Time does fly, as Itzy is now a 2-year old KPop group that has finally dropped its first studio album with Crazy in Love. This is a significant feat for any KPop group, as they rarely drop a full studio album because of how fast-paced the industry is.
Despite coming out five months after their EP Guess Who, Itzy’s first album brings us back to familiar elements from Wannabe while incorporating new production styles to cater to a more global audience.
I have been listening to Crazy in Love for a few days, and here’s my review on the first studio album of Itzy. Let’s dive in:
Less experimental, more on what works
Let’s get this clear: I’m not saying that Guess Who and Not Shy are underwhelming: while both albums are refined production-wise, they felt a bit experimental when compared to their breakout EP Wannabe. Not all KPop music companies are really determined to make their groups shine on the global stage, and JYP (Itzy’s agency) has made it clear that they want Itzy to be recognized globally.
For Crazy in Love, JYP decided to revisit all of the things that made Wannabe great: Galactika handling the title track (in this case, that’s Loco for you), giving more singing lines to Yeji, and letting Ryujin handle mostly rap lines. If you listen the entirety of Wannabe and Loco (both being title tracks), the similarities are uncanny.
Like with Guess Who and Not Shy, Crazy in Love has its fair share of songs that emphasize more on their singing prowess with Love is and Mirror.
Looking through the music video for Loco, Itzy went on a lighter, bubblegum pop aesthetic that is reminiscent of the Dalla Dalla and Icy eras. From the color selection to the lightning quick cuts between scenes, I’d day that the music video for Loco is more attention-grabbing compared to the music videos for In the Morning and Not Shy. Of course, there’s that “let Ryujin do her thing and call it a day” that we saw in Wannabe that makes Loco very attention-grabbing.
Like with every Itzy title track, the Crazy in Love album includes an English version of Loco, which I praise in this review as arguably their best English song to date, next to Not Shy and Wannabe (I tried to like the English version of In the Morning, Dalla Dalla, and Icy, but I’m better off listening to the original Korean version).
Listening through all songs in the album, it is evident that Yeji and Lia handle a big chunk of the singing lines, with Chaeryeong balancing between singing and dancing. Ryujin and Yuna, on the other hand, handle practically all of the rap lines in the album.
A dash of something new?
For the first time in their career, Itzy released two full-fledged music videos–the second one being for Swipe. While I felt that Loco was familiar, it was a different story for Swipe. Bringing over an aesthetic and look reminiscent of the promo photos for Guess Who, the Swipe music video brings in a different side of Itzy.
Instead of their usual “love yourself” or “the feeling of being in love” kind of thime, Swipe showcases more of Itzy straight out flexing, showcasing where they are at this stage of their career. After all, there’s a lot of meaning when there’s a scene where they are aboard a Lamborghini Urus––an ultra-luxury Sports SUV that only a few can afford.
While their roles in the group has been clearly defined throughout their career, it is evident that Yuna has vastly improved in the rapping department with tracks like Swipe and #Twenty.
Looking through the overall production of the tracks, the songs in Crazy in Love are refined more in a way that it appeals to a more global audience. Don’t get me wrong: it is not a bad thing at all (just look at the recent songs and collabs from Blackpink and BTS); instead, it shows how KPop in general is evolving its sound and blur the line further with our perception of mainstream pop music.
Itzy Crazy in Love Album Review Verdict
My first few listens to Crazy in Love does remind me of all the good things that made Wannabe their breakout EP, and it is not a bad thing at all. Even if they are less experimental this time (compared to Not Shy and Guess Who), Crazy in Love still offered a few fresh takes on Itzy as a group.
As their first full-length studio album, Itzy is on the right track with Crazy in Love, and they continue to set the benchmark for 4th-generation KPop girl groups.
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