Buried Treasure: ITZY – Don’t Give A What

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.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9


18 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: ITZY – Don’t Give A What

  1. Yeah this is a more “ITZY” sound so I obviously dig it. They could have toned down the shouting but it doesn’t bother me as much as it theoretically should. If I had to pick a buried treasure it would probably be Surf or maybe even ID. But you can’t go wrong with the guitar on this one tho. Great stuff.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. This may be a stretch but…Nick, im in the process of creating my “summer” instrumental album. Once im finished (1-2 months), would you be interested in listening to it!? I feel like you would give very constructive feedback, even if it’s a little bit. I mean, there’s gonna be 0% trap😁😁

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Noisy, in mostly good way. There is just a lot of layering right smack in the middle of the spectrum. But I am old, so my poor ears. If I actually drove around these days, maybe it would sound better in the car.

    That rock guitar kills me. Its right out of 80’s hair metal. That chord progression is so close to something that is/was in my sister’s collection, and I can’t quite place it right now. Quiet Riot or Def Leppard type of band.

    … found it. AC/DC “Shook me all night long”. Perhaps Scorpions “Rock you like a hurricane” … whatever it was, it was loud and resonated loudly through the walls. … I am going to say Scorpions and that’s my final answer.
    And it is SO COOL!
    Scorpions ‘
    AC/DC ‘

    Somehow my ears can listen to hair metal set at 11, but modern kpop notsomuch. Go figure.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean about that chord progression! It instantly struck me as familiar, but I cannot think of what it is. And I am/know no rock or metal fan, so it must’ve been something very popular. The Scorpion one sounds close, but I feel like I’ve hear the exact chord progression before somewhere too..

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “Itzy is the Korean version of spice girls”

    Yep,came to that conclusion with wannabe and now I fully understand why people found that group annoying because I can’t stand itzy.


  5. I personally didn’t like this song because the shouting was too much for my ears. My favorite contender for the title track out of the B-sides was iD because that chorus was off the charts ear candy and the vocals were so playful and showed their personality really well :))


  6. Disagree on this one, I only dislike Louder and Be In Love more than this. The guitar and the first part of the chorus are the only decent things about this. I’d highlight Surf but I don’t really see title track material in this album.

    Also, I’m always surprised when I remember Yuna wasn’t supposed to be in the group. She might not be the best vocalist but she has a pretty distinct voice among everyone and the most charismatic voice for me overall.


  7. Yeah this song is the one that’s been on repeat for me over the last day. The guitar is exactly what I like about ITZY songs. The intro is full of color. The pre-chorus is awesome. The chromatic descent in the post-chorus section is a nice flourish. It’s over the top. It’s brash. It’s full of attitude. In other words, it’s perfect for ITZY.

    Don’t Give a What is definitely not perfect, and I don’t like the trap breakdown in the second verse either, but damn if it isn’t fun to listen to. I don’t know if this should’ve been the title track, but I know that it’s a great song.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the track and def prefer it to the title, any other highlights for you on the album and how do you think the album compares to itz me?


  9. It’s much better than Not Shy, but I also think I’m just getting exhausted of shout-y, chanting, sing-talking songs with the major influx of them. Watching ITZY’s “stage practice” video for Not Shy really nailed that home. The girls are excellent stage performers with great charisma, but I was just astounded by the lack of actual singing or even rapping that isn’t talk-rap. Musically, I feel like ITZY is starting to become stuck between a rock and hard place. Honestly I don’t know if they have the ability to evolve their sound and pull off something other than what they are currently doing, at least for the foreseeable future, without very drastically changing their sound and most likely alienating their fanbase in the process.

    Liked by 2 people

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