Song Review: ITZY – Swipe

ITZY - SwipeRather than release double title tracks, JYP Entertainment has been gifting its acts with a variety of music videos, blurring the line between singles and b-sides. In general, I think this is an exciting prospect, but I’m starting to wish the agency invested as much effort in making great music.

As I mentioned in my Buried Treasure post, I find ITZY’s newest album mostly forgettable. There’s a lot of chanting, a lot of tinny percussion and a lot of teen crush attitude. However, memorable melodies are in short supply. This is only emphasized by Swipe, a catchphrasey pop bop that feels more like an advertisement than a song.

Swipe’s herky-jerky beat shows potential, and provides a suitable backdrop for ITZY’s incessant sing-talk. They pull off this sound well, but it’s not an approach that does anything for me. The girls probably don’t mean for it to come off this way, and I know it’s not a reflection of their true personalities, but songs like this have a ‘mean girls’ vibe that’s really off-putting. I don’t think you have to empathize with pop music to enjoy it, but this boastful attitude coupled with the derivative instrumental makes it hard to find an entry point. Honestly, it’s an issue I’ve had with both girl and boy groups lately. Maybe it’s just me, but I’d rather hear genuine empowerment than material that comes across as hollow pandering.

It’s a shame, because there are flashes of potential buried within the track. As one-note as the hook is, I appreciate its head-nodding rhythm. The carnival-like synth in the background greatly contributes to the groove, adding an almost robotic pulse. And when ITZY fully engage with this beat, they’re able to harness that fierce energy that made them so exciting in the first place.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 7
 Bias 6

9 thoughts on “Song Review: ITZY – Swipe

  1. This definitely catches my heart more than their official title track.

    With ‘Mafia’ I feel like their musical narrative/voice has shifted slightly – Debut year was all ‘I am fully, brightly myself and that’s AWESOME’ and Not Shy doubled up on that with a feeling that they’re taking charge in asking a guy out – and then loco’s theme contradicting NS’s also felt off but this has them back in the drivers’ seat and is also very bold & fun. With maybe 30 more seconds and punching up the bridge or somewhere to have a different musical moment I really feel like this could’ve been the perfect title track for them & this album

    Liked by 1 person

    • I definitely like the tone and atmosphere of this a lot more than Loco. The playful and sassy vibe is something I think they really kill, and this song is a great showcase for that. Not the most brilliant chorus I’ve ever heard, but it works for what this track seems to want to go for. The performance and choreography are easily the star of the show.

      This is where I have to personally disagree with Nick’s review: I almost always prefer outwardly fake posturing and flaunting in pop music, at least when it comes to most kpop. As a genre, kpop is about as manufactured and inauthentic as pop music can be. I’d much rather that these corporations not lie to me about their intentions, especially ones that couldn’t care less about the performers’ input.

      Though, this is not a rule by any means. Soloists in particular seem to generally have more control over the kind of content they produce, but I’m sure that varies greatly depending on how popular you are. I just generally like it when people are honest, and not just in interpersonal relationships. Sometimes a more down-to-earth approach works, but it risks coming off as cheesy or preachy if the execution is botched. That’s just me, of course. I can certainly see the appeal of another approach, especially if you have certain tastes that lend themselves to the vibe of one or the other.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Loco isn’t my favorite Itzy title track, but I do think it’s fun and I enjoy it. This, on the other hand, is not for me. It just feels obnoxious, and the ‘swipe, swipe, swipe’ hook is pretty grating. Alas.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Itzy, like Blackpink, has a lot of songs I feel are made with western audiences in mind. I don’t like that style because I am not much into popular modern western pop. I love songs like Blackpink’s Playing With Fire or Itzy’s Icy but I don’t like songs like Kill This Love or How You Like That. It just feels like these typical ‘cool’ western pop songs. I love all of these girls, Jisoo (together with Jeongyeon) is my ultimate bias but these songs just aren’t nice.

    As for JYP I think they do know how to invest in good songs. Wonder Girls had brilliant songs (I Feel You, Tell Me, So Hot, Candle to name a few). TWICE’s TT, Fancy, Likey and I Can’t Stop Me are all great and I consider them to be legend kpop songs. And TWICE has a lot of superbe b-sides (Girls Like Us, What You Waiting For, Up No More, Get Loud, Handle It…). But all of these songs were just made because they’re great Kpop songs, not with western audiences in mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agrée with you . Blackpink’s songs like D4 and Kill this love I don’t really like that much. I prefer there older songs like As if it’s your last and Playing with fire. It’s the same with Itzy also their new song Boys like you hasn’t really got the Itzy touch , like in Wannabe , Dalla Dalla , Not shy and Icy. Sneakers had the Itzy touch but the lyrics were a bit cringe no offense. I think that Itzy has such great potential if they just got better songs to dance and sing to. In my opinion the best Itzy song is Dalla Dalla.


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