Song Review: NiziU – Make You Happy

I’m currently watching Nizi Project at the delayed pace that JYP Entertainment is releasing official subtitles, so I’ve pretty much given up hope when it comes to avoiding spoilers. And with debuting group NiziU releasing their first music video today, whatever shred I may have been clinging onto has completely disintegrated. So, I have surrendered. After all, nine of the thirteen finalists made it into the group anyway.

For me, the whole Nizi situation has been all about Mako. Right from the beginning, she was an incredible star, and I pictured her doing edgier, more Sumni-esque material (like her cover of 24 Hours on the show). Make You Happy is not edgy at all, but it wasn’t designed to be. It’s essentially a commercial introducing the new group, set to the retro r&b sounds the JYP has always cherished.

As much as I enjoyed each members’ time on the Nizi Project series, apart from Nina and Mihi I longed for more diversity in vocal tones. That sameness really impacts NiziU as a group. Much of Make You Happy is sung in solos, and if you weren’t watching the music video I think it would be difficult to tell the performances apart. It doesn’t help that Happy is such a feather-light song. From production to melody, the whole thing feels like a quick throwaway, which it probably is. Post-show pre-debuts have a tendency to be more of a stopgap than a meaningful entry in a group’s discography.

On the plus side, it’s nice to hear a bubbly pop track that doesn’t twist itself in a million different directions to appeal to current trends. As a group targeting the J-pop girl group market, NiziU have much more interesting and idiosyncratic competition to contend with. So, with a cautious eye toward their future, I hope they don’t simply rehash K-pop trends – or even worse, imitate Twice’s patchy J-pop discography.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7

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8 thoughts on “Song Review: NiziU – Make You Happy

  1. Oh interesting how you saw Mako as the star of the show. To me it was always Nina. Mako was consistently amazing, and thus had no story arc. But Nina had that powerhouse audition, and you knew JYP wanted her vocals from the start. But she fell a few times along the way (I think due to her young age). So Nizi Project for me was a story of if Nina could grow up fast enough to make it into the final lineup.

    Song-wise, I agree, it does need more heft. But I was surprised by the instrumental choices—piano and squeaky horn—that felt more like something Laboum would do. I wish those had been dialed up.

    I hope you caught the rap (and accompanying choreo) that references past JYP girl groups!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I want to like NiziU so bad. The girls seems charismatic and I have no doubt they can be popular in Japan. It’s disappointing, however, how this sounds like a cute japanese Twice track. It recalls a blend of Candy Pop with Happy Happy. Even the rap girls sounds like Chaeyoung and some of their tones recall Sana and Tzuyu. And for the most part it’s okay, nice… I just hope they can develop a more unique style for themselves in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

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