It’s been a while since the release of ITZY’s first full-length album, Crazy In Love, with ‘LOCO,’ but they’re finally back with their new mini-album, CHECKMATE, and its title track: ‘SNEAKERS.’ The group is going back to their roots with a concept about confidence and being themselves, and they are taking it to the next level. This is everything we love about ITZY, amplified.
In 2021, ITZY tried quite different concepts for both ‘In The Morning‘ and ‘LOCO,’ and while we loved to see different sides of the group, we also love ITZY’s bright and fun songs. ‘SNEAKERS’ is exactly that. In a lot of ways, its sound is reminiscent of the earlier iconic ITZY songs such as ‘DALLA DALLA,’ but especially ‘ICY.’ So yeah, that’s a way of saying that it’s a bop. ‘SNEAKERS’ is empowering and fun at the same time. It has these bright and fun melodies and such an addictive chorus that will get stuck in your head. ITZY have always had a way for making only iconic music, and ‘SNEAKERS’ is proof of it.
The music video perfectly translates the song’s messages of empowerment and embracing the way they are. The first setting mixes both the fun and bright concept of the song with a royal aesthetic, making it really unique in its own way. It’s literally the best of both worlds. Overall, ‘SNEAKERS’ is really all about girl power and being true to yourself. And ITZY excel at this.
Along with the English version of ‘SNEAKERS’ – which works as well as the original and feels incredibly natural – CHECKMATE has five more b-sides that are quite different from the title track.
While ‘SNEAKERS’ is bright and fun, ‘RACER’ takes a darker turn and yet remains as energetic as the title track. While it is similar to other ITZY b-sides, its unique drop makes it stand out. And that build-up in the pre-chorus leading up to the drop is just everything that is right with music. The third track, ‘WHAT I WANT,’ is the perfect K-Pop song as it mixes several vibes and genres – it’s multi-faceted and takes advantage of the best assets of hip-hop and pop. Its chorus is so catchy and the fact that the song is delivered with ITZY’s overflowing confidence makes it all even better.
‘Free Fall’ and ‘365’ are two b-sides that fall more under the experimental side of ITZY. While there have been tracks like these on previous ITZY releases, it feels like with these songs, they took it one step further and created incredibly unique songs that suit them perfectly.
With every release, ITZY showcase different sides of themselves, and CHECKMATE is no different. ‘DOMINO’ stands out and is by far one of the highlights of this release. It sets itself apart from all the other songs with its more poppy sound and emotional melodies. ‘DOMINO’ is a beautiful song. It is ITZY’s pop side at its best. And we can confidently say that this entire comeback with ‘SNEAKERS’ and CHECKMATE is ITZY at its best – unique, confident, and ready to take over the world.
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