Fused from the words “rise” and “realize”, RIIZE is the name currently on everyone’s lips in K-Pop. It’s not easy to stand out these days in the industry, but RIIZE came breezily rolling in on skateboards with apparent confidence, and the credentials to back it up. The promising lineup consists of a golden seven who each possess their own specialties: Shotaro is an acclaimed dancer who, prior to joining the company, had gained a decent TikTok following where he uploaded dance covers, Sungchan established himself as a skilled rapper during his time in NCT, and Sohee appears in a myriad of pre-debut videos online showcasing his well rounded voice. The group has received an abundance of attention already, due to the high expectations that come from debuting under label SM Entertainment, as well as members Shotaro and Sungchan already having their own huge fan bases thanks to being former members of NCT. As the boys kick off this new beginning, they’re doing so with bags of talent and charisma.
Debut single “Get A Guitar” is light in composition, heavy in funk, and weightless in tone. Starting with the line, ‘If you want something to play with get a guitar’, the song carries you into its zone with finger snaps and groovy guitar strums. It’s void of any need for deeper interpretation; the lyrics are as simple as its sound, and RIIZE are doing nothing more than beckoning the listener to have some fun with them. In the official music video, the septet are shown in colours saturated oranges and blues, while skating on electric guitars, and the song reaches its maximum level of funk when during the interlude Wonbin breaks out on a small stage (complete with mirrored walls) to flaunt his guitar skills.
The single was paired with their pre-debut release “Memories”, a faster-paced, sentimental track about celebrating the past, seizing the moment, and gleefully running towards a positive future. The song experiences an abrupt switch in tone during which Sungchan and Shotaro get to show off the rapping we were all waiting for, before it picks up again and we ride along towards one last uplifting chorus.
With only two songs and a fiery performance video for an unreleased track, we can safely say RIIZE are living up to expectations while leaving the listeners yearning for more. There’s much mystery around where they’re going next in sound and concept in these early days of their run, but “Get A Guitar” is an effortless strong start that’ll keep fans grooving for weeks. So far, so good.