Most of the time, a k-pop group’s title track is the best song on their album. But, sometimes b-sides deserve recognition too. In the singles-oriented world of K-pop, I want to spotlight some of these buried treasures and give them the props they deserve.
The year of wrong title track choices continues, and ITZY are the latest victims. I understand the desire not to get stuck in a rut and avoid repeating the same formula, but regardless of sound I really do think agencies should be picking the very best song to promote. Not Shy is passable, but there are much better choices on the album. Don’t Give A What sounds like the natural title track, drawing from ITZY’s signature sound while bringing a few new elements to the table.
Don’t Give A What’s most refreshing addition is its big, beefy rock guitar. ITZY work best as the Korean equivalent of the Spice Girls, embracing larger-than-life pop sounds and going as energetic as possible. Don’t Give A What isn’t perfect (its chorus is way too shouty, and that second verse trap-rap is a needless diversion), but it feels like a moment. Its verses recall the catwalk funkiness of last year’s Dalla Dalla, while the forceful pre-chorus delivers a more compelling melody than anything found on Not Shy. And while much of the track feels familiar, it’s not a total rehash.
Don’t Give A What even powers its way toward a vogue-ready dance break. The song is very visual, and absolutely cries out for choreography and live performance. It’s completely overstuffed, from the thundering percussion to that rollicking guitar to the layers of chanted hooks. But, I think an ITZY single should feel a bit overstuffed. They’re one of the few groups who can get away with it.