Review

Song Review: IZ*ONE – Beware

For a group whose music should be conquering Japan, IZ*ONE’s J-pop discography has been very inconsistent. Debut single Suki to Iwasetai was an undisputed triumph, but follow-ups Buenos Aires and Vampire were both marred by awful production and halfhearted performances. Unfortunately, new single Beware succumbs to the same issues. It’s aptly named, as listeners should be warned before pressing play.

In general, J-pop has a more forgiving standard when it comes to pop vocalists, but I’m still shocked at how rough Beware sounds. Taking the actual song out of the equation, the vocal performance and production are messy, unremarkable, and at times flat. The final product is a far cry from IZ*ONE’s Korean title tracks, which have all been immaculately produced. Beware dives headfirst into aegyo territory (or since this is Japan, I guess we should call it “kawaii”). Hardly a line passes by without bending upward into that familiar chirpy affectation. The pre-chorus sounds as if it’s pulled from a different song entirely, and nothing can prepare you for the level of WTFness that immediately follows the first chorus. It’s like the producers had some random filler from their recording sessions and forgot to take it out of the track.

Of course, this could all be weirdly charming if tethered to a stronger song. But, Beware is oddly hookless. The chorus is supported by the kind of bombastic instrumentation you’d expect, but the actual melody feels flat and forgettable. It doesn’t help that the vocal mixing is all over the place, loose and jarring when it should be tight and satisfying. Songs like this are the reason why you often see me ragging on the Produce franchise and its resulting groups. IZ*ONE already have the built-in fan base, but in this case their agency isn’t even trying to give them decent material.

 Hooks 6
 Production 4
 Longevity 6
 Bias 6
 RATING 5.5


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21 thoughts on “Song Review: IZ*ONE – Beware

  1. I like it lol! But there’s no accounting for tastes and Suki to Iwasetai wasn’t really my cup of tea. I really liked the MV and I’m biased towards the group so I think that added a lot to it for me. And I hadn’t heard about this release beforehand, so it was like a nice little surprise. The production issues might jump out as soon as I listen with headphones, though (as was the case with Vampire and Buenos Aires).

    A lot of fans blame the difference in their Japanese singles on the production style of the AKB48 team, and I was wondering what you might think of that, as someone who is also a fan of jpop?

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    • I hear it, but the fact that there are so many voices going on in those AKB songs actually matches that style of production. I don’t think it works nearly as well with a smaller group.

      With that said, it seems strange to call twelve members a “smaller group”! But, in this context, it’s true.

      Liked by 1 person

      • What’s funny is that Beware would probably sound better if it were performed by AKB – 90% of the girls (and almost 100% of the girls that would be picked to perform this song in senbatsu) can’t sing worth a damn, which means the mixing engineer would have to auto tune and vocal soup the shit out of everyone. Also it would be like 18-22 vocal tracks instead of 12.

        That, and AKB singles rarely have solo lines which helps.

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  2. HERE WE GO, second worst song of the year everyone, in terms overall reach and quality, only second to “How you like that (not at all)”

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  3. Apart from the poor mixing the song is quite catchy in my opinion BUT: What the hell is this part that’s a few seconds long and that comes right before the chorus? This takes out all of the flow and doesn’t fit into the song at all in my opinion.

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  4. I’m legitimately curious what the process is behind deciding to have them release material like this. Is there some niche, untapped market in Japan for songs that sound extremely rough and poorly produced that their company is trying to capture or something? Mystifying.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Sakura-produced(?) Yummy Summer played on radio and fans released the leaks. Ngl that sounded better and should’ve been the title track.

    I do enjoy the song though, maybe at least a 7/10. Song has a lot of potential to be a catchy one, but the production ruins it.

    Aki p (or whoever’s doing the production/writing) step down and let J-line do the job pls

    Liked by 1 person

    • And to add to this, I liked Suki to Iwasetai at first listen. Buenos Aires has (weirdly) grew on me quite a lot. Can’t say the same for Vampire. This song will either go BA or Vampire route.

      Their japanese discography is honestly very inconsistent. I wish izone went for the nogi sound and stick there.

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    • Have you heard the snippet of the b-side Waiting though? (JPN radio shows have been releasing a bunch of snippets over the past days, including the Japanese version of the flower trilogy) and I dig the sound of Waiting.

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      • Yep, another nice one.

        Weird how their Japanese discography is actually, in fact, quite packed with nice songs but the ones that get to be the title (with the excpetion of suki) are just weak.

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  6. Another japanese release from izone with bad mixing! Why can’t they just hire the one behind suki to iwasetai? From start to finish, I really did not find anything memorable in the song; it’s lack of clarity in the arrangement, especially from the verses, is kind of a turn off. And the fact that some parts sounded offkey, it’s a rather unpleasant experience in the ear.

    That pre chorus is a big tease, where we thought we’ll get a jaw dropping chorus, only to meet a not-so-appealing one with horrible mixing. The instrumental, I have to say, sounds more of a HKT48 bside than a title track; it reminds me of make noise, though that has more appeal to me than this.

    Another song that is a quick cash grab, what can we expect?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. halfhearted performances? no. i don’t agree with that part. the girls are doing their best ITS THE MUSIC THAT SUCKS. THEY ARE WORKING WITH BAD MUSIC AND TRYING TO MAKE IT WORK. anyways, Aki-p needs to retire already. Yummy Summer was good. They should let the girls write and produce their own jp songs

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This was sad. I’m surprised this was actually released, how did that even happen? They only have so much time left and they come out with bad songs, poor girls they deserve better.

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