JYP quintet Itzy certainly made a big impression earlier in 2019 with their debut “Dalla Dalla.” For their second release, the monster rookie girl group doubles down on their experimental sound and message of self-confidence and individuality. “Icy” spotlights Itzy’s fiery attitude and cool choreography, building on the formula that worked so well for them in their debut.
The MV for “Icy” draws links back to “Dalla Dalla,” including its bright color palette, styling, and retro computer graphics. However, “Icy” is bigger, better, and bolder. Set in Los Angeles, the video allows the five members to comically interact with agape onlookers who are shocked at their free-spirited nature.
Yuna parties on a whimsical rooftop near a building full of stuffy office workers, while Yeji struts through a supermarket swiping apples. Lia parades through a diner in a dramatic gown and white sneakers, Ryujin challenges authority in a job interview, and Chaeryeong shamelessly dances along the streets. These scenarios are great examples of “show, don’t tell.” Itzy can brag in their lyrics about how cool and chic they are, but it is much more impactful to have a little girl stopped dead in her tracks by Chaeryeong’s confidence.
As much as these scenes might seem busy, but they do not feel overstuffed. The MV almost demands a second viewing to appreciate the diverse, slow-motion extras and glitching backup dancers. The pop art-style graphics and speech bubbles add movement and energy to the video, emphasize the song’s standout English moments, and help the members’ different scenes feel cohesive.
The use of a real-life setting and extras helps differentiate Itzy from the sterile CGI MV style that their JYP sister group Twice has been stuck with. “Icy” continues a lovely new trend in K-pop of incorporating diverse extras within MVs in a way that feels natural rather than gimmicky.
“Icy” has a sing-song chanting style over a funky bassline that borders on bratty and juvenile, a potentially fatal fallback that is instead balanced by Itzy’s charming visuals and strong, sassy dance moves. All five members are styled impeccably and have mastered their “Icy” stone-cold stares. Well, more like four, as maknae Yuna provides a lovely foil for the others’ girl crush fierceness with her constantly sunny disposition.
The styling in the MV does a decent job of distinguishing the members as individuals, smartly giving them unique outfits and sets that mirror their personalities and roles in the group. Unfortunately, while Yuna is painted as the bubbly center and Chaeryeong as the sweet dancer, there is insufficient distinction between the cool façades of Yeji, Lia, and Ryujin for newcomer fans to catch on to.
While fans ultimately love members of their favorite groups for the multiple facets of their personality and talent, having an easily identifiable role like the powerhouse singer, the protective group parent, or the clumsy goofball helps viewers remember them, relate to them, and ultimately become their fans. Yeji is stunning but her defining trait in the video is edgy hair, while Lia could only perhaps be characterized as the comparatively posh one because of her gown.
Like “Dalla Dalla,” “Icy” includes impactful choreography moments and a long dance break for the powerhouse performers to show off their biggest strength. There are smart key moves that correspond to the song’s killing parts, such as the “I see that I’m icy” face framing pose, the “blah blah” mouth motion at the beginning of the chorus, and the simple hand talking motion that corresponds with the line, “They keep talking, I keep walking.”
In the dance break, the choreography makes dynamic use of pace, contrast, and levels, with the girls dropping their legs wide into almost-splits and doing some double-time hip-hop hits that segue into feminine arm flourishes.
The choreography segments of the MV are confined to the choruses, breakdown and outro, but the moments shown convey a majority of the moves. The dance sections of the MV do include plenty of cuts between group and close-up shots, sets, and outfits, but they are so seamless that it does not feel choppy. More importantly, the cuts do nog obscure Itzy’s dance talent.
Sometimes heavy use of cuts is meant to hide weak dancing, and other times it is used because choreography is hardly the focus of the MV. “Icy” knows precisely which moments best stand alone in a wide shot, such as when the members line up and shuffle kick forward in the chorus.
The MV ends with the ladies in the office board room, hitting moves while papers fly in slow motion around them. Their final pose mimics the moment they crowned themselves at the end of “Dalla Dalla.” The members are in the same positions, but this time, they place the symbolic crowns on each other.
This visual signature has gone through an evolution, much like how the sound they debuted with in “Dalla Dalla” has been honed. As a song, “Icy” might be as polarizing for K-pop fans as its predecessor, but its MV spotlights the group’s strengths and successfully builds upon the brand that Itzy is carving out as a group.
(Youtube. Images via JYP Entertainment.)