A few days ago it was announced that (G)I-DLE would be making its English-language debut under 88rising with the album HEAT and their single “I DO“. While these advancements are understandably met with skepticism based on track record, they have been improving in recent years, and this represents something of a continuance of that.
In a bit of a switch-up, their sound in English is much more palatable than their recent couple of Korean efforts, coming in with a vocal-focused 80s synth-pop song that seem more in line with Yuqi‘s solo releases (who shines here as well) than the brash (and somewhat messy) girl crush stuff. The inevitable critique will be that it’s basic or generic, which wouldn’t be wrong, but it’s not an inherently bad thing if the the execution is on point. If you were a big fan of (G)I-DLE’s recent sound, then this direct and simplistic track might seem like a downgrade, but to me the girls have always been at their best when the members are carrying a darker and straightforward release with their performance, so trying to replicate that isn’t the worst idea in the world.
That said, the vocals, in terms of both the performances and the mixing, are a bit uneven here. While some members like Yuqi (not to sound like an akgae, but literally just listen) and Minnie sound right at home, others almost sound drowned out by smoothing and corrections. Still, as a unit they do well to convey the emotional and bittersweet love story taking place in the music video, and provide appropriate drama to the sweeping melody of the chorus.
Overall, it’s a solid and enjoyable start to their upcoming English-language album, but it indeed does sound like a pre-release, surprisingly lacking the vocal explosion at the close that it seems to deserve (again, give to Yuqi). The lack of ambition on “I DO” oddly relegates itself to the territory of a rich man’s vibey intro, as even the fade-out just lets things linger as if something else bigger and better is coming down the pipe, and I certainly hope it does.