Rather 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.