With their contracts expiring next spring, IZ*ONE have delivered three Korean comebacks this year. They’ve been active in Japan as well, but I think it’s best to just brush that single under the rug. Instead, we have Panorama – a track that harnesses the energetic IZ*ONE sound we’ve all come to know. It slots nicely within their discography, and slightly improves upon this spring’s polarizing Secret Story of the Swan. Yet as a whole, the song is an exhausting listen.
Panorama bounds forward on a propulsive dance beat, melded with aggressive synths and sprightly bass. There’s a lot going on in this instrumental, giving it plenty of momentum. And, there are a few moments of brilliance. I love the wash of synths that takes over the post-chorus refrain. But with so much stuffed into the production, Panorama needed one iconic riff to really cut through and distinguish itself. The song tends to thud when it should dance – an issue I often have with many harder-edged boy group tracks. To be clear, Panorama is no “harder-edged boy group track.” But, it harbors some of the same setbacks in its own way.
Just as a strong instrumental hook might have benefited the song, a killer melody is vital here. The closest we get is the chirpy “panorama” hook, and most listeners will probably come away with that phrase ratting around in their head. But in between, there’s far too much aimless sing-talk, and it’s all performed in a loud, strained manner. This, along with the overstuffed instrumental, forges a track that’s bombastic in the most frustrating way. Panorama certainly isn’t bad, but it could do with more focus and some judicious editing.