Song Review: ITZY – Sneakers

ITZY - SneakersOver the past few weeks, I’ve become increasingly invested in ITZY’s “Sneakergate.” Originally teased as a chic, royal concept, the rug was pulled from underneath fans when SneakersKidz Bop-esque audio sample emerged. That teaser went on to become Stockholm syndrome, repeated daily until you had no choice but to give in. A conspiracy theory soon gained traction among fans. This couldn’t be the actual song, right? It was all a ruse perpetrated by JYP for some unknown reason. This confusion eventually made it to the girls themselves, forcing poor Ryujin to set the record straight. This is my kind of K-pop mess!

But really, should Sneakers surprise anyone? ITZY have been targeting a young market since debut, and this song is right in line with the tween crowd. Its biggest problem is that it sounds like a CF for Skechers. This extends to the songwriting, which feels unimpactful when compared to most big-agency comebacks. Sneakers has a similar energy to 2019’s excellent Icy, but lacks that song’s dynamic centerpieces. Based on the teasers, many of us expected something super brash and annoying. What we have instead is an oddly reserved commercial jingle.

On the plus side, Sneakers’ instrumental is built around an enjoyable funk bounce. The producers could’ve elevated this groove with a greater sense of tension and build, but the basic ingredients are there. ITZY sound particularly good throughout most of the track – especially the vocal-driven pre-choruses. But, the end result is too empty to compete with their best work. I haven’t loved many of their recent title tracks, but this feels like a regression. It’s a cute little bop for the kids, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But three years into their career, I’d hoped to see the group throw down the gauntlet and find another discography-defining hit.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7

29 thoughts on “Song Review: ITZY – Sneakers

  1. I thought the same way about the song at first but repeated listens have me hooked. It’s 200% a grower and somehow it keeps you coming back for more. The pre-chorus and bridge save the song but the chorus is extremely potent, no matter how Skechers-like it is!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think I dislike this title track the most compared to their former ones. It’s kind of disappointing though because as a fan from their debut, I expected high 😦

    What I like about ITZY’s song is the theme of self-love and rebellion, and what sticks around in their song is the repetition of a line of verse. Their lyricist did so great with Dalla Dalla Dalla and I wanna be me me me, not shy not me and loco is great too. For me, it’s great because there is explicit meaning that is conveyed to us and we can relate.

    With Sneakers, ‘put my sneakers on’; isn’t relatable to me, and I think maybe a significant portion of people won’t mind if someone is using sneakers, right? It may be just makes it taboo when it’s in the royal kingdom setting, which isn’t the setting for most people.

    This seems like yeah like the writer said, the regression of ITZY because JYP really takes Adidas ad campaign to the next level even to their title track song’s tagline and title.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just…WTF is this?!
    We’ve been waiting for 10 months for Itzy to come back, and as a result, we get some kind of a parody-of-itself ditty….
    Same as Billlie’s yesterday comeback, the melody is too nursery rhyme for me, even more than Patbingsu. In fact, the entire album itself is SO underwhelming that none of its songs even deserve to be the title. The only song I can tolerate here is Domino, although it’s a boring ballad, the rest are just generic BG-esque shout-a-thons rated in the 5’s and 6’s…..😭🤬
    Tbh, if I were the part of JYP’s producer team, I’d completely rewrite the album and release it later. Itzy deserved a MUCH BETTER material than this.
    On the other hand, as a huge Norazo fan, I can appreciate Sneakers a bit in a somewhat…comedic way.
    Finally, I’ll give it a 6/10 (5,6,7,6).

    JYP, we need to have a serious conversation. What you have done to the girls is totally UNFORGIVABLE.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I personally loved Icy and its still one of my favorite Itzy songs. I dont hate Sneakers at all because it really does sound like Icy in so many ways. I think Icy appealed to younger audiences in that its a fun song that doesnt take itself too seriously but also had a hit of “coolness” to it to keep it from being juvenile. The problem with Sneakers is that its missing that “coolness”. Really wish they would’ve given different lyrics for the chorus because I cant imagine myself singing “put my sneakers on” without thinking its ridiculous. Tbh though I’ll still put it on my playlist for the summer.


  5. im literally crying during the premiere. thinking it will be a disaster, WHICH IS NOT. Fortunately, At least its not the disaster i think it would be. it is kinda messy, but damn, the verses and prechorus really does HITS. ( im not talking about the chorus because damn itzy okay i’ll put my sneakers on if you guys say so. just not with that tone. )

    Is it bad? not. not at all..
    will i replay this over and over like i did with LOCO or ICY? no..
    will i skip this? i wont.
    will i put my sneakers on ? absolutely yes.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lol, its not as bad as I (or most of the internet) thought it would be. It still sounds like a bad commercial for a K-12 appropriate sneaker ad, but not a disaster(which would have been funnier I guess, now its just sad).

    I liked the pre-chorus. The first 20-30 seconds were decent. But then the chorus hit – “Poot my sneakers on”. Why oh why. Who passed these lyrics in their songwriting team? I guess I am more qualified to write lyrics than half of k-pop.

    I feel bad for Itzy. I liked them earlier. They had spunky and engaging personalities! They were going somewhere. Now, they are just running headless. Poooooot my sneakers onnnnn

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I might be the only person who was actually happy about the “switcheroo.” “Cool and chic” too often translate to boring posturing and/or languid songs. I mean this really could’ve used a stronger (or at least less juvenile) centerpiece but there are nice melodies and I’d gladly take this over songs like Not Shy and Mafia in the Morning or whatever that one was called.

    That said, it still doesn’t reach the heights of their best work. Maybe aside from a stronger centerpiece, a bit more bombast–this feels unusually reserved. Still, inoffensive, dare I say good enough even. Low 8s for me.


  8. On balance, its OK, light heartened pop, skews young.

    What really baffles me is what shoes have we all been wearing lately that wearing sneakers could be considered a shocking character-defining change? My kids have been wearing nothing but sneakers, and my regular go to is Vans. And sneakers with a ball gown has been a regular feature on the runways and fashion magazines for decades now, it isn’t novel or weird anymore.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. I’ve realized that the further we get from Wannabe, the further I drift from my love of this group. They’ve gone the same way as Blackpink for me; some bangers in the first year or so, and then…meh the rest of the way at best. Twice is the other way around for me; I didn’t care much for them at first, but their music has gotten way better over time. The last two years of Twice’s music have made a fully-fledged fan.
    Sneakers is inoffensive, but not really good to me. Itzy excels at giving us good pre-choruses, but the verses aren’t exciting here and the chorus, while kinda catchy, is also pretty bad. I decided to not inundate myself with all the teasers, but I was nevertheless let down by the lack of a compelling hook. It’s a shame because Itzy is fully capable of giving out knockout hooks.
    I listened to the rest of the album too. My personal thoughts:
    Racer: This song starts out great, but then that chorus turns it into a bad Blackpink song. Ugh. Did they get Teddy in this one? I guess I should have tempered my expectations. That drop chorus makes me so sad.
    What I Want: Repetitive chorus, but everything else is not all that bad. You got some funky guitar in the verses, and a really nice pre-chorus, but the chorus is a bit of a letdown. It’s a very Itzy sound. Too short though.
    Free Fall: Wheeeeeee
    365: I couldn’t remember a single thing about this song until I listened to it again, and I kinda regret it. There’s only so much lousy rapping that I can stomach. The chorus basically doesn’t exist and I really dislike what Ryujin and Yuna are doing in this song, whatever they’re doing. Again, the pre-chorus is great; nice layering of harmonies for a group that doesn’t do much of that.
    Domino: The only decent track. Usually, end-of-album midtempo songs are boring, but this one is actually quite nice. It’s the only song on this album where they’re just singing in the chorus; not sing-rapping, not vocal frying, but actual, honest-to-goodness SINGING. And it’s good!
    Nick, I don’t know if Domino or any other song warrants a Buried Treasure here, but at least I got a laugh out of Free Fall. What a ridiculous song.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Racer, What I Want, 365, and free fall just sounds.. like a let down for me.

      unless for Sneakers and Domino.
      I’ve been finding myself playing Domino ever since its release and its nice. at least this release got me one genuinely good song.


  10. This is not it, and after the lackluster Not Shy, Loco, Mafia, and Voltage, we really needed this to be it. On the bright side, JYP said that Itzy’s next title track (after Sneakers, and already recorded) is his favorite Itzy title track of all. Here’s hoping that comes soon and starts a new trilogy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m only living to know if that teaser for the next comeback was unhinged marketing from JYP or if he really spoke his mind and we have something memorable coming in a few months.


  11. You either love or hate the chorus and unfortunately I hate it. The last one doesn’t sound as bad but the first two seem poorly sung


  12. My expectations were low due to the teasers so even if I don’t particularly like it, it’s not that bad I guess. I would probably rate it lower.

    However, nothing could prepare me for the album. I absolutely hate it. I haven’t heard a kpop album I’ve disliked this much overall in a while. Sneakers and Domino end up being the best of the bunch but the bar is so low that these aren’t really anything special…


  13. Not to sound like a snob, but I refuse to listen to this group post-MITM, so the same goes with this release. All I can say is that Ha Sungwoon has the better song entitled ‘Sneakers’. GOSH I love that song.


  14. To be fair, I think if no one had heard this chorus before, this would be a 6 or something lower for most. It has been ages since I unironically liked an Itzy song, but between this and MITM, I think they have found new life on my playlist, just not in the way that was intended!


  15. Subpar song like many of these Hip-Hop and EDM groups. Blackpink and Aespa usually bring out the same soulless trash. But people seem to love it by the millions.

    BUT! I do love the pre-chorus a lot.

    There are some unexpected bright spots on the album for me though.

    I love the instrumentals (guitar? and electronic stuff) on What I Want. And I really quite like that song but the chorus slips back into the soulless stuff sadly.

    Free Fall is a nice song and the last chorus is really gorgeous in particular.

    Domino is a really nice song as well.


  16. This is the same group that assaulted my ears with Mafia in the Morning? That’s some change-up. I give it points for being listenable. That golly gee wiz chorus and cutesy choreo gets old quick, though. It does sound pre-made for commercial use. Which brand will get it first?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I only just discovered that this is a title track.. I’ve seen the song float around and genuinely thought it was just a popular b-side.


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