It seems a long time since the end of Produce 48. With the new season, Produce X 101 about to begin, talk will once again turn to the makeup of the new group that the show will form. Yet in the middle of this, Produce 48’s outcome, international group IZ*ONE have continued to promote with their twelve members. With three members for Japan’s AKS groups and the remaining from Korean companies, the group have been steadily releasing a mixture of Korean and Japanese releases.

Their latest, ‘Violeta’, doesn’t stray far from the sound they have established thus far. This is a very good thing. Having gone against expectations with the sound and concept for their debut release, maintaining this sound and image only serves to cement them as a group with an actual identity, something that previous Produce series groups have struggled with.

When ‘La Vie En Rose’ released late last year, it surely wasn’t the direction that many had thought the group would go in. The sound was very more mature, classy and restrained. It was beautifully executed by every member. And despite the buzz surrounding who the track was originally produced for, they managed to make it their own. ‘Violeta’ acts very much as a follow-up track to this. It echoes the structure of ‘La Vie En Rose’ very closely, with the main hook of the chorus being the title of the song. Everything prior to this builds to this moment. There’s not a huge drop to be found before the chorus, the pre-chorus instead doing much of the work. Some were left unsatisfied with the lack of intensity that Last Vie En Rose showcased in its chorus and this is remedied somewhat in Violeta. Whilst it is still by no means heavy in terms of beat nor content, the synths do well to fill out the landscape, making for a much less jarring transition.

It helps that the girls of IZ*ONE don’t have to strain their voices too much throughout any part of the song. The concept allows from a broader vocal range than the aegyo tones that can often creep into some female groups releases. Whilst these are by no means a bad thing, they certainly have a time and place, and Violeta doesn’t waste time trying to make them work. Eunbi once again demonstrates some powerful singing, as do Yuri and Yena. The rap sections could be more exciting, as they fall into a trap of sounding more like spoken sections. They don’t break the flow of the song thankfully but they certainly could do with something interesting in their delivery and rhythm to make them stand out for the right reasons.

There is also little reliance on recent trends here, though the influences can be heard. It’s almost a house beat that moves the song along, but it never takes over, allowing the hook and overall pace of the song to shine. Building to the final chorus, the song lifts to a satisfying conclusion. It packs much more punch than its predecessor for this reason but keeps it in check. It’s catchy, repeatable, and makes the listening come back for more.

Not only do we have something rather sonically cohesive to their previous Korean title track, but similar imagery is also very prominent all the way through the MV. The links to flowers are an obvious choice with the title of the song. There are some stunning scenes interspersed throughout shots of the choreography. A water set to dance in; a white-curtained room that looks whimsical and breezy; a room filled with thousands of colourful blooms. It’s all very fairytale. Yet it perfectly highlights the charms of these girls. A subtle sophistication, strength and femininity exudes from every shot.

The choreography plays into this too. Flowing movements contrast stronger poses, fitting well with the changes in the music. There is little plot to follow, which makes this a video to watch for the aesthetics. The colours used are vibrant, decadent in some places, accompanied by lighting that accentuates this and the member’s visuals. The purple room is by far the most plain of all these sets, but it ties in all the colours with the title of the track.

For a group with so many members, the fact that each receives a distinctive set is a nice feature. In future, it would be even better to see a more developed storyline. However, what IZ8ONE have presented with this MV is a quality that sets them apart from a lot of rookie groups. They have a commanding presence that they can carry with charm. If they can continue with this throughout the short time they have to promote together, then they will leave a distinct visual memory for everyone who waits for each comeback.

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