The pool for K-pop idol group names has been so emptied that agencies are simply grafting random letters, numbers and symbols together. I’m going to quote ILY:1’s fandom page because I’m kind of obsessed with how much this reads as parody:
“Their name is a combination of the word “I” and suffix “-ly,” while the “1” represents each member’s unique charm coming together as one. Additionally, “ILY” is an acronym for “I Love You”, representing the group’s love to the fans who support them.” (source)
When an industry becomes this easy to parody, we’re in trouble. But, I’m not going to hold ILY:1’s silly name against them. It’s not like the girls got to choose. As oversaturated as the K-pop market has become, new voices are always welcome. And although debut single Love In Bloom (사랑아 피어라) doesn’t offer anything new, it’s a solid take on the trop-pop genre.
I tend to complain about trends while they’re in full swing but appreciate them a few years later. If you followed The Bias List throughout 2017, you suffered through me raging against “tropical synth squiggles” for months on end. But looking back, that popular trend resulted in some great pop tracks. In 2022, the approach feels almost novel, giving ILY:1 a robust template to work with. I appreciate the full sound of Love In Bloom and its emphasis on vocal melody. So far, nothing about the group emerges as particularly notable, but the track bops along without reprieve. In this way, its straightforward sound is refreshing. Bring some stronger hooks next time and we could be in for a real treat.