k-pop · reviews

ITZY Will Be The Cheshire On Top

ITZY make their return with new mini album Cheshire and title song of the same name.

Holy damn, it’s the comeback we have all been waiting for. Right? RIGHT? I don’t know why but I was honestly so surprised when the girls’ pre-release dropped indicating they’d be having another comeback and for some reason that felt so sudden to me, but in a good way. I was missing the girls already and since Sneakers left so much to be desired (even though it ended up growing on me by a lot) Cheshire seemed to be ITZY’s new chance at another banger release in 2022. I just needed a stand out track by them and since Boys Like You was a fine song I hoped for old ITZY to be all over Cheshire. That has somewhat come true with this comeback so let’s review.

Source: Tumblr – venompinks

First of all, finally the concept of Cheshire matches the energy of the song. Never not gonna be salty over Sneakers‘ royalty concept and it not having anything to do with the song whatsoever. Anyway, the girls look absolutely fantastic for Cheshire and the music video has the ITZY colorfulness we have come to know and love. It is so weird to get comebacks by this group as so many girl groups are trying to do the same thing but no one ITZYs like ITZY. Cheshire is an interesting one. I don’t think we have ever gotten such a mellow song from the girls. Mellow in a way as mellow as ITZY can get. But we are not getting the shouty attitude that is so catchy familiar – ITZY is leaning all the way into the melody with Cheshire. The verses are super soft and almost feel a bit too minimal, I’d love to have a bit of a stronger instrumental here. The chorus of Cheshire is still melodic but I can tell the producers were trying their best not to make it loud and shouty, the instrumental is almost straining itself not to break out into a trap beat. Well, I think overall it is a refreshing take on ITZY music. However, I feel like it could have been more. I love the fun and loudness of ITZY while we stay in a melodic lane and Cheshire feels almost underwhelming? By no means bad, I actually love it but it feels a bit too much of the opposite of Sneakers and I am not sure how catchy it is as the hook is kind of not doing its thing for me right now and it doesn’t feel as strong as other ITZY songs. But I don’t want to complain too much. The girls sound great and the choreo looks more energetic than the song itself, so time will tell.

Again, I am just being a bit “harsher” here since I love ITZY to bits and I hold them so high on my bias list that their new music will always be looked at more closely than some other groups. However, the mini album is absolutely great. A bit short if you ask me, but the two new b-sides we get are great. Snowy isn’t very wintery but rather has a bit of a spooky feel to it and I am obsessed with how the girls sound here and the string instruments during the pre-chorus/chorus. I am hooked. Freaky is also great, a bit more of a softer song and vocal and r&b focused. Cheshire in its totality offers us a bit more variety to the girls’ music and I love it. I can’t wait for music show performances!

Lina calling Boys Like You and Sneakers fine songs in one breath. You aren’t hearing that from me ever. Jokes aside, the music direction JYPE had for ITZY this year has been rather all over the place and back to some weirdly juvenile atmosphere when ITZY should be moving forward and growing as artists. The girls are incredibly talented, charming and with an amazing stage presence, so I was hoping for Cheshire to give us something stronger, better and more impressive than the previous era. Cheshire absolutely delivered for me as it couldn’t be more different than Sneakers and that’s all I can ask for – good melody, ITZY style and their recognizable colour. Let’s review.

Source: Tumblr – venompinks

Cheshire has a very eerie, atmospheric melody that fits well with the concept they have going on in the music video. In many ways, the song reminds me of their Japanese releases but with a slightly different kind of energy. The verses are laid-back, almost Halloween-ish in their nature (which makes me wonder why not release this around Halloween?) and with minimal melody but still enough of it that makes you anticipate what kind of chorus you’ll be hearing. Thankfully, it’s a good one and at the same time both ITZY-like and different for the group. I like that they opted for a higher range during it as it serves as a nice contrast to the minimalistic verses. I do agree with Lina that the verses could’ve used some stronger instrumental, some more fleshed out melody to balance out the song but the chorus makes up for it for me – it’s fun, catchy and with a proper post-chorus during the second half. The hook is laid-back but it’s still catchy and suits ITZY well. I think this song would’ve been a much more logical continuation of their last year’s releases (especially Loco) instead of Sneakers and I’m hoping they’re going back to their slightly more mature but still girl crush sound and style because absolutely no one does it like them. Many have tried but ITZY are ITZY and to deny their impact on the current sound would be embarassing. Cheshire is a really great song and the best ITZY have released this year which makes me so excited to see them perform again. I also love the dark colours, make-up and mood of the music video – very Halloween-like, as I said before.

The other two songs on the album are both enjoyable although Cheshire stays the strongest of them all. Freaky’s verses remind me so much of late 90s r&b music both when it comes to the instrumental and their vocals. I do wish the chorus switched the melody a bit harsher just to make it stand out more but it’s a really nice, enjoyable sound with this old-school feeling to it. ITZY fit this kind of sound so well and it’s nice to hear them pursue something like this.

All in all, Cheshire is a hit in my book and I’m glad I can write a positive review for ITZY again as they’re our favourites here on the blog and a group we’re always biased towards. Welcome back girls!

Header Image Source: JYP Entertainment

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