Much has been written about the “girl crush” branding that’s taken over K-pop these past few years. Songs within this style have been around for decades, so I’m not sure we can call this a new sub-genre. But, the general template for a “girl crush” track has quickly become oversaturated, making it easy for these songs to blend into one another. Even so, ITZY have been one of the most successful purveyors of “girl crush,” and are now taking their energy to Japan.
To JYP Entertainment’s credit, they’ve done a nice job ensuring continuity between ITZY’s Korean and Japanese work. Voltage could easily find a home on their most recent album, harnessing the same fierce attitude as latest title track Loco. This will no doubt delight fans, but they’ve yet to top the Dalla Dalla / Icy / Wannabe trilogy. The sound and fury remains, but the hooks feel dulled of their potency. It’s still fun and powerful – just not exuberantly so.
Voltage’s title promises a jolt of pop electricity, and the track mostly delivers. Powered by rock guitar, the verses pound forward with intensity. The mixed rap and vocal melody is hit and miss, never forging a coherently awesome through-line. But, the chorus is quite catchy and I love the forceful snare that fuels the whole thing. ITZY’s performance is one-note, with that note settling around a badass grin. It works for the song, but quickly becomes exhausting. Maybe that’s the point. Still, Voltage could have done with a rewiring here and there to ensure maximum impact.