Review

Song Review: IZ*ONE – Fiesta

Originally scheduled for release last November, IZ*ONE’s BLOOM*IZ album has become something of a K-pop holy grail. With MNET’s Produce 101 scandal sending its related groups into disarray, it seemed as if the music might never be released. But, while boy group X1 bore the brunt of the controversy and ended in disbandment, IZ*ONE have moved forward. Judging by their album’s instant success, the music-buying public is willing to forgive and forget – especially since the girls themselves weren’t at fault.

New single Fiesta arrives after 2019’s dynamic Violeta, and follows much the same trajectory. This time, none of the elements are quite as strong and the template feels a lot more familiar. It’s a solid track, but like so many recent K-pop offerings, I feel like I’ve heard every one of its tricks before. This sense of ‘been there, done that’ occurs immediately, as the instrumental lurches to life with the same synth textures that have underlined dozens of songs this past year. At this point, it feels like every K-pop producer is pulling from the same sampler pack of loops. Fiesta would have been much more potent with a complete instrumental overhaul. It needs a unique calling card of its own.

The song’s steadily-building arrangement reminds me of Cosmic Girls. IZ*ONE deliver a chirpier performance, without the benefit of a power vocalist like Yeonjung who could have rattled off a few huge notes to give Fiesta a sense of climax. Instead, the heavy lifting is accomplished by a noisy post-chorus synth drop that is sure to polarize. I don’t mind it so much, but I wish the actual chorus was a little stronger. As always, I crave a more fully fleshed-out melody instead of the overstuffed sing-talk phrasing that makes up nearly the entirety of Fiesta. Its briskness and energy cause the track feel catchier and more satisfying than it actually is. That deft sleight of hand makes it hard to hate, but also leaves a frustrating aftertaste.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.75

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!

29 thoughts on “Song Review: IZ*ONE – Fiesta

  1. There’s an awful lot of pageantry in the video for a song that is the offspring of IZ*ONE’s “Violetta” and WJSN’s “WW”.

    …AND I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THEY WERE DATING!?!

    Seriously, though, I don’t know how to be serious.

    P.S. It’s not bad.. ..’ish.

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      • They are broadly similar, but not identical. The SF9 has more of a upwards saw tooth wave, where this one has a downwards saw tooth shape. The underlying oscillation below is really close.

        The idea of starting with one of these little short sharp synth chord sequences in kpop is so overused this year, one could find a half dozen other examples easily that are even-closer-to-this than SF9.

        Actually, “Short Sharp synth chord” is now on my own list of overused sonic trends of 2019 along with “unnecessary trap beat behind rap”, “increasing snare prechorus”, and “distortion noise behind chorus”.

        Coincidentally the other week I was thinking I should actually look up the names of these synth preset sounds. This one would called something like “BzzBrass2”.

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        • Yes, it’s not that the structure or formation is the same, it’s the choice of synth preset. SF9’s Good Guy was just the first of many tracks that came to mind, though I don’t dislike that song as a whole.

          And thank you so much for finally putting a name to this. It’s totally “short sharp synth chord.” It’s not a sound that I like even in the best of times, and the fact that it’s in every other K-pop track lately is just maddening — almost, if not equally, as bad as trap. I need to hack into the industry and delete this preset from all computers.

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  2. I have conclusively determined that I am not in this target demographic.

    However, I will say that the post-chorus drop is a triple noise threat, now with extra! extra! extra! extraneous noise.

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  3. I appreciate that IZ*ONE is developing a signature sound, at least. That’s something the other Produce-offspring never really committed to.

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  4. It’s definitely growing on me, just like their other singles. It’s not a song I’ll actively look out for myself, but if it shows up on my playlist, then I probably won’t skip it.

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  5. In response to KPOPFANGIRL78, a fuller take on the entire “BLOOM*IZ” release:

    01. Eyes – Has moments, but never rises above mediocrity
    02. Fiesta – Too much déjà vu to take it completely serious, but decent.
    03. Dreamlike – Title track worthy.
    04. Ayayaya – Decent. Not a fan of the Latin undertones.
    05. So Curious – Typical B-side. Aegyo LOOΠΔ’ish.
    06. Spaceship – Typical B-side. Lively TWICE’ish.
    07. Destiny – Ballad with slight hints of J-Pop ballads. Pass.
    08. You&I – A better ballad than track 07.
    09. Daydream – Would’ve failed as a title track, but it’s the best on the album.
    10. Pink Blusher – Typical B-side. Another TWICE’ish song.
    11. Someday – …and we’re back to ballads.
    12. Open Your Eyes – Typical B-side. More Latin undertones.

    My top three (in order):
    09. Daydream
    03. Dreamlike
    02. Fiesta

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    • Hey, I didn’t expect you to review the entire album but I’m glad you did. I suddenly feel inspired to do the same, but I’ll rank the songs in order of my favourite to least favourite.
      1. ‘Daydream’. After my accidental “triple posting” it’s pretty clear that this should be my favourite song. Its lush sound is incredibly irresistible. I can just picture myself in the passenger seat of a car driving by the seaside, stretching my hand out the window to feel the breeze with my eyes closed. As a reader of this blog I have grown to appreciate TheBiasList’s kind of music: Retro and/or funky. I would say this reminds me a bit of ‘Look’ by Red Velvet, the latter being more enjoyable to listen to. It would have been a tad better if they had a Wendy in their group that could serve better vocals (though theirs aren’t too bad).
      2. ‘Dreamlike’. I assumed I was going to dislike it based on the intro, but it’s actually a really good b-side. I don’t know why I like it, something about the chorus touches something in me.
      3. ‘Open Your Eyes’. Yeah, not a fan of the Latin vibes. But if you take them away you’re still left with a decent song. I really like the melody of the chorus (a better chorus than Fiesta personally)
      4. ‘Ayayaya (Hush)’. This is when my bias jumps out. This feels like the sibling of ‘Rumor’ and I still feel attached to the ‘Rumor’ team (Lee Sian stan, anyone?) But the drop-as-chorus worked better for ‘Rumor’. Also, the producers made a mistake giving Nako the high note. She hit the note, but it was too cutesy and ruined the mood of the song. They should have just let Yuri do it. That said, the Latin vibes fit this song better than ‘Open Your Eyes’ and I like the bridge when the repeat “Hush, hush”.
      5. ‘Fiesta’. Despite being the title track, it’s quite low mostly because I’m tired of them using the same formula for their title tracks. Also, the drop after the chorus is just grating and sticks out like a sore thumb. They should have just added a post-chorus which would have fleshed out the track some more. Oh well, at least they HAD a chorus. To be honest my feelings about this song are the same as TheBiasList. Not bad, but not great. Quite disappointing. It’s like a WJSN title track but lower in quality.
      6. ‘Pink Blusher’. Sure, it sounds like a TWICE b-side. Wait, no it’s more like a specific TWICE title track: What Is Love. I find the “Kawaii” energy of its chorus very infectious. That said, aegyo isn’t my thing.
      7. ‘Eyes’. Had potential to blow my mind but it never got anywhere. The whole song I was waiting for it to be an explosive track but this song is like a bird about to take flight, then changes its mind and starts pecking at its feathers. Or cars at Formula One revving their engines but never leave the starting line. Some parts sound like the song is about to take off but then they start up some cutesy chant and kill the mood. There was an opportunity to do a key change at the end, what a shame.
      8. ‘Destiny’. Chorus wasn’t too bad, I guess. Verses were pretty bland in my opinion.
      9. ‘You & I’. Typical “This is for the fans” song. I bet they will have some live performance with soft lighting and sing this. I liked the guitar.
      10. ‘So Curious’. I thought I’d like this song, but I was so wrong. I wish the chorus had more variety in melody instead of ‘I’m so curious’ over and over again. I felt the “I’m your own pilot” at the end could have been made into the chorus.
      11. ‘Someday’. Average ballad. Meh. Had to resist skipping it when listening to the album. I generally dislike ballads unless they are really good and this was just any other ballad I have ever heard.
      12. ‘Spaceship’. Cutesy song, but doesn’t have a chorus as nice as ‘Pink Blusher’.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for taking the time to offer up your thoughts; many of which I share.

        You’re critical, analytical, logical, hypothetical, and metaphorical. Yep, you’re definitely on the right site. Welcome aboard the S.S. Whackadoodle. Captain Nick will assign you a bunk while we get you fitted for a peg. Unfortunately, we’re all out of parrots (since fried chicken night in the galley), so we’ll have to staple a squid to your shoulder till we reach the mainland. Welcome aboard! Oh, and don’t stare at cabin boy’s “you know what” or he’ll get all squirrelly.

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