A K-pop group’s title track isn’t always the best song on their album, even if it’s the one most people will hear. 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.
For me, ITZY’s music has suffered a precipitous fall. The more I hear, the less interested I become. Their debut year was pretty much perfect, but at that point they’d only released five original songs. Statistically, striking gold was a lot more likely. 2020’s IT’z Me stands as their strongest album, but everything that followed has a real mixed bag. I think Crazy In Love is a slight improvement over this spring’s Guess Who, but I still find it mostly irritating when it should be exuberant fun.
The album’s one big exception is Sooo Lucky, which strikes a satisfying balance. The girls aren’t powerhouse singers, and this is fine. They never pretend to be. But, their material often emphasizes their weaknesses rather than find comfortable arrangements that allow their personality to shine. Sooo Lucky doesn’t force them to shout incessantly, which results in a more melodic through line than most of their material.
At its heart, this is simple teen pop, unfettered and unambitious. But, it follows the tenets of the genre well, finding a huge, singalong chorus and repeating it often. ITZY’s vocals are layered in a way that suits them, bringing out their natural charm. Sooo Lucky is supported by playful rhythm guitar during the verses and a thumping injection of celebratory brass when we reach the chorus. It’s bright and bouncy, but never cloying. Take this formula, twist it just a bit, and you’d have a great sense of where to go with future title tracks.