The step from trainees to debutantes was a steep one, according to ITZY’s leader, Yeji. “When we were recording our debut song ‘DALLA DALLA’ for the first time, it was very challenging,” she tells Apple Music. “It was so difficult to understand how to sing and [figure out] our direction. Now we understand more easily. We really want to show our energetic mood.”
It’s not like ITZY—Yeji, Yuna, Chaeryeong, Lia, and Ryujin—needed help in the energy department. In 2019, their debut singles “DALLA DALLA” and “ICY” broke video streaming records with a potent one-two punch of EDM-boosted empowerment anthems. Less than eight months after their first mini-album, ITZY returns with their follow-up, IT’z ME.
Over seven tracks, they give the MIDZY universe more potent girl-power energy with a few twists. The first single “WANNABE” completes a “do you” trifecta they began with “ICY” and “DALLA DALLA.” They sidestep jealousy on “YOU MAKE ME” and stunt hard on “TING TING TING” (the latter a collaboration with Dutch electronic music producer Oliver Heldens). EDM also plays into the don’t-kill-my-vibe testimonials “I DON’T WANNA DANCE” and “THAT’S A NO NO.”
Two songs here dip a toe outside their comfort zone: “NOBODY LIKE YOU” takes a greasy guitar-and-drums track and gives it an ITZY makeover. The rowdy “24HRS” pairs monster bass and chants into a club agitator that Megan Thee Stallion would appreciate.
IT’z ME is their declaration of independence. Its messages of loving yourself and ignoring haters, retrofitted with JYP’s signature combination of boom and style, show confidence and volume levels spiking. “You don't have to be a certain image or standard that you have to fit, you could just be yourself,” Lia tells Apple Music. “I think that's the key message that we want to spread to our fans.”