On and Off Campus Blog: Your brain on Kpop

February 9, 2024

By Hailey Jiang ‘26

Picture this: It’s September 24th, 2021. You wake up, and as any teenager does,
immediately go on your phone. You find that one of the most popular Kpop groups, Itzy,
has released their first full album, “Crazy in Love,” along with the music video of the
album’s title track: “LOCO.”

If you’ve talked to me for more than five minutes, you know that I love Kpop. My
favorite group? Itzy. So, one can imagine how overjoyed 14-year-old Hailey was when
she found out Itzy was releasing their first full album. Now, as a Kpop “stan” of almost
five years, I can say with absolute confidence that “Crazy in Love” is Itzy’s best album, if
not the best album in the whole industry.

One thing to know about Kpop: it’s all about the concept. From cutesy bubblegum pop to
dark and edgy rock, this industry has it all. Itzy debuted in 2019 with a quirky “self-love”
concept. Their first two comebacks, “Icy” and “Wannabe” followed this concept. Their
next two releases, however, moved away from this and leaned toward this standard girl
crush. “Crazy in Love” was a call to their roots: it brought back the fun, bright colors that
Itzy was known for, while still showing their mature side. While the core concept of this
album is the hackneyed idea of romantic love, “Crazy in Love” puts a new and fresh twist
on it in a way that screams “Itzy.”

The album itself consists of 16 tracks, six of which are instrumentals and one of which is
an English version of “Loco.” The eight B-sides (songs that aren’t the title track) are as
follows: “SWIPE,” “Sooo Lucky,” “#Twenty,” “B[OO]M – BOX,” “Gas Me Up,” “Love
is,” “Chillin’ Chillin’,” and “Mirror.” They are divided evenly between quick, rap-based
songs and calmer, melodic songs. The songs are relaxed (“We be chillin’ chillin’ all
day”) while incorporating fun, quirky elements (“Make something crazy crazy”). Its
release at the end of September matches the vibe of the album exactly. “Crazy in Love” is
the last vestige of summer the autumn wind can’t blow away; it is the dreamlike
memories of summer love and teenage adventures.

Why is this album my favorite? Other than the fact it’s perfect and every song is a
musical masterpiece, there must be another reason behind my crazy obsession. Surely
there is something other than the Korean lyrics I don’t understand that draws me into this

According to Daniel J. Levitin in the book This is Your Brain on Music, “Much of one’s
lifelong preference comes from the music to which they were exposed during their
teenage years. Especially around the age of fourteen, many of one’s experiences are
emotionally charged, and the music present at that part of your life is ‘tagged’ as
emotionally important.”

I like to say the album was my 14th birthday present, as I turned 14 three days before
“LOCO” was released. The album has been with me through thick and thin, from middle
school to high school, from 14 to 16. Hidden in the fast-paced raps of “#Twenty” are the
sounds of me running my first cross country race. The metronomic beat of “LOCO”
matches how fast my heart was beating when I won first place in a figure skating
competition. Every time I listen to “Sooo Lucky,” I can hear my screams of joy from the
day I was accepted into BB&N.

So, why do I love this album so much? Itzy’s first album is not just the album that came
out when I was 14, it is the pivotal moments of my life woven together into harmonious
melodies and fast paced choruses. It is my life story, a symphony of memories, waiting to
be played and heard by the world.

Meet the student authors of the On and Off Campus blog!