Song Review: IVE – Wave

IVE - WaveIVE’s music has reminded me just how important a good A&R team is. The ability to consistently choose great songs with a clear vision can’t be understated. But often when a K-pop act pursues the Japanese market, their material is determined by outside forces. There are many groups with lopsided discographies Korean/Japanese discographies (looking at you, Golden Child!).

IVE’s first original Japanese single Wave is cut from similar cloth as their Korean output, though I doubt they’d choose to promote it in their home country. It feels slightly more novelty, hinging on a repetitive hook that literally spells out its title. There’s also an awful mid-song tempo shift breakdown. But when Wave is good, it’s great.

I don’t believe in the concept of “guilty pleasure,” but Wave has elements that make me question if I should be enjoying it as much as I do. It’s a silly runway stomp of a track, but its hooks are sharp and effective. Barring that disappointing trap breakdown, I love the beat. The percussion is groovy and lively and its guitar strum is right out of The Neptunes’ early-00’s playbook. Plus, there’s a whip sound punctuating each phrase! You can’t get more camp than that.

This strutting energy compensates for Wave‘s songwriting simplicity. The track pales in comparison to the biggest moments in IVE’s discography, but I’m pleasantly surprised by how fun and goofy it is.

Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9

Grade: B


17 thoughts on “Song Review: IVE – Wave

  1. I had a similar feeling while listening to this song. “Should I really like this song as much as I do???” It’s chanty, repetitive, and pretty scant on melody, which are three things that tend to at least increase my apathy level for a song. But I really enjoyed the energy in the backing track, and I love the little pops of harmony that come in over top of the chanting. It’s a lot of fun, and so despite it including a lot of things that typically irk me, I actually do enjoy it overall!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I suppose I’m going to have to be the contrarian and proclaim this one better than anything on their album I’ve Ive. This is closer to the sound I expected from them after After Like. It’s a 9er for me 🙂


  3. Why is this song so goooood.

    I don’t know what Starship is putting in the water, but Ive’s songs are immediate hits.

    Naturally the song would be better with less talk-rapping, but it’s infinitely more palatable when it’s not followed by terrible chanting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This feels like it should not work but it really does. I don’t have to put much effort into finding the good things about the song to like it. One of my favorite songs all year already! (Even though I’ve literally listened to it once)


  5. This song has a fun and silly energy that you would usually hear in a commercial but it’s instantly recognizable as a IVE track. In the actual K-pop soundscape of interchangeable mash up songs I think it’s a triumph. I agree that the breakdown is bad particularly the horrible autotune. The reason could be the band struggling with the Japanese pronunciation. Anyway I love how IVE has anchored this post-Britney Spears sleek stomping pop sound.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That one viral editor is going to do something great with the slapping sound effect, I just know it.

    That aside, it’s.. fine? It’s a bit boring to me, but if it came on I probably wouldn’t skip it. There are a few unique little parts that are super satisfying, maybe they’re enough to keep me interested.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. when the “ooohs” came in I was sold. I agree about the trap breakdown, they especially didn’t need the distorted vocal fx.
    Really fun song however, has those Kylie Minogue vibes for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. YESSS Neptunes, I thought so too! For some reason, it made me think of Justin Timberlake’s Lovestoned.

    I don’t understand the trend of having title cards that don’t seem to mean anything? There were the ones in Jisoo’s Flower, and here too. Is a wave an aesthetic?


  9. Not my cup of tea, not just the word WAVE but it all sounded like a spelling song to me, but I like that they are firm in their concept even in their Japanese releases (I can’t help but think of Kep1er and how their ambiguous korean concepts become completely childish for their Japanese title tracks).


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