Song Review: IVE – Eleven

IVE - Eleven
2021 has been relatively short on big-name debuts, but December is ready to squeeze in a few before we flip the calendar. Leading the pack is Starship’s new girl group IVE, who arrive with tons of hype thanks to two members hailing from IZ*ONE. Their visual and audio teasers seemed to promise a sleek, sophisticated concept, and debut single Eleven largely delivers.

Opening with a catchy percussive loop, the track pushes forward right from the start. We’re dropped into a scattershot verse, but it doesn’t take long for Eleven to find focus. The continued drive of the instrumental keeps the energy brisk, except for when the track pulls back for the pre-chorus. The slowdown here is unexpected and a bit bizarre, but adds emphasis and helps to set up the chorus.

The way Eleven’s chorus is arranged reminds me a lot of early Red Velvet. I love the vocal layering here. Combined with a renewed focus on percussion, the hook is given great heft that makes it feel like a natural climax. The melody is simple but immediately memorable, and buttressed by a robust post-chorus flourish that takes advantage of the song’s middle eastern elements. I think there’s room for Eleven to grow toward an even more striking finale, but the track is definitely effective. I don’t know that it will go down as one of K-pop’s more iconic debuts, nor do I think it needed to. With a built-in fanbase, IVE could have released anything to great success. The fact that Eleven is enjoyable and fresh on its own is a satisfying bonus.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8


25 thoughts on “Song Review: IVE – Eleven

  1. Heavy agree with you on this one. When the mv teaser, i was wee bit scared but the track left me pretty satisfied. Idk if it’s super memorable like debuts like Dalla Dalla, So Bad, or Chase Me were for me but I think it gives the girls a nice foundation to build a distinct identity down the road. Btw a lot of people seem to dislike the ritardando esque pre-chorus but I think it was a creative element that enhanced the song. Satisfied IVE fan right here.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. thank Starship for letting Wonyoung actually SING, she sounds so good in this along with the rest of the group. very solid debut, and judging by Starship’s track record with their girl groups’ discography, I have faith in IVE. Take It is a pretty good track too

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I really liked the song, I think it is a grower. My biggest surprised is that Wonyoung sounds great and for those who were worried about vocal quality in the group IVE delivered.


  4. The prechorus was definitely memorable even if weird but I got used to it on subsequent listens. The chorus was pretty good though it felt like something like a prechorus of some other song. I would’ve loved a more fuller sound, which was delivered when the chorus came the second time round when the middle eastern instrumentals filled the space. This song is definitely memorable and I particularly like the melody of the last of the chorus(the title hook) which delivers a SM-esque vibe with the layered voices.


  5. It’s a pretty good debut! I would say the song felt a little short for some reason, I don’t know why…maybe it’s the emptiness of some of the sections? Either way, I like the chorus, and the post-chorus segment added in the 2nd time around filled it out nicely. I’m mainly impressed by how great their vocals sound! It could be some amazing vocal mixing at work, but they all sound wonderful throughout – as other comments mentioned, I was specifically wowed by Wonyoung, whose tone I never enjoyed in IZ*ONE’s songs. She sounds completely different here!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I was anticipating this, not just as an Izone fan but also as a Starship gg fan. WJSN is in the top tier for me, and while I missed Sistar in their heyday, I’ve fallen in love with their singles and greater discography. (IVE definitely have the potential to tackle Sistarstyle concepts in the future) To me, Starship gg’s have some of the best vocals and concepts that help them stand out from other groups.

    When I saw the teaser, it reminded me of LOONA’s PTT. Sure enough, the track’s producer is Ryan S. Jhun (and Alawn, who has a credit on almost every song that came out this week?). However, eleven is way more dynamic than PTT.

    I enjoy the build on this one way and quite like the melodies in these verses. It’s a bit Western pop learning; it reminds me of Lorde. The first chorus is a pleasant surprise, and adding the post-chorus after the second chorus is one of my favorite structural tricks.

    I like that even though the group is showcasing the Izone members heavily, the other members stand out. Liz has a nice voice. I like the processing of the vocals. Instead of the squeezed Robo HYBE sound that’s been everywhere, these vocals are well supported by huge reverbs and echos. Not a sound you always hear in k-pop.

    Ive definitely have debuted with solid material. So for me, today is a great k-pop day.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The chugging start for each verse = “just like a one wing dove…” (then it diverges)

    OK, so the song has about 3 main ideas. The chugging verse starts. The pre-chorus slow down. And “1 2 3 4 5 6 7 you make me feel like 11”. Is it enough? I think they could have leaned more into the tempo change, even slow it down to zero and then throw in a double time, or something a little bit more.

    The rest of it meets expectations. I think it is a good debut overall. For me, who doesn’t follow the survival show packaged groups, I don’t know who is or was in Iz’one, so this doesn’t stand out for me versus all the other girl debuts this year, I don’t have a natural reason to start to stan this group vs another.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Actually, you should make a post/list of the best idol debuts, something about “how to make a good group debut” and what sorts of things it should do for the group’s song 😀 i’d love to read that!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I was getting ready to grump about the retardando (thanks for that, STATICKAA) but it bothered me less on second listen and I maybe like it on third listen? I was getting LOONA vibes too, so thanks for checking that, NO_NO_NOAH. I haven’t gone back to PTT much but I enjoy it when it pops up on my house/club-influenced dance playlist, and this will do well there too.

    I might like the heavier beat of “Take It” better? It almost but not quite has an industrial feel, so I’m going to stick it there as well as house/club and see how I feel the next time it rotates around.


  10. When listening to it for the first time I kept saying ‘oh this is so chic!’ and I think they captured the vibe they were aiming for perfectly. I definitely like the push and pull of prechorus into the actual one and then how that is expanded upon as the song continues. They definitely captured my attention with this debut.


  11. The mv and dance for the song are very good. The song itself didn’t wow me. I think the transition into the chorus is Obnoxious and then chorus just decides to drop in. It’s interesting but doesn’t make For a good listening experience. The chorus and post chorus were strong though I wish they lasted longer. The verses lose my attention all together. Everytime I heard them I kept thinking “maybe this would be better with stronger vocalists?”. Though most newer groups seem more focused on being dancers than singers, so I can’t knock IVE for that


  12. I wonder if this will grow on me? It didn’t immediately catch me the way Billli did. I don’t care for the slowdown or the chorus–what does it mean? Their voices are…interesting. Right now I find it kind of unpleasant but I wouldn’t be surprised if that changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Everything about this feels weirdly condensed? It’s like the parts are all cut short when they could have been developed more. I actually don’t mind the ritardando but that context would make sense if there are more exciting things happening in this song.


  14. I’ve been a long-time reader, and my first comment! Listening to this song rn! I love the chorus and it’s my type of song. I love how simple it is and it’s not too: BOOM! if you get what I mean.

    I’d give it a solid 9.5. It’s one of my favorite debuts. Love it!


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