Review

Song Review: ITZY – Loco

ITZY - Loco
ITZY burst into K-pop two and a half years ago with a song and sound that made them one of 2019’s most interesting groups. Since then, so many of their peers have ITZYfied their own music – shoveling teen crush attitude over busy instrumentals stuffed with restless, chintzy percussion. ITZY should be immensely proud of their status as trendsetters, but it puts them in an awkward spot. By continuing to stick with the style they popularized, they risk falling behind the trend. It’s ironic. A rock and a hard place, really.

Last spring’s Mafia in the Morning attempted to pull free of this quandary by steering the girls’ music in a more hip-hop focused direction. But, the song itself was weak and one dimensional. So, I’m not surprised that Loco reverts to their pre-2021 style. They’ve even paired with Galactika, the production team behind career highlights Dalla Dalla and Wannabe. Loco’s frenetic energy recalls those hits, but the overall package isn’t as sharp.

Loco works in fits and starts, but I wish the song felt more streamlined. Like so many K-pop title tracks of this new generation, Loco’s various segments might as well have been pulled from a box of disparate pieces and cobbled together by way of proven formula. There’s nothing here we haven’t heard countless times in better songs, and that keeps Loco from feeling like a necessary addition to the already-overstuffed teen crush sub-genre.

On the plus side, I’m delighted that Loco opts for a sung chorus rather than a chant-along beat drop. The melody is no Dalla Dalla, but the bold refrain casts a few sparks. Even better is the electric guitar running underneath this hook. In fact, my favorite moment in the music video occurs when the vocals drop out and the arrangement lets that distorted guitar rip. Of course, this extended interlude isn’t included in the actual song recording. It’s as if JYP Entertainment is scared to rock the boat and deviate from this narrow idea of what a girl group hype track can be.

In the end, ITZY do what they do best and lace Loco with their own brand of effervescent charisma. They sell the song, and that’s enough. But, we need a popular group to hit K-pop with new and diverse ideas. At this point, tracks like Loco can’t help but feel like diminished returns. It’s a tasty leftover, but I’m ready to see what else is on the menu.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8

31 thoughts on “Song Review: ITZY – Loco

  1. I don’t know what you were expecting, its titled loco.

    Im a male so i ain’t the target audience for girl crush but surely there is a better way to do this, right?

    All im say is this stuff ages poorly and Genie which came out 11 years ago still kills.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The way I internally winced right at the end of the pre-chorus, dreading that my worries of the teased segment of the song being the chorus would be confirmed, but like you I was delighted to have a actual sung chorus! 😂

    It’s alright, and there’s definitely parts of it I like, but compared to their early (great) trinity of Dalla Dalla/Icy/Wannabe, there’s something missing…and for me it’s a sense of fun. While watching the MV, I couldn’t help feeling a little tired of the attitude and the smirks…some of the teaser pictures and videos for this comeback seemed like they pointed towards a more carefree, youthful, fun vibe than we actually got. I was super excited when Galactika was revealed to have produced this track, but the song just feels like a duller, less exciting, rehash of what we’ve seen from them before.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Upon first listening to this song I also gave it an eight but maybe it’ll grow on me. I just feel like its missing a little something. For icy or dalla dalla, the song explodes with energy and sass but loco feels slightly subdued in comparison which is ironic considering the name of the track.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that it’s missing something. I really like the chorus melody, but there’s just something that I can’t stand about this instrumental. It’s just so… safe?

      It’s extremely quiet, and feels kinda hollow. What else is the focus here besides the headache-inducing bass and stock drum kit? There are random sounds here and there, but never all at once, so you don’t get that explosive punch that the ICY instrumental had. It just kinda wanders around until you fall into the chorus.

      The electric guitar is a really nice addition, though I can’t help but feel like it’s still too quiet. All I can hear is that grating… clapping noise? I’m not really sure what it is, but it’s much louder than anything else. This is probably bothering me far more than it should, but it’s incredibly distracting to me for whatever reason.

      Also, I don’t get the feeling that anything is actually happening in the verses. They seem to meander around without any real purpose besides being a pop song that must have verses. I don’t feel any momentum or any indication that I’m going anywhere. I guess this is better than anti-drop songs that build into nothing, but I’m not sure it’s by much.

      All that being said, I’m sure this will grow on me. I listened to “Mafia” many times just to hear Lia’s bridge, and I listened to Loona’s “PTT” many times just to hear the final chorus. I’ll certainly listen to Loco just to hear that gorgeous chorus melody, and it has much less unpleasant elements than those other tracks to me.

      Off the album: “Swipe” has a pretty heavy beat, and “Love Is” might be title track material to me. It’s very dreamy and gives me nostalgic/bittersweet vibes. The rest of the album didn’t blow me away, but it was still pretty fun.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Oh! I forgot about the music video. What an absolute mess!

        I had this exact same thought with the Lalisa MV: feels like they spent a lot of money on this video, yet forgot to budget for a creative director. The girls all look lovely and are doing their thing better than ever, but I just have no idea what is supposed to be happening here. There are so many expensive sets and none of them feel like they have anything to do with a central theme or aesthetic. It’s still entertaining for the production value, if nothing else.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Alright I’m listening right now and the bass reminds me of slightly of Drill music. The overall instrumental isn’t terrible but does feel quite barebones. The guitar was a nice touch i do agree.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Unrelated, but are you going to rate the Girls Planet songs for the next mission? They aren’t bad songs actually —even though they run on the generic side.

    What are your thoughts on Girls Planet in general? (I doubt that you watch it, but I wanted to ask.)

    Liked by 4 people

    • Currently watching Girls Planet 999 too and I’m truly shocked that there’s only 1 girl/teen crush song choice when that seems to be the trend right now. You can tell by the girls reactions that Utopia is the least favorite among the group and I agree that it’s a little generic sounding.

      Liked by 1 person

      • But a the same time Utopia has the best line up. I wish the Utopia line up was the official line up, especially after today’s bloodbath of an elimination. I personally like Utopia the most.

        Thank god there’s only 1 girl crush song. That means the final group won’t be girl crush, right? Right?

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  5. ‘LOCO’ is pretty good. Just listened to the album and it’s above average compared to the other tracks but it doesn’t have the punch of their first 3 title tracks.

    ITZY LOCO ALBUM

    First Listen:

    LOCO: [8,8,8,8] = 8/10 –> A return to their form, kinda.
    SWIPE: [7,8,7,8] = 7.5/10 –> I like how they say ‘Swipe’ I guess…
    Sooo LUCKY: [9,9,8,9] = 8.75/10 —> OOOH YESS, bubblegum POP!?
    #Twenty: [7,7,6,4] = 6/10 –> I am just 17 17 OOH OOH….idk bout this one. I guess the sliding bass is pretty cool.
    B[OO]M-BOXX: [8,9,8,8]= 8.25/10 —> If Ting Ting Ting had a sister? Nice stuff.
    Gas Me Up: [7,7,6,5] = 6.25/10 —> I dislike every part except the pre-chorus and the chorus, kinda. I cringed a lot.
    LOVE is: [9,9,9,9] = 9/10 —> I love this song. The melody in the chorus is beautiful. I just wish they didn’t resort to trap beats so often. I like the plucks and the warm chord progressions. This is the type of ITZY I’ve been missing.
    Chillin’ Chillin’: [9,8,8,8] = 8.25/10
    Mirror: [10,8,7,8] = 8.25/10 —> These ‘hooks’ probably aren’t a 10 but they got me so emotional I felt like I had to give em a 10 LOL. I like every decision they made with the melody. Never once did it feel awkward. Very beautiful vocals as well.

    Average: 7.8/10

    A consistently inconsistent album. ITZY seem to have 3 distinct styles [teen crush pop, badass hip-hop, quirky dance music lol]. My favourite style is a blend between the three, A.K.A Wannabe. I enjoyed the pop songs in this album, they were refreshing. Good job Itzy.

    Instrumentals:

    Dalla Dalla Inst: 9/10 –> Great debut instrumental which blends multiple genres well. Damn, I didn’t know I liked the bridge that much.
    ICY Inst: 10/10 —> What a follow-up to their debut. I love how all out the instrumental goes. It’s fun, powerful, and unique. Do I Stan Itzy?
    Wannabe Inst: 10/10 —> 3 amazing dance title tracks in a row. You’re KIDDING! This is a dream come true. I STAN ITZY.
    Not Shy Inst: 8/10 —> Hmmmmm, I guess they are trying something new. Nice pre-chorus tho.
    ITM Inst: 7/10 —> Hmmmmmmmmm. Again, excellent pre-chorus but I’m not sold on everything else.
    LOCO Inst: 8/10 —> The beginning sounds like ‘Back Door’ from SKZ lol. A strong 8 for me.

    Average: 8.67/10

    Liked by 7 people

  6. I like it, it definitely sounds different than their previous releases and I for sure like it better than ITZY’s last two title tracks. But I don’t know why it’s sooo.. forgettable? There’s no catchy lines or even dance ‘main points’. I dunno, but I like it.

    Like

  7. The song is really fine, has a very Itzy-like structuce with that dance break and still sounds like them. Still feels like there is a spark missing, but it’s far from bad and the girls are doing their best in the performance. Especially cat Yeji lol

    Anyways, I discovered a really good song these days and wanted to share with the class.

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  8. It’s OK.

    True it has a melody and a sung chorus, but the whole song isn’t very rangey. It is essentially an octave. Technically wider, technically a few parts of the verse hit a Bflat.
    And if they actually hit the note at 0:38 and when it comes around again in the melody, that’s an F3, but its fried. The high note is a high C. Basically, the girls are always within their mixed range, within their comfort zone.

    I am not very good at this, but this song is so simple even someone like me can identify it as Fmajor (I believe). They sit on middle C (in the verse) or high C (in the chorus) so often. Essentially the song sits on the fourth of the tonic all the time. The bass also cycles down from F down to C to low F half the song.

    So yeah, if it sounds like its missing something, its missing a decent chord progression and chromaticism. Its an easy song to digest because it isn’t complicated muscially. I thought the song was over at around 3:00 mark, but then oh it comes back for one more chorus, just to fill it out.

    That said, the song is OK. OK enough for the stans. It paints within the lines of the girl crush concept well enough. The girls perform it well enough. The video meets the contemporary expectations of a costume change every 8 seconds.

    Liked by 3 people

    • One thing I’ve noticed about ITZY is that they still have a lot of room to grow musically. I genuinely love their music (except for MITM–bleh), but they need to expand their registers. I find that they strain a lot past C5, and it’s hard to ignore. You can hear it in songs like Icy, Be In Love, Nobody Like You, Wild Wild West, and I’m sure there are other examples. They’re actually off-key in Louder. They’re very comfortable in their current ranges, but they need some good vocal training.

      Like

      • I have only a few Itzy songs on my ipod, and I am close to deleting all but Dalla Dalla. They are not really singing. To be fair, Itzy are not the only ones in the category who aren’t really singing. And unlike other girl groups, I *think* they can sing or at least hold a tune, but its hard to tell.

        Take for example, the first lines of “Wannabe”. Go on, try singing along, like real singing singing. Its more like cartoon vocal performance, like a Bratz or LOL doll come to life. And because of the cartoony voice, it has to be limited in range, it has to be an octave or so. One cannot do, say, Homer but he’s a soprano, or Alvin but he’s a baritone.

        That said, this is one of those cases where I would give the girls the benefit of the doubt and say its the producers who are telling to make sounds that sound like that. I think they can sing, but there is not much evidence to the support or contradict it.

        Wait a sec –
        Jee! Sus Lord! My Universe!
        what is that?!!!! A Real Marching Band?!!! At 1:30 and again at 6:00 Ah, too bad the whole performance is canned. (The instruments are not mic’d.) Yeah, I’m still happy to see it anyways. The girls are only sporadically live too, so once again, can’t tell.

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        • Do you like the singing on Dalla Dalla, or is the rest of the song just good enough to ignore the singing for? I like that track a lot, but can’t help but feel like the vocals are really strained for most of it. I always felt that the singing is far enough out of their comfortable range that it impacts my enjoyment slightly. This is especially noticeable for Lia’s strong and powerful voice. In fact, I’d say you would be forgiven for thinking she doesn’t have one at all at the release of their debut.

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  9. Hmmm… it’s fine. The “Hooks” were pretty solid imo I like the girl’s performances and the melodies were enough to keep me interested at the least (even if they lacked range as Myma said), but the instrumental felt quite plain. Usually the dynamic feeling of Itzy’s best work has always been the strongest attribute and it just isnt there in this one. I can see it growing on me considering it’s quite catchy but as of right now it feels like a decent 6-7 (equivalent to an 8 from you) for me.

    SN: Saw your tweet about bigger groups releasing more safer work and I kind of think this is a case. Even though I don’t HATE this song, it feels like what I would expect one of the many groups mimicking Itzy’s sound to release rather than the ACTUAL itzy. Like if this was Tri.be or Hot Issue’s next song I wouldn’t be shocked a bit. It’s just weird this is coming from the blueprint of it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. ITZY’s titles tend to grow on me and I suspect this one will too. On the other hand, I tend to love a lot of their b-sides on first listen and was a little underwhelmed this time. So it goes.

    Like

  11. lol am i the only one who liked this song a lot lksfsdlkfsdkjlf
    this reminds me of 4minute and 2ne1 and maybe a lil bit of snsd and im in love

    Like

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