Welcome back to the Past Album Review segment, where I look at an album from an earlier year. Today, I will be focusing on fromis_9’s second mini-album, To. Day, which features the title track, DKDK. The album was released back in June 2018 and did not feature Jang Gyuri as she was participating in Produce 48 at the time. The reason that I chose fromis_9 for an album review this time as it has been some time since we last heard from them (their most recent single was FUN!, which was released back in Summer of last year). Hopefully, we will hear news of a fromis_9 comeback soon. But in the meanwhile, here is an album review to suffice that fromis_9 desire.
1. Close To You (다가가고 싶어) – The album opens up with a short track. Not short as like an introductory track like on other albums, but it might be able to pass as one. As there are lyrics (the narration), instrumentals and the song goes for a much longer period than standard introductory tracks, I will be treating it as one. The members narrate some words about falling in love over extremely light and soft instrumentation. Their narration is actually quite sweet-sounding and works well with the soft instrumentation. I did have a read through the English translations, and everything came off as innocent and wholesome, suitable for the cutesy image that the group started off with. My only problem is that the start and end made it feel like a full-fledged song, so I was a little disappointed when there weren’t those usual elements standard to a song (i.e. vocals, melodies, hooks etc.). (5/10)
2. Think Of You (너를 따라, 너에게) – While I do like the pop sound of Think Of You, I find the vocals to not fit as snuggly into the song as I had hoped. Take the first pre-chorus, as an example. They tried to infuse some rapping into the song through a rap-sing delivery. They might have done this for a cute effect, but it just felt uncomfortable in my opinion. The same thing can be said about the bridge. The vocals felt confined or very narrow-minded with that cutesy concept. I felt that they could have thrown in some good high notes then to begin the wrap-up procedures. What I did like were the melodies during the chorus, which felt very Fromis_9-like to me (see their debut track and DKDK, below). I also thought the instrumentation was quite bright and nice, which really helped make the song appealing to me. I just wish the vocals were more refined and polished. (7/10)
3. DKDK (두근두근) (Title Track) – I originally gave this song a 7/10 ranking. Upon reconsideration and the amount of time has passed, I had decided to bump the song up by one ranking. Click here to read the original review for DKDK. (8/10)
4. 22Century Girl (22세기 소녀) – 22Century Girl feels like your typical KPOP track from a female group, but it leans somewhat away from that label. Firstly, I like the Summery vibes. It is very refreshing and fun listen. The instrumental has a lot of textures going on, thanks to the various sound effects that the producers had inserted. It makes the song interesting and less mundane than other tracks. The chorus surprisingly has fewer effects in comparison to the verses (or they were a lot more subtle to notice), making it sound relatively normal. This helps makes the song feel less noisy, which could have been the descriptor I used if they maintained the use of random textures throughout the chorus. I also like how their vocals help ground the song, yet they sound very bubbly and bright. And such, it makes the song appealing to listen to. (8/10)
5. Clover – Clover puts the group’s vocals into the limelight. All the members sounded really nice in this song. In particular, I really like the raspy nature of Jisun’s voice at the start of the song. Jisun alone caught my attention (good job Jisun!) and had me listening to the rest of the song. It is a sweet song, with a nice pop instrumental. There is a bit of guitar in the instrumental, alongside the synths that form a fair portion of the instrumental. I like the melodies. While they help create the feel of your typical KPOP track, they also give off a nostalgic feel, reminding me of some songs from earlier in the 2010 decade. And because of this, I will be revisiting the song often as it is now on my playlists. (10/10)
6. First Love – It seems like the song following DKDK on this album are superior, in my point of view, then the songs preceding the title track. First Love has the same effect. It is a strong upbeat number to end the album on a much more positive note than how the album started. Like in the previous song, First Love brings out some nostalgic vibes. I personally feel that this song could have been a dynamic number from APINK. I like how the instrumental has a bit of texture to it, thanks to the guitars. I also like the energy that the group brings to the song, thanks to their vocals and melodies. The hooks were catchy and fun. (8.5/10)
Overall Album Rating – 7.8/10