Review

Buried Treasure: IZ*ONE – Sequence

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.


Taking Sweetune out of the equation, I think that e.one may be my absolute favorite production team when it comes to girl groups. For me, so much of K-pop production comes down to how you arrange the vocals. This is especially important for groups like IZ*ONE, who have a diverse array of skills that doesn’t always make for a naturally-tight vocal blend.

One of the issues I had with Panorama was just how exhausting it felt. Too often, the girls sounded strained, and that’s not entirely their fault. Producers can really work magic with effects and layering, and Sequence is an excellent example of that. This almost sounds like a different group entirely. Yes, the range isn’t quite as demanding, but just listen to how e.one wraps those vocals together to create texture. Yet, this never comes at the expense of personality.

Of course, Sequence is just a great dance song regardless of vocal production. The funky bass that underlines its hook is simple but incredibly groovy, and acts as the perfect foil to the group’s performance. Meanwhile, the verses have a retro sheen to them. They’re brisk and fun, and tug the group’s sing-talk style into something more structured and melodic. The chorus plays with expectations, delivering a descending refrain before growing into a more galvanizing climax. I really wish IZ*ONE would enlist e.one for a future title track. They’re such a great a match.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.5


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9 thoughts on “Buried Treasure: IZ*ONE – Sequence

  1. I too had the same problem with the vocals in Panorama but Sequence knows just how to use their vocals in all the sweet spots! So AWESOME!

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  2. I think in showcase(?) Won-young said she originally just sung “don’t let me down down down” normally but the recording director said “Won-young ah, you should sing higher, higher then it will be ok” so basically they are run by unapologetic middle aged hacks whose only qualification in their job is age

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    • I agree so much. I’m not sure about what she said in the showcase, but Wonyoung’s voice was soooo strained in Panorama. The one-liners like “don’t let me down down down” and “you take a Panorama” that were mainly sung by the “visuals” of the group really did not have to be so high. Some of the members pulled off their higher lines much better (Nako and Chaewon for example), so there was no need to give everyone high lines.

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  3. First, I agree with this entire post. Kudos to Off the Record for actually making this the promoted b-side! It’s catchy and brings a new sense of maturity to the girls.
    I think this mini album is miles better than the last one. Merry-go-round is all cool and polished but doesn’t give impact at all. They’ve tackled a lot of genres in this album. I think Island is a different kind of bubblegum pop (lowkey reminds me of Japanese techno songs), and the Iggy/Youngbae song is not that much of a slacker within the contet of ballads. They’ve done it again.

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  4. Sequence is definitely funky as hell and title-track material for sure especially in this retro/funk/city-pop resurgence that kpop is traversing right now.

    That said, I actually like Mise-en-Scene more? I’ve certainly approached that song more than Sequence and I expected to like the latter more from the Highlight Medley.
    The chorus and post-chorus breakdown of that song is insane and the hooks stick so much, with some interesting production without becoming as chaotic as Panorama is (love that song but it can be exhausting at points). It’s still very funky, but less groove and more intensity. The verses could be a tad better, but even then I listen to this at least twice a day ever since it came out.

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  5. 안녕하세요 여러분 from England. I totally agree with this review – Sequence is a fabulous song. Interesting to read the background to Panorama too – I agree that the vocals are strained but had no idea it wasn’t the girl’s fault (but of course that is dumb of me! :o) )

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