What does a rock song composed and produced by Sweetune sound like? Well, if IZ’s May release Eden was any indication, it doesn’t sound like Sweetune at all. Their partnership with IZ has been one of the year’s biggest surprises. I’m not unhappy about it (unless it’s preventing more classic Sweetune music from being released…), but it certainly results in an expansion of their signature production style.
IZ’s reinvention has also been interesting to watch. Their new sound draws from elements of hair metal and glam, while retaining an indie edge. Eden laid out these intentions in dramatic fashion, but I wasn’t quite sold. New single Final Kiss (너와의 추억은 항상 여름같아) offers a more compelling distillation of the IZ 2.0 style, leaning into their bombastic tendencies. The guitar is over-the-top, punctuating the track’s bridge with an extended solo. The drums are turned up to eleven and, yes, there’s even some of that trademark Sweetune vocal layering (though not nearly enough for me).
Opening with a hazy wash of vocals, Final Kiss initially feels like it’s going to be a subdued, late-summer rock track. This changes with the influx of electric guitar, leading into a snowballing call-and-response verse with some ridiculous ad-libs buried deep within the mix. The chorus is stadium-ready, moving from punchy intro to soaring refrain without missing a beat. I could see this feeling absolutely immense in a live setting. It’s like a long-lost rocker from the late 80’s, and that’s a pretty solid niche for IZ to be operating within. Next, they need to move beyond simple pastiche and bring something uniquely them to the table. With Final Kiss, they’re on the right the track.
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