Album Review – SUPER REAL ME

SUPER REAL ME by ILLIT – Album Review

By Tifa Nguyen

Hybe is back at it again with another girl group debut where every member, performance video, and skillfully crafted fan edit made by a chronically online teenage girl who should’ve put that effort into her failing Geometry grade, has somehow found its way all over my social media feed.  

This new group is called “ILLIT”. Every new group that has debuted in the past 2 years seems to possess a name that is in all-caps and sounds like a self-insert Evangelion mech robot OC.  

ILLIT is an all-girl group consisting of 5 members who were all chosen through a 2023 survival reality show called R U Next?. They are also Hybe’s 3rd girl group to debut following Le Sserafim and New Jeans.  

They recently released their debut EP, or “mini album” titled SUPER REAL ME after receiving overall positive reactions towards the little sneak peek snippets to their song “Magnetic” all over social media. The song hadn’t even been released yet and I already saw an influx of edits being made to it.  

Admittedly, when I first saw the clips for their hit song “Magnetic” floating around in my media bubble I thought it was simply another New Jeans song. Many netizens commented on the resemblance of ILLIT’s debut to New Jeans’ “Attention” debut back in 2022. Both groups look eerily similar because the members are hard to distinguish from each other due to all of them rocking the same natural, long, straight, dark hair that stays unstyled during performances.  

Despite visuals playing a big role in the whole operation of a girl group debut, at its core, a girl group is supposed to release music that people can enjoy. Let’s delve into that…  

 “My World”, the first song on ILLIT’s debut EP opens with a brief ethereal introduction and then cuts to the actual song. Admittedly if the introduction was a little bit longer and someone played the song for me, I would’ve wholeheartedly believed it was a Mid-Air Thief song.  

I heavily enjoyed the funky bass that flows throughout the whole song, but overall, the lyrics and general theme of the song were just kind of lacking for me. It was giving very much “hehe i’m a teenage girl living in a world 😛” vibes and at this point, that’s become an overplayed theme. If you are going to release a song with a theme that’s been beat to death so many times, in order for it to succeed you have to take it and spin it in a refreshing way.  

Unfortunately, I did not see any of that come through for ILLIT in “My World”.  

The second song on the EP “Magnetic” is by far the most viral song and it is not hard to notice when it has nearly triple the number of streams compared to every other song on the project. I disliked the little intro at the beginning of the song, because I felt as though it was unneeded and would make the song less embarrassing to play in a car full of people if it was taken out. It also just reminded me of every “up-and-coming” Vietnamese Pop artist’s song where they put a small message in the beginning in a fake voice before the actual song starts and then there are 2 minutes of heavily slurred Vietnamese with no tonal accents, so the song is incomprehensible.  

Going back to “Magnetic”; I heavily enjoy the little ethereal techno arpeggios that lace through the whole track. The lyrics are also very surface level, but it’s okay for this song compared to “My World” because the production of “Magnetic” is more refreshing and overall better.  

It is very obvious that this song was written with the intention of going viral on TikTok though. You can hear it with the synth choices and how almost every “viral” TikTok song that has been produced by a smaller artist in the past 2 years. I am unsure if there is an official name for the sound, but all I can describe it as simliar to the lead piano sound that is prevalent in the song ‘bounce (i just wanna dance)’ by фрози and joyful.  

I also thought that the New Jersey remix bed squeak sound effect near the end was a funny touch. I wonder if K-pop songs will ever start artificially putting in the sound of a fire alarm needing its battery changed into the background of songs anytime soon.  

The 3rd song on the EP is called “Midnight Fiction” and just isn’t really notable to me. It reminds me of when you have to do a 10-slide presentation, but you only have 8 slides done so you just end up putting in 2 slides of nothing but large photos so that you can hit that quota. I do enjoy the lyrics however- I love a good song about sleeping. 

The last song on the EP is called “Lucky Girl Syndrome”, and while I do enjoy the song a lot with its fun bass line, it kind of sounds like a reject tripleS song. It just feels as though this song was originally written for other groups but was rejected and ended up falling into ILLIT’s lap.  

Overall, the most notable songs from SUPER REAL ME were “Magnetic” and “Lucky Girl Syndrome” but heavy emphasis on the former.  

Although I wasn’t really a big fan of the EP as a whole, I can see big things coming from this group and am excited to see where ILLIT will go.  

The EP is an extremely short listen with a run time of about 9.5 minutes, so if you have about 9.5 minutes of your life to spare I would kind of, maybe recommend you go listen to SUPER REAL ME. If you only have 5 minutes to spare though, stick with “Magnetic” and “Lucky Girl Syndrome”.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.