By all accounts, I should be obsessed with IZ by now. They’ve collaborated with producers Sweetune for their last three singles, and continue to do so with new release The Day. Yet, none of these songs have connected very strongly with me, and none sound much like what I’d expect from Sweetune. Maybe it’s the fact that IZ is a rock band, which doesn’t allow them to harness the aspects I love most about Sweetune productions. Each new song has been perfectly solid, but they also feel like wasted opportunities.
Thankfully, The Day is the closest to classic Sweetune that IZ have delivered yet, awash with dreamy synths and chugging guitar. Their trademark melodic touches are present, even if they feel muted, and their penchant for the nostalgic is very much intact. The song would’ve been at home on any modern rock station in the 90’s. It’s easy to hum along to, and as conciliatory as pop music gets. This will not be offending anyone, but I doubt it’ll inspire much passion either. The track is K-pop as easy listening, coming only days after Sechs Kies made a bid for the same audience.
With this in mind, it’s easy to see how The Day could get lost in the shuffle. It makes its case with a catchy vocal refrain that opens the track and repeats often. After only a couple listens, this hook began to feel tiring, though it does imbue the song with needed personality. Vocalists Hyunjun and Jihoo are in fine form, offering a polished, powerful performance that sparks interest from a relatively tame melody. A dramatic guitar solo is well-placed during the bridge, leading to a series of stirring vocal ad-libs that send the track out on a high. But, there’s just not enough excitement here to compete with the best of guitar-based idol bands or the best of Sweetune productions, leaving The Day in the mushy middle.
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