The Student News Site of Columbia Heights High School

The Heights Herald

The Student News Site of Columbia Heights High School

The Heights Herald

The Student News Site of Columbia Heights High School

The Heights Herald

New K-pop boy band RIIZE-es to stardom

Skylen Raleigh
Fans of “RIIZE” point to the sky, rising up, matching the musical group’s theme and aesthetic.

New SM Entertainment group RIIZE (pronounced “rise”) finally made their debut on September 3 with their funky single “Get a Guitar”, stunning many fans of Korean pop (K-pop) music and establishing both a name and career for themselves.

SM Entertainment has been a highly influential K-pop record label since the beginning of the genre’s rise to fame. Getting their start in 1995 by record producer Lee Soo-man, SM broke into the industry with their unique casting, training, producing and managing strategies. Referring to this system as “culture technology,” Lee and his SM team have debuted many well-known and record-breaking K-pop supergroups over the years such as Girls Generation, SHINee and EXO, all of whose influence has earned SM the nickname “The Fathers of K-pop.” 

Starting off as an already successful rookie boy group, RIIZE was officially announced by SM Entertainment on July 31. They were introduced to the public as an extraordinarily talented and visual group that together would create a “real-time odyssey,” meaning each member would share their journey of achieving their dreams with devoted fans. This specific but meaningful detail of the group is highlighted in the group name: RIIZE is a combination of the words “rise” and “realize,” brought together to signify how the group will rise together to realize their dreams. RIIZE has been referred to as “emotional pop” by SM Entertainment. 

“It is a unique music style that will express RIIZE’s own emotions,” production chief Lee Sang-min said in an interview on the group’s YouTube channel.

RIIZE has been hotly anticipated by K-pop devotees for a while. It has been nearly three years since the debut of SM’s most recent K-pop girl group Aespa, and over seven years since the original debut of SM’s most recent boy group NCT. It’s safe to say that fans of the entertainment company have been eagerly awaiting a new debut announcement and can’t wait to hear more of RIIZE’s music.

Another reason why an abundance of fans have been on the edge of their seats waiting for the debut of RIIZE is because of their connections to the formerly mentioned K-pop boy group NCT. In October 2020, current RIIZE members Sungchan and Shotaro debuted in NCT U, a subunit within the group. They sang on the albums “Resonance Pt. 1” and “Resonance Pt. 2” but later faded into the background as other group members took the spotlight. 

As the years went on, many unhappy fans showed concern with their lack of group activity. In November 2022, fans finally got what they wanted with the announcement of the reality TV show “Welcome to NCT Universe”. In this televised competition program, Shotaro and Sungchan would guide and teach three new rookies (Eunseok, Shohei and Seunghan) in hopes that they would join NCT. But in May, it was announced that Shohei was experiencing debilitating health issues and because of this, the rookies were no longer set to debut in NCT but would continue working under SM Entertainment. 

Shortly after, both Sungchan and Shotaro met a similar fate and left NCT to pursue other activities under SM Entertainment. In July it was announced that Sungchan, Shotaro, Eunseok and Seunghan were going to debut in a new group with three new rookies; this group was later revealed to be RIIZE. Needless to say, many fans were excited to hear the debut of this new group with members from NCT.

On August 8, RIIZE uploaded a performance video for the unreleased song “Siren” on SM Entertainment’s YouTube channel. A modern, energetic, hip-hop-inspired song published with the purpose of showing off the members’ skills as singers and rappers, it greatly increased the hype surrounding the debut. 

RIIZE then uploaded a music video for their pre-release track “Memories” on August 21 with the same intention of promoting their debut. An upbeat and fun pop song that utilizes a synthesizer and guitar sounds to give the song a nostalgic vibe, the track embodies a personal meaning to the group that “Siren” doesn’t. The lyrics of the song are set to a similar tone as the backing track while the singers recall their childhood dreams, expressing an ambitious desire for future challenges and experiences. The song also highlights themes of shared experiences and unity amongst the members of the group, crystallizing the band’s true colors, backgrounds and personalities. 

On September 4, RIIZE finally released their music video for their debut single “Get a Guitar”. Much like “Memories”, this song uses a synthesizer and guitar sounds creating a funky retro vibe. The lyrics convey themes of teamwork, togetherness and reaching their dreams through sheer ambition. This debut performed amazingly in numerous aspects. The music video is currently sitting at over 31 million streams on YouTube, with the physical copy of the single album receiving over 1 million pre-orders (setting a new record in SM Entertainment) and reaching the #2 spot on the Korean charts and #6 in Japan. Overall, it seems the debut was enjoyed by people all over the world, even right here at Columbia Heights High School (CHHS)! 

“It feels very familiar like it has a similar vibe as old school boy bands,” Kendra Deittering (10) said. “It’s very nostalgic.”

So where is RIIZE going from here? In a recent showcase with their producers, it was revealed that they are planning to release one more single later this year as well as a supposed new album in the first quarter of next year. Since then, the band has released “Talk Saxy”, a non-album single with a vibe different from anything we’ve seen from the group before. It was very well received by fans, reaching #1 on the iTunes charts in many different regions of the world. 

In short, RIIZE has had a very successful debut that has reached audiences globally. Their notable concepts and nostalgic sound have reeled in many fans and have earned them a spot as one of the leaders of 5th-generation K-pop. Make sure to check out “Get a Guitar”, now streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and everywhere else you listen to music!

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About the Contributor
Skylen Raleigh, Staff Writer

Skylen Raleigh is a sophomore at CHHS and it is his first year as a writer for he Heights Herald. Skylen is also a dedicated member of CHHS's student council, Key Club, Speech team and more! Outside of class, he spends most of his time listening to music, watching movies or spending time with friends and family.