A new girl group has arrived on the K-pop scene and they’re changing things up as a hybrid K-pop and J-pop venture. IZ*ONE (pronounced “I zone”), the latest temporary act formed through Mnet’s Produce series, released their debut EP COLOR*IZ on Monday (Oct. 29) fronted by the single “La Vie En Rose.”
Featuring nine Korean members and three Japanese ones, all three of whom are part of Japan’s AKB48 girl-group structure, IZ*ONE’s first song “La Vie En Rose” is a vibrant, groovy electro-pop track. Captivating from the get-go, “La Vie en Rose” blends a wide-range of elements — ambient synths, stomping beats, tinny snare and echoing strings drive much of the track — in its attempt at achieving midtempo pop perfection. The melody soars with the members’ vocals, exploding with a pre-chorus build and sudden drop to the more restrained titular hook, serving up an introductory track that is all at once powerful and delicate.
“La Vie en Rose” fronts the act’s COLOR*IZ debut EP, pronounced “colorize,” and is inspired by the color red. Fittingly, the music video features the 12 decked out in red-and-leather looks but, like the song itself, counters the more impactful outfits with softer feminine ones. Rather than coming off as contradictory, the duality featured in IZ*ONE’s debut song and video hints to the act’s potential amid one of the most experimental pop music scenes in the world and highlights why these 12 were handpicked from among the nearly 100 women who competed for a spot in the group on this year’s Produce 48.
IZ*ONE is the third act to come out of South Korean cable broadcaster Mnet’s Produce series, through which South Korean viewers vote for 12 competitors to form a temporary pop act. They follow I.O.I, formed on the first season of Produce 101 in 2016 and together for a year, and Wanna One, formed in that show’s second season last year and together for just under a year and a half. The new girl group is the first binational team from the series, as Produce 48 featured both South Korean entertainment companies’ trainees and AKB48 members; the three Japanese members — Miyawaki Sakura, Yabuki Nako and Honda Hitomi — have each been active for years in the J-pop world. The new group will be the longest-running one so far: They are set to stay together for two and a half years, bringing them well into 2020.
Watch the music video for IZ*ONE’s “La Vie en Rose” here: