The momentum of IVE is excellent. The six-member girl group, which debuted on December 1, 2021, was the fastest to take first place on music shows. The album sold 150,000 copies in the first week, making it the record for the highest-selling girl group for debut albums. Ahn Yu-jin and Jang Won-young, who were also very popular in IZ*ONE, which debuted through Mnet’s survival program ‘Produce 48’, raised expectations even before their debut. The influence of female fans, which has become a rule of thumb for the box office, was also excellent. However, the essence of the wavelength that Ive causes is, of course, in the song itself above all else.
The debut song ‘ELEVEN’ was completed by a team of foreign composers with relatively little K-pop experience and K-pop composer Ryan Jeon, who is a strong girl group song. The tension of the beat gradually adds layers and then explodes coolly. A thin and delicate tone and a whisper-like vocalization intersect to create dynamics. In the chorus, a clear and bold lead vocal guarantees explosive power. The members take turns in charge of the same part, revealing their respective characters, but presenting a couple of voices according to the song’s repeated dynamics. Of course, this in itself is not new. It can be seen as a well-made dance-pop that is faithful to the K-pop style and does this well.
‘ELEVEN’ is also a unique song. The group dance pursues formative beauty with geometric shapes, while the symbolic movements are impressive. These are movements of pointing at the pupils with the hand and the lyrics “Look carefully” orbiting the thumb with a frown while drawing the number 7 with the hand in line with the “7” in the lyrics. The fact that the ‘eye’ is used as an essential motif also reveals a taste for mysticism. Odd-Eye (eyes of different colors), a familiar mystery code in popular culture, is also mentioned. This is also the case with the tension of the melody, which is persistently inconsistent with the minimal beat. The sculptures in the music video also give off a feeling of ancient relics or borrow an Art Nouveau style to give a mysterious impression.
The passage that boldly slows down the tempo just before the chorus is not to be missed. This brings out the intense power of the following chorus, and as many have pointed out, it is considered an excellent device to be used on social platforms such as TikTok. What’s more interesting is that the rap “I didn’t know my heart is so colorful” at this time is directed with a sharp and robust voice. The story that everything changed when you woke up to love is a cliché among the clichés in a girl group song. However, the narrator in ‘ELEVEN’ does not look like an innocent girl embarrassed by her first love. He seems like a character who is thrilled by discovering new emotions. Even with the fantastic choreography of intense movements and the unstoppable beat, this can be felt. The motif of the eye is also in the same vein. The speaker doesn’t get excited about the other person’s eyes or avoid their eyes. Instead, the reference to the other person’s eyes is in the conclusion part, “Because I fell in love with myself through those eyes.”
What ‘ELEVEN’ embodies with detail and concentration is a confident, self-satisfied, and therefore shining character. This is what we often think of from stars. Sometimes we expect more than that: doll-like looks, modesty, fan service, complex worldviews, sweet courtship. Of course, this is not to say that Ive was missing out on these things. What Ive shows is the perception that idols are the coolest when they shine like stars and the fact that idols are an industry-created through planning and directing.