It has been a full thrill ride with the latest season of Produce 101 Season 3 coming to its anticipated conclusion. The intrigue of the show was kept alive by its announcement that the latest season would consist of trainees from both Japan and Korea. Of course, the pushback was immediate. Many netizens saw no need to form a globalized group, especially one with Japanese AKB members. There was a presumption of a rift waiting to happen with their promotion in South Korea, given the sensitive history between both countries and their delicate relationship today. Others however, were instantly hooked, remaining hopeful that the execution of the show’s intriguing premise would follow through to a satisfying finish.
After several controversies and eliminations, followed by yet another EDM remix of the show’s anthem, “Pick Me,” the final 12 girls were chosen under the group name Iz One (stylized as IZ*ONE). Not surprisingly, the results left fans feeling short, with many disappointed that their bias would be excluded from a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to debut to massive success. If superstar group, Wanna One, was any indication of the rising power of reality formed groups, then Iz One is about to tread into the same public exposure and fame. Yet, no matter what feelings were shared online or the frustration vent, the voting is closed, the girls were chosen, and they have finally released their first single properly titled “La Vie en Rose.”
Getting straight to the point, Iz One’s “La Vie en Rose” exceeded even my highest expectations. The track alone is an impressive demonstration of the slick modern pop sound with an enslaving chorus to follow. The instrumentation is vibrant, showcasing a series of ambivalent sounds that blend elements of synths, flares, and rhythmic bass beats together for the creation of an irresistible melody. It is definitely a track that takes no notes from the past successors of Mnet’s Produce series. The debut tracks of former winners followed more bombastic and grandiose sounds. On the contrary, “La Vie en Rose” adopts a fresh and matured tone. This style choice easily puts their music in line with that of fellow new generation groups such as (G)I-dle‘s “Hann” and Loona‘s “Hi High.”
“La Vie en Rose,” meaning life in pink in French, is not only an enjoyable listen. The music video that accompanies the song presents a pleasant minimalist visual that centers around a palette of colors, most notably red. Unlike the visual debut of I.O.I who ticked off all the girl group’s debut tropes in an underwhelming video, Iz One settles for a more polished and refined take with their first MV. In “La Vie en Rose,” the girls captivate as they express excitement and curiosity, a reflection of their entry into the new stage in their lives. They also manage to avoid replicating the same girl group music video formulas in which conventions of femininity tend to stray into the innocent schoolgirl cliche.
Dressed in an ensemble of high fashion red costumes, the MV opens with a captivating dance number that sets the tone for the rest of the narrative. Each member is seen wandering around the dull colored landscape only to discover objects of pigmented red that catch their interest. Of course, these items are only a representation of an intense feeling of discovery that lingers even after a sugar rush has died down. Not only does Iz One physically try to replicate this feeling through their dance number, but their lyrics also demonstrate the idea of revelation and passion.
This feeling is more like a rubyLike the sparkling that I’m feelingIf you’re being pulled, be pulled nowI don’t wanna make it blueImagine your la vie en rose