IZ*ONE – 'COLOR*IZ'
2. O` My!
3. La Vie en Rose *Title
5. We Together (IZ*ONE ver.)
6. Crush on You (IZ*ONE ver.)
7. In Our Dreams (IZ*ONE ver.)
8. Pick Me (IZ*ONE ver.) (CD only)
Produce 48's newest girl group, IZ*ONE, has just dropped their debut mini-album, 'COLOR*IZ.' The show that spawned them brought together Korean trainees from various labels and Japanese trainees from AKB48 and their sister groups. The band's name is pronounced 'eyes one;' the IZ stands for the 12 girls, and the ONE symbolizes that they are together as one. The asterisk is the zodiac. The 12 girls are Eunbi, Sakura, Hyewon, Yena, Chaeyeon, Chaewon, Nako, Hitomi, Yuri, Minju, Yujin, and Wonyoung. Like all Produce 48 groups, they have a limited shelf life: they'll be around for 2 and a half years.
"Colors" is the first track on here, and as a first exposure, it's not bad. They have a sound resembling a lot of other girl bands, but they've got some of their own unique takes. It's light, poppy, and refreshing -- and more filled out than what I expected. "O' My!" amps up the cuteness factor. They've got that faux soul sound and a lot of higher-octave action. They do a fairly good job here, and the 'o' my' makes for a pretty good hook. It's catchy and has some nice time changes. The title track "La Vie en Rose" is literally 'life in pink' in French, and bears no resemblance to other songs of that name. Instead, it's a whole lot cooler. The title refers to a state of joy. It was wise to select this one as the promotional track because it's so much better than any other song here. It's catchy, cool, and epic sounding, and Yena killed the rap segment. The pounding synths and dance-floor beats are absolutely hypnotic.
And we come to "Memory," which is the first of two ballads on the EP. It's not bad, but it sounds like a lot of other songs of this type. I like how the instrumentation builds here, and the buried drums in particular. The girls get a real chance to show what they've got, and we are treated to their various individual vocal styles, not to mention some sugary-sweet harmonies. Now we come to the last four songs, which are staples in the Produce 101/48 canon. "We Together" is a standard pop tune, and probably familiar to anyone who watched the show. It's actually pretty hook-filled and fun. The girls sound bold in the chorus too. "Crush On You" I didn't like. Way too high octaves, and for some reason the backing track sounded like it was sped up, it reminds me a lot of nightcore.
If you couldn't guess from the title, "In Our Dreams" is another ballad. I remember this one. It's more piano-driven and poppy than the other ballad, but it's kind of pretty. It's got some of those abnormally high pitched voices, but it's a sweet tune other than that. If you're not tired of "Pick Me" yet, then you might be after listening to this version. You know it well by now, and you probably either love it or hate it. I don't hate it, but I think it's overdone and it's really time to retire it, or at least give it a good club mix. Of course, if you don't have the CD, this song isn't available.
This album is actually quite good, despite the additions of the Produce 48 tunes we've heard already. There's something about it that just grows on you, adding to the earworms you already have. And I think "La Vie en Rose" is a seriously awesome tune. Their strongest singers appear to be Yuri, Eunbi, Chaeyeon, and Chaewon. It's a pity they won't last, but at least we'll have some great music to listen to while they are around.
The MV is for "La Vie en Rose," and the imagery in the video (as well as the song) might stem from a misunderstanding. "Rose" in English is a red flower or even the color red. However, in French it's actually the color pink, throwing off the whole color scheme. Still, it's a minor quibble.
The dancing is awesome. The girls flail their arms and bounce and actually dance, for once. They move well, and elegantly, all in sync. While they chop it up for the MV, you can tell they put some thought into the choreo. It's also nice that they didn't totally sexualize these girls -- or default to aegyo -- and gave them something to do during the dance sequences.
You can store roses in the fridge so they'll live longer. Just make some room for the food, too!
The imagery in the video ranges from eye-popping to meh. While the roses in the fridge were kind of interesting, as were some of the color changes (to red, natch), there were other things (such as posing with a bouquet) that weren't that great. I mean, the girls are all adorable, and for a debut MV it's not bad, but I think it could have been a bit better.
So overall, it was fun to watch. It wasn't amazing, but I love the song, so I think that helped a lot. And as I said, the dancing was a notch above some other bands, so I definitely have to give credit where credit is due. And yeah, I'd watch it again.
MV SCORE: 8.3
ALBUM SCORE: 8.6