Rose’s. This is especially evident during the song’s final moments, where every element ramps up for a fireworks display of vocals and production. This showcase comes at just the right time, ending the track on a high note and hinting at even better things to come.