Review

Song Review: ITZY – Voltage

ITZY - VoltageMuch 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.

Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.75

21 thoughts on “Song Review: ITZY – Voltage

  1. Every now and then, I ponder why I keep watching teenagers pose and sing (or “intone”) in a foreign language half a world away. Right now is one of those times.

    Song is fine.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Hello Nick! It is my first time leaving a comment on your blog although I’ve been reading your writeups for 2 years (since the start of the pandemic). Just to let you know that I appreciate your personal inputs and analysis for both Korean and Japanese idol releases very much!

    Will you be reviewing Nogizaka46’s 29th single “Actually…”? I personally think the song strays away from the usual Nogi template (which I welcome a lot!) and would like to know your thoughts.

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  3. I realized how much I don’t like Ryujin’s timbre. It was never a problem to me in the past, but ever since MITM, Weapon, Loco, and this was released it has become a problem for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I really hate the way my mind works sometimes. I got most of the way through this and realized I couldn’t really nail down a definitive hook anywhere in the song. I mean, there were parts that I guess were intended to be the hook, but..

    Then my mind went off on a tangent and I started thinking about Eddie Murphy’s comedic bit “What a bargain!”. Specifically, the part where he says “We need a hook for this..” in an exaggerated Chinese accent. I know, I know, that routine would get slammed today for a dozen reasons, but it’s still imprinted in my noodle.

    What was my point? Oh.. ..yeah. About 2/3s through this song, I lost interest, realized I couldn’t find the hooks, and was now playing Eddie Murphy in my head. Ain’t that a bitch.

    Ref: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa9AI8FdMdk

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a song. I assume it didn’t become anything else halfway through, because I also stopped listening around then, but I have no doubt I could fill in the blank for you with no trouble.

    As with loco, it’s incredibly disheartening to have watched Itzy backslide from fully embracing clutter and noise and bratty fun to… whatever mealymouthed impression of pop rock this is supposed to be. The short-term future of kpop for me hinges on the hope that some of the fourth gen girl groups will start staking out unique identities soon, because I dearly miss the 2019 era when Dalla Dalla showed me something I genuinely hated at first and then gradually swindled me into loving it. Billlie remains promising at least, even if their last album had some growing pains.

    Liked by 2 people

    • At first, I had assumed that someone in charge of ITZY had simply *forgotten* what the group’s sound was even supposed to be. After this, I’m just going to assume that they’re intentionally steering ITZY away from the sound they used to have, for whatever reason. This doesn’t really sound anything like the group they started out as. At least they kept the visual aesthetic similar, unlike whatever happened to LOONA after Jaden Jeong left.

      As the cherry on top, the mixing is… rough. Lots of kpop tracks recently seem to include unnecessarily loud instrumentals. Is this a deliberate trend, or coincidental carelessness?

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yes, and yes. These old ears wonder about loud mixes every single damn time they assault my ears early in the morning. And every single damn time I wonder if they are tuning the mix to speakers of headphones or earbuds that do not have the same equalization as my current best earbuds + youtube + computer EQ automatic settings combo, or my computer speakers alone. Do the wireless earpods rebalance differently? I don’t know, and I am not going to find out because I am too cheap to buy a pair. Is it balanced for the streaming services? Don’t know either.

        Back when, during a break in recording, musicians used to copy a rough track to a cassette tape and drive around to hear how the song sounds in a car. I don’t know what producers and mastering people do these days. (EXO History does not sound good in a car; it gets lost.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t really get behind the idea that Jaden really matters to LOONA, from the videos MonoTree put out I think their A&R has consistently been like random non music person right? And the quality of the work was VERY BAD like they still didn’t figure out Jinsol was doing low notes inaccurately half a year into alleged SM A&R period

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m not necessarily implying that Jaden *was* the catalyst that made LOONA was it was, only that his departure marked a large shift in their sound and aesthetics. Sorry if I worded that weird!

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  6. again and again, itzy lacks vocalists. weapon was a great song that made good use of their strengths, wish it was promoted more/beyond swf.

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  7. I’ve really loved ITZY in the past, and some of their b-sides are absolutely fantastic (I’ve been on a “THAT’S A NO NO” kick recently) but they do seem to be sliding away from the sound I liked to something more generic and less interesting. I think JYPE has done a better-than-average job at keeping their artists’ sounds fairly distinct and not changing gears too abruptly, but this direction just isn’t for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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