2020 has proven to be an eventful year so, without a doubt. But since we are at the halfway mark already, let’s have a little reflection post on the last 6 months. In no particular order, here are 10 of my personal favourite KPOP releases since the start of 2020. I have also added some of my favourite sidetracks that I have encountered so far in the year as part of my top 10. This is also irrespective of my reviews and Weekly KPOP charts posts.
Apologies for the random publishing dates for these album reviews. I expect all my reviews to normalize back to the usual days in the coming weeks.
GFriend have returned and took the past week by storm by taking the top spots of the Weekly Music Shows with their most recent comeback, Crossroads. Today, I will be looking at the rest of their album which is titled Labyrinth. Within the review, you will notice that they experiment with their sounds but stay relatively safe for their title track. More on that very soon (literally as part of the review of the first song on album). But I find that very interesting. Let’s see where their side tracks sit relative to the title track, Crossroads.
1. Labyrinth – In my Crossroads review, I mentioned that the group’s sound is becoming a little too consistent and this might be an issue if they were to keep to the same sound for their future releases. If we were to get a change in sound from GFriend, something like Labyrinth would be amazing. The start of the song reminded me of Fingertip, a previous title track of theirs. I really like the melodies in this song. Paired with a funky techno-like dance beat, the song is a great opener and track from the ladies, overall. All of this helps make the song extremely addictive and I keep on coming back for more. It is okay for GFriend to keep some of their influences in the track, as they did with the electric guitar during the bridge of Labyrinth. (10/10)
2. Crossroads (교차로) (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for Crossroads. (7/10)
3. Here We Are – The verses in this song were very unimpressive. It was a pretty bland start and I was wanting to pass the song the first few times I was listening to the album. But it until the song starts building up during the pre-chorus that the song has a kick to it. And the kick delivered a pretty solid chorus full of harmonies and melodies that highlights the best of the group’s vocals. I find it a very wholesome song, where the group longs to return to the best moment of their past or dwindling relationship. The bridge brings out a new sound that we haven’t heard from the group, opting for a slight anthem-like vibe. (8/10)
4. Eclipse (지금 만나러 갑니다) – Here is another good change to the group’s sound. This one would be considered to be in more familiar territory, as it retains the group’s classical instrumentation. But they seem to add a little Latin influence into the mix. There were also moments that I thought the song had a ‘diva-like’ vibe to the song, which I would love to hear the group explore more. Regardless of the slight touch add to the song, I thought the energy coming from the track was very encapsulated. There was a rush to the song but it wasn’t necessary a rush that we would associate with in this era. The vocal work is quite nice in the song, even though it seems a little linear for the most part (Yuju helped recover this at the end, but I would have liked to hear more character throughout). (9/10)
5. Dreamcatcher – Dreamcatcher is a very soothing song, suitable for a song about dreams and how their partner/crush is recurring in them. I don’t think this is very new territory for the group, as there is an ongoing trend on this album regarding ‘new sounds’. The way the group does perform the song do give is a refreshing feel. Their vocals are also very delicate, which makes sense regarding the theme of the song, and I thought the song had really good hooks/melodies to help drive the song and make it even more appealing. (8/10)
6. From Me – The final song on the album is a ballad. No surprises there, as this is commonly the place for the ballad of the song. The way the song started, I thought that there was a chance that the song would not be a ballad given the heavy thumping beat. But the song develops in that direction regardless. One thing that does make this song very appealing to me is its acoustic guitar that builds on and on as the song progresses. I thought that was very cool. Their vocals shine in this song, as you would want with a ballad and I think their vocals get even better towards the end. So, it is another song to listen through all the way! (8.5/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.4/10
GFriend also made their comeback yesterday with Crossroads. Unfortunately I ran out of time to review it yesterday. But here is the review now, better late than never. This is a major comeback for the group, as this is the first comeback by the group since Source Music (their company) was acquired by Big Hit Entertainment (the home of BTS and TXT). According to Wikipedia, this isn’t the first time that both companies had paired up with one another, as they previously both partnered to form GLAM and are currently co-managing 8EIGHT (who were confirmed to be returning quite soon).
You would expect that with a ‘change’ in management such as the one outlined in the above paragraph, the group would have faced some sort of transformation. But that isn’t the case. The group retained that sound that we got from Time Is The Moon Night and Sunrise. And while I have enjoyed that sound greatly when it was released, it is slowly becoming a bore and I think that might be the consensus this time around. The string-dominant instrumentation feels like a copy of the previous songs. However, Crossroads did incorporate a little more with faint woodblock like sounds, feature another explosive chorus and the presence of electric guitar at the end felt like it was ‘in-your-face’, which surprisingly was what I had wanted a few comebacks back. All of these did help the song feel new. But I just wished they went an entirely different direction when it came to the ‘main body’ of the song. Vocally, I felt that it was good. It didn’t have much epicness to it as compared to Sunrise (Eunha’s high note still gets me). But I did thoroughly enjoy that brief milli-second pause just before the final chorus, which capped the song in a unique fashion. Overall, it was okay. Just not what I had expected.
One line stood out to me in the song. “Even if you pass by me, I will find you. Then I’ll reach out again to you“, which essentially is all about returning to one another despite difficulties. In the music video, we are shown a whole bunch of scenes where the members fight. And it seems like the fights are very hurtful. For example, Umji and Yuju have a massive fight at home. A few scenes later, Umji wants to make up with Yuju, but Yuju rejects this, showing us the extent of this fight. At the end, we do get to see the members come together and enjoy their time with one another, which I assume shows us that they all made up after finding their way back to one another. That is the story line that I managed to get after watching the video a couple of time and may have missed on important details (i.e. Eunha’s introductory doesn’t really fit into this category, but may link up with their previous videos possibly?). So let me know if I missed anything or what you think happened in the video!
Even the choreography reminds me of their previous comebacks. I do still like the elegant side of their performance and am glad that did carry over, as this is very fitting for this song style. I thought that both the start and the end of the performance looked really cool, especially with the speed at which the ending came hurling at.
Song – 7/10
Music Video – 8/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.5/10
After countless weeks of promises, here is the first of many Japanese music reviews to come in the following weeks.
GFriend is another one of those groups that have had a busy year. They kick-started 2019 with their Sunrise comeback, followed by their Japanese single, Flower, and their latest South Korean comeback, Fever. And just last week, the 6-members female group has returned to Japan once again this year with the release of their 1st studio length Japanese album, Fallin’ Lights. The main title track from this album shares the same name as the album Their Japanese releases have been great so far, so let’s see what GFriend has to show us this time!
Once again, GFriend returns with a dance track that is infused into classical instrumentation. This isn’t unexplored territory for the group. However, I would consider this a ‘return to form’ scenario as it felt pretty much like their earlier days. The only difference is that they have obviously matured and this comeback showcases this maturity. The only thing missing (that I would also argue that the tracked needed) was some sort of electric guitar riff during the final chorus to take it full circle and add to the classical aesthetics in a modern way. I felt the latter happen during the chorus, where they amped the chorus up with a beat that drew me into the song even more. Besides the instrumentation, the other aspect of the song is the vocals. Two members stood out for me, but that isn’t to say that the other four members were not exceptional as well. Umji’s filtered part that opened to the track and featured post-hook worked exceptionally well, giving the song some texture. I find how Yuju not going down the high note road to be quite smart. The song doesn’t build much and a typical high note would not really go well with the classical aesthetics that they have gone for in this song. This is definitely another standout Japanese track from GFriend!
Something that I try to do with the majority of the music video section of my reviews is look for a plotline or theory behind the video. Sometimes the story feels a little more obvious, other times I rely on theories that I can get my hands on to write up the review (could be too complicated or press for time). The latter happens to be the case this time around, so I have pinched (props to Nukimen) a theory from the YouTube comments sections that look like a lot of people are agreeing with or liking.
I have to say the video is rather plain this time around. I know I can’t really expect anything flashy after reading through that theory post (see above) as it tries to create a relatable connection to us by looking a lot more ‘normal’, I just feel that it could have used a little more work in the visual department.
The dance is very elegant, fitting with the mature sound that GFriend has opted for. I thought the formations and how they move about during the performance were really cool this time around. I wish that there was a dance version up, which I am sure will contain additional sections that are equally as elegant as what we have seen.
Song – 8.5/10
Music Video – 6/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 7.7/10
Making their comeback a few weeks now is GFriend, who returned at the start of July with Fever and Fever Season (their 7th mini-album). While I still stand by my comments regarding the comeback track, the group managed to score a number of wins on the weekly music shows with Fever since their return. Congratulations to the girls for these achievements. To explain why the album review is out a little later than usual, I had always planned to write an album review. Just my snap decision to focus on the solo artists bumped the review down the road. But here it is!
1..Fever (열대야) (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for Fever. (6/10)
2. Mr. Blue – Mr. Blue opens over a dance instrumental with violins incorporated as an interesting detail. I thought they were a nice addition to the song, adding an extra dimension to the dynamics of the dance instrumental. The track is quite upbeat and the instrumental also provides the song with some intensity. The vocals were quite good, blending in well. The track does have a typical feel about it. But despite that typical feel, I think Mr. Blue had more potential as a title track, as it felt more defined and had substance. (8/10)
3. Smile (여자친구) – Smile is another upbeat dance track to join the album that evokes a smile while listening to the song. But it isn’t the dance instrumental that does that. Instead, it is the vocals that make me smile. It is both cute and playful. I really like the higher-pitched vocals during the chorus, as they consolidate these cute and playful vibes, whilst adding to the catchy nature of the song (i.e. memorability). I also really like the dance break, with the electric guitar reminding me of their earlier dance breaks they promoted with. My favourite bit is Yuju’s ‘You know what meaning’ during the bridge. It is a short moment but damn, it stole my attention. (9/10)
4. Wish (바라) – Wish takes the exact pathway as the preceding tracks. The album is now starting to look repetitive and bland with what seems to be very similar tracks. Before moving onto the negatives of the track, I wish to point out some positives. Wish has nice vocals and a decent beat. This is all good, except for one major problem. It fails to stand out. While Mr. Blue had saxophone and Smile had a very catchy hook, Wish doesn’t have anything to really lift it out of the generic category. And since the track felt very similar music-wise to the tracks before it, Wish falls behind the rest of its counterparts. (6/10)
5. Paradise – Paradise takes more of a retro approach with its instrumental, which is different to what we have heard so far. I liked the bold start and thought the verses were well-presented. The hook they started off the song with was revisited throughout the track and it was quite decent. But the track is far from perfect. The chorus felt like there was a little too much going on. There seem to be a tad too many cymbals in the mix, which ends up drowning out the delicate vocals that they went with. It is an odd pairing in my point of view, as I stress that the combination just doesn’t work. (7/10)
6. Hope (기대) – If you wanted a track that brings you nostalgia, then Hope is a pretty good track to do exactly that. The entire track gives me those girl group vibes from the 2000s to early 2011s. The track also feels highly suitable for the group, as they seem to be the benchmark of that type of girl group nowadays. The track is quite soothing at times and yet it remains upbeat for the majority of the track. I also like the vocals, which takes a page out of the typical book. But I felt the consistency of the vocals was one of the song’s strong points. The instrumental was very pop and enjoyable, due to the nostalgia factor. (7/10)
7. Flower (Korean Version) – I have previously reviewed the Japanese version of Flower. Click here to read my review for Flower. (9/10)
Overall Album Rating – 7.4/10
As I have been mentioning over the past 2 weeks, I reflect over the 1st half of 2019 through two posts. The first post is the recap of the Number 1 songs from the Weekly KPOP Charts for the period between July 2018 to June 2019 and this was published last week. The second post is my pick for most favourite songs from the first half of the year. This is irrespective of the charts (or any charts for that matter) and reviews, as sometimes my favourite songs don’t reach the top. I have listed 10 songs below, in no particular order, which I believe represent the best of the best that 2019 has offered to us so far.
Boogie Up – WJSN (Cosmic Girls)
Q&A – Cherry Bullet
Woowa – DIA
Side Effects – Stray Kids
The Fifth Season (SSFWL) – Oh My Girl
Zimzalabim – Red Velvet
Valkirye – ONEUS
No – CLC
Sunrise – GFriend
L.O.V.E – Park Ji Hoon
I wanted to add a few more but think limiting myself to 10 would probably be best, otherwise, I’d be copying and pasting majority of 2019’s releases onto this page.
Do you agree with my picks? What about your favourite tracks of 2019 so far? Comment down below!
Over the last few years, a group that we cannot forget about in the season of Summer is GFriend. The group has had countless hits in Summer including Me Gusta Tu, Navillera, Love Whisper, Summer Rain and Sunny Summer. 2019 will be no exception for the group, with today’s release of Fever as their next Summer track. We previously saw the group through their promotions of Sunrise at the start of the year and their Flower promotions in Japan.
My review for Fever is going to be harsh but honest. Fever is not like any other GFriend title track. It actually takes a more conventional route, forgoing any sound had we have grown to incorporate with GFriend. But as disappointing as that might sound, it might be time GFriend tried to reinvent their Summer, given the not-so-successful releases of Summer Rain and Sunny Summer over the last two years. Personally, I found this track to be quite lacklustre. Fever takes on moombahton sound, which is still quite new territory for KPOP. And while we heard a few good tracks with this sound, GFriend’s approach didn’t have the energy to make it memorable. In fact, the energy felt quite weighted, preventing it from sparking like how other Summer releases do. While the vocal work was fine, there wasn’t any catchy hooks or melodies to draw my attention in. They placed a fair amount of emphasis on the chorus drop. But with the mentioned weighted nature from the energy, I don’t think they got anywhere. There are some benefits that did arise due to the music but I don’t think their discography was one of them.
I personally want to know what is going on in the video. There seems to be something to the use of the cactus, the way Yerin walked into the set at the start of the video, the girl’s gaze etc. Moving past the potential plotline, I did fail to mention one detail regarding the song that I was impressed with. The group went with a mature sound (which might be the reason why the song ended feeling weighed down) that ended being edgy in a very subtle manner. This isn’t entirely new with the group. But it looks like the girl’s concept and outfit managed to blend in well with the extra matureness you could hear while listening to the song.
One clear benefit from the bland music that I observed was the dancing. I thought the choreography was quite good, given the music that they had to use. While the energy wasn’t there musically, they did well executing the various dance moves. I thought the chorus looked cool and GFriend got to show off more of their dance side through this release.
Song – 6/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 6.7/10
It has been a while since we heard a collaboration. It seems like this isn’t going to be a recurring thing in 2019, based on the number of collaborations thus far in the year. However, we were provided with some relief with the release of Eunha and Ravi’s collaboration for Pepsi last week on the 11th of April. This is also the second year in a row that Pepsi has asked KPOP idols to come together for a collaboration, with YDPP and WJMK releasing two songs last year with Pepsi at the forefront of both videos.
Despite the visuals of the music video, Blossom is not necessarily that cutesy love song that you are looking for that companies have utilised in their campaigns. This style would obviously not suit Ravi, as per his husky vocals and usually hard-hitting rap style. Instead, Blossom is a subtle pop track with a lot of sweetness mixed into it to make it appropriate for Spring. I really like the rolling drum beats in the moments that the song is building up, which gave the song a sharp incline to the chorus. Other than that, the instrumental was rather light and calming. I also liked the whispering at the start of the chorus, which I thought was rather sleek. While we all know that Eunha is a vocalist (I really liked her in the first verse. The melody was also quite nice) but it was surprising to hear Ravi sing for his chorus and some of his verse. I also like how his rapping wasn’t as hard-hitting as based on his solo and VIXX works. Rather, it was well tweaked to fit the light nature of the song. It felt like I jumped around between different aspects for this part but overall, the song was quite nice.
Based on the video, cherry blossom season is in full swing. And the video takes full advantage of the pretty sights. The song ‘cheers on young people to achieve their dreams and also their pursuit for romance’ and we get to see those two sides in the video. Ravi is an aspiring artist, while Eunha is auditioning to be an idol. The two do face some hardships but manage to push through. And in the midst of their slumps, they meet each other and become interested. Some awkward meetups happen and they end up dating one another. And it is incredibly convenient that Pepsi sponsors their entire romance storyline. Hahaha…
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.6/10
It has been a while since I wrote Japanese review despite the influx of Japanese songs by Korean artists. I will try my best to get around to them (I hope). To re-kick things off (hopefully) is GFriend’s third Japanese single, Flower. For those who are wondering, Memoria was their first original Japanese track and first Japanese single, while the Japanese version of GFriend’s Sunrise (their Korean title track from earlier in the year) served as the second single.
Flower starts off miles away from a typical GFriend song. The song opens up with a very strong tango presence. And I quite like this. The song then loses this tango sound, evolving into something along the lines of GFriend that we know of. However, the tango comes back once more for the dance break, which I am so glad hangs around for a slightly longer period than any of their recent tracks (I am deprived of a long dance break from the girls). What makes this track even nicer is that while they do lose that tango sound, they manage to keep the momentum up with some orchestral pop and really keep things upbeat. I thought their vocals were quite refreshing and each member was extremely clear. So big ticks in that aspect. My favourite part has to be the second half of the chorus, as I found the ‘Piriririri’ and the ‘Surururu’ to be extremely addictive. I think the winning element has to be the instrumental but everything else was pretty good as well.
The music video featured a lot of nice colours. It was very vibrant and really matched the upbeat vibes of the song. The comments on the YouTube video also suggests that some of thr patterns and the fabrics are from other countries and cultures. So to think that this is a very multicultural music video makes me very happy. As the song titled Flower, flowers themselves also make a presence in this music video. The best flower in the entire video has to be the flower mural in the background of the choreography shots!! Overall, a nice video to watch with the song.
I also really like the choreography. Of course, the winning part has to be during the start and dance break (i.e. when there was some tango in the song) but the chorus dance was equally as pretty.
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10
The album review is for today is on schedule!! Woo!! Today’s album review is focused on GFriend’s latest release, Time For Us. The group made their comeback last week with the title track of their 2nd studio album, Sunrise. The new album also features the Korean version of the group’s latest Japanese single, Memoria. There is a fair bit to get through, so let’s get cracking!
1..Sunrise (해야) (Title Track) – Click here for the full review of Sunrise. (9/10)
2. You Are Not Alone – I personally think this track could have been a potential contender for the title track. It is quite up to par with Sunrise when you think about it. It is vocally driven, and the instrumental adds a dynamic dimension to the song. I really like the rock elements in it, despite it being what I would consider a relatively pleasant sound. Together, there is a very interesting depth to the song, which makes the song very interesting. Those ad-libs at the end are phenomenal and its melody was a standout. All of this contributes to the album’s first perfect score. (10/10)
3. L.U.V (기적을 넘어) – There were certain moments of the song that I quite liked. And then there were moments that I thought the song was a little too typical. The verses are an example of the great parts. They featured this hip-hop vibe in, which I thought was a unique touch as it doesn’t really conform to a lot of their previous work. The rapping was my highlight for the song, basically for the exact reasons mentioned. The chorus was my pick for the typical moment. Following the verse, the chorus took a very melodic route that I thought was rather safe and didn’t really carry the same vibes over. (7/10)
4. GLOW (만화경) – GLOW, to me, does what the title suggests. The song does glow extremely brightly with its cute voices for the chorus and an instrumental that does pop out. Throw in a catchy melody and you pretty much have a winning formula. I find the song suitable for all climates as it showcases a warming vibe for the colder months but also a refreshing vibe for the hotter months. The only thing that does let me down is the sudden ending. (9/10)
5. Our Secret (비밀 이야기) – Opening up Our Secret is a very addictive high pitch whistle synth, which I really like. It pulled me into the song straight away. The vocals were quite nice, giving the song a lot of different appealing factors to really grab onto. The chorus itself felt fun and energetic (in a subtle way), which was another element that I liked about the song. Altogether, the song was a gem itself, earning the album’s second perfect score. (10/10)
6. Only 1 –Only 1 doesn’t offer much within the verses. It felt rather typical and didn’t stand out. The first half of the chorus also shared the exact same feeling. But it is the second half of the chorus that really draws my attention to the song, as there was a choppy effect that I have never heard of before. While this does sound rather messy, it works extremely well and felt just right for this song. I thought the instrumental was nice, especially around the bridge of the song. (7/10)
7. Truly Love – Truly Love brings back the cutesy sound in their voices and this gives the song a sweet vibe, which I thought was rather pretty. The song also allows for the focus to be on the vocals with its minimal instrumentation. I like the chorus of the song. It isn’t as strong as their previous tracks on the album, but it was rather pleasant. The instrumental was also another likeable element to the song but I am not really sure how to describe it. (8/10)
8. Show Up (보호색) – Show Up has this aesthetically pleasing vibe surrounding some bits of the song, which I find to be quite interesting. It is the rap-speaking verses that I find very intriguing as it isn’t something you hear all too often, especially from GFriend. Unfortunately, the rest of the song felt like a standard pop song, losing that unique touch. The only other memorable part is the second half of the chorus, which was quite memorable. Everything else just didn’t really felt appealing. (7.5/10)
9. It’s You (겨울, 끝) – It’s You is a good song but it isn’t their best. It is another passable song on the tracklist as there really isn’t much development to the song, where stillness might be its biggest charm. But as a result, the song doesn’t become appealing due to its lack of momentum. I did like the soft R&B style that they went for and there was a slight warming touch, thanks to their vocals. (7/10)
10. A Starry Sky – A Starry Sky is a soft pop ballad that showcases the best of the member’s vocals. The instrumental is very calming and soothing. The harmonies were equally as nice. And like most ballads that I enjoy, there is a slight swaying effect to this song. But that is basically it to the song. To me, there really isn’t much else to discuss regarding the song. (7.5/10)
11. Love Oh Love – Love Oh Love takes me back to their debut days. The song just gives off those vibes and I thought was rather cool. There also seems to be a girl group retro influence in the instrumental of the song. I thought the vocals were amazing in this song and managed to give a pretty and freshening characteristic to the song. I like the chorus for its pack of energy and catchiness. I also really liked the ending of the song. (9/10)
12. Memoria (Korean Version) – I previously reviewed the Japanese version of Memoria. Click here to read the full review of Memoria. (9/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8.3/10
Here is a ‘Sunrise’ that you do not need to wake up early to be able to experience. Today, GFriend made their comeback with Sunrise, the title track off their second studio album, Time For Us. This is the group’s first Korean comeback since Sunny Summer and their first release since the group made their Japanese debut with Memoria and Time For The Moon Night.
I think the major attraction for the Sunrise title track is the vocals. Despite it having GFriend’s signature sound, the song focuses squarely on the vocals of each member. No one sounds overshadowed and stands out all in their own way. But the biggest highlight for the song comes at the very end when they pull off high note after high note to give the song that spectacular climax and ending. Normally Yuju handles these notes but this time around we see Eunha take the reigns. I personally like that rush of energy we get at the end of the song, which really makes the song feel suspenseful at the end and this obviously would go well with the vocals. I also liked how they put the instrumental break at the end of the song, rather than earlier (as this would have made them out of breath for the rest of the song and this could potentially ruin a live performance). I also found the chorus to be extremely catchy. Overall, another great song from the female group.
Based on some of the images we see in the music video, it seems like the music videos for Sunrise and Time For The Moon Night are connected. To quickly recap, we found out that Eunha had died at the end of the latter’s music video (as opposed to my original theory) and that she could only be seen during the night. In Sunrise, we see a lot more scenes during the start of the day. Prior to the Sunrise, the members could see Eunha freely but once Sunrise occurs, she disappears (whilst also taking a chunk of cake). This barrier upsets the members and it seems like they all end up dying to be with Eunha (i.e. they all reunite during the day at the piano which Eunha is playing at). Putting the stories together, I see how well thought out all of this was and I really like that. I also liked the visuals of the members throughout this video.
There seems to be a cutesy element mixed into the performance, which I quite liked. I also really like the elegant lift of Yuju at the first chorus. I also liked the pre-chorus movement, as that looked quite cool. And per usual, the dance break at the end was awesome, sealing the deal as another amazing GFriend dance.
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 9/10
I am going to take deviate away from ROOKIE WEEK a little more and publish a review for a brand new release. It is the next song in the Station x 0 project which boasts collaborations such as Taeyeon & Melomance, Baekhyun & Loco and Chanyeol & Sehun. But this new release, Wow Thing, probably has the most powerful female lineup any collaboration has ever had. We have Seulgi from Red Velvet, SinB from GFriend, Kim Chungha and Soyeon from (G)I-DLE coming together, so be prepared!
I really like the feel of the song and its presentation. But it is one of those songs that I can’t really gather many thoughts for. The instrumental does set the scene up for the song but it doesn’t really drive the song. Instead, the song uses vocals. Very powerful vocals to drive the song forward and deliver us a very strong track. When they sing together for the chorus, I thought the atmosphere was amazing and very attitude-heavy. Before we go any further, let’s us to take a moment to appreciate Kim Chungha’s vocal abilities. Like how come I don’t know of this? Her solo work doesn’t let her vocals shine, as compared to this song. Soyeon’s rap was also equally as powerful. The is quite catchy and memorable for a number of reasons, some of which I have specified above.
The music video is your standard music video. Nothing too special about it. All four members are present for this collaboration music video, which I guess is a plus. I feel like they could have made this louder if I was int he director chair. I think that would have been more interesting and fun. Though I would have to keep it from going overboard, in order to fit the message of the song, which is about making a strong and confident first impression. The music video did feature some choreography during the chorus and bridge. All looked good and I felt like the attitude was channelled well through their dancing.
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 7/10
Overall Rating – 8.2/10
This is probably the fastest time I have ever done a review for a Japanese release from its release date. GFriend recently made their Japanese debut with their Korean hit Me Gustas Tu (the Japanese version, of course!) and now they have returned to Japan with their first original song, Memoria. While its music video and full song were released together on YouTube this week, it will officially be out in October. I personally do not know how the Japanese music industry work but since everything I need to write a review is available, let’s get stuck right into it.
Memoria is a little different from their previous Korean songs. Their Korean title tracks have been mostly upbeat and more youthful sounding. Memoria goes for a complete changeup, opting for a more emotional and mature sound while having a slower tempo. It is quite nice, the soothing nature of the song, making this very appeal for my taste. I do find the song somewhat a little too typical of some Japanese releases but that is a common case with most Japanese releases. What I really like about the song’s instrumentation is that while it was soothing and beautiful sounding, there was room for their signature electric guitars during the bridge/climax of the song, which is very GFriend. The vocals in this song are also excellent, as the slower nature allows for the vocals to be prioritised. Overall, their first original Japanese song is definitely one to remember.
I thought this was a very nice music video. The golden colour palette felt very fitting for the nature of the song. The music video seems to show the members struggling through their lives. I think the main point is that each member is lonely but I think injuries, body image, artistic block and other issues were touched upon. At the climax of the song/video, we see each member has a friend, while the other is sleeping, meaning that they still have a friend. Once the member sleeping wakes up, they realize this and starts running to each other, with the ending showing the regrouping of the members. It is definitely a good concept fitting for GFriend.
I thought the choreography was rather nice. We don’t get to see too much but what we could see seemed very graceful, which I think is fitting for the group’s image. I did like their purple outfits during the choreography scenes as they were rather striking.
Song – 9/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 8/10
Overall Rating – 8.8/10
Two weeks ago, GFriend made their Summer comeback with Sunny Summer. The song features on the mini-album of the same name. Interestingly, the mini-album is also marketed as the girl’s 1st Summer mini-album, which alludes to the fact that there may be more in the future, which definitely sound very interesting and super exciting. But today, we are here to delve a little more into their Sunny Summer mini-album, so let’s just do that!
1..Sunny Summer (여름 여름해) (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for Sunny Summer. (7.5/10)
2. Vacation – Fitting neatly into the Summer theme of the entire mini-album, the song starts off with sounds you would commonly associate with the beach. It develops into a very bright song and it is the type you expect to be the soundtrack of a holiday music video that KPOP does a fair share of. It is a catchy and lively song, especially with the cute way they spell out the word ‘Vacation’ at the end of the choruses. It also features nice vocals which makes it a very pleasing song. (7.5/10)
3. Sweety – Sweety has a pop sound but it features a very quirky instrumental that is full of various synths and effects that really make it different. These differences occur at varying tempos allowing for a different atmosphere to be present in almost every different section of the song. I must admit the chorus was a letdown, as I didn’t mind it that memorable/catchy. So the saving grace for this song was the instrumental. Vocals were good, overall. (7/10)
4. Windy Windy (바람 바람 바람) – Initially, the song started off with a soft sound but within seconds the song transformed into this upbeat sound. It did end up feeling like a typical pop song from a girl group but there was an unknown element that managed to make it one of the better songs on the album. I did like the melody of the song, but I found the chorus to be quite masked and mashed into the verse, which was a little confusing. Once again, I liked the vocals and really liked the transition between the bridge and final chorus of the song. (8/10)
5. Love In The Air – I think the girls saved the best for last. I really enjoyed how smooth the song was and how it managed to flow overall. There is a nice melody and the instrumental made the song feel promising. It became quite dynamic towards the end (with a number of synths/effects to give texture but maintaining that smooth element. The vocals also contributed to this smoothness, which made it quite memorable. (9/10)
Overall Album Rating – 7.8/10
Joining the Summer rush is GFRIEND with their summer track, Sunny Summer. The track is featured on their 7th mini-album which also shares the same name as the title track. This Summer comeback comes right after GFRIEND made their comeback in May of this year with Time For The Moon Night.
The first time I heard the song I thought it was a very mediocre song. There wasn’t any special with the song, going with a very normal pop-styled Summer instrumental. But with a few more listens, I find the song quite good in some aspects despite my initial thoughts remaining. The pre-chorus was a section of the song which I liked quite a bit and it did its job of hyping the song to the chorus quite well. The chorus was equally as good with the ‘Yeorum Yeorum Hae‘ entrance my favourite moments of the entire song. I also like how the song focuses more on their vocals this time around, allowing us to hear more of their talent. Other than that, the song didn’t really reach out and it failed to capture my attention. It is still a good song but not their best.
Despite being a fitting music video for the song, I find the idea of shooting a Summer video indoors quite unconvincing. And there have been many fantastic studio-shot Summer videos that looked quite good. Just I never had the opportunity to touch upon it. There is also a number of retro/olden day references throughout the video, like Eunha’s impersonation of the video, the quote at the very start of the video (seems to be Old English/Shakespearean-like) and the silent films’ way of telling us the sound in the video (‘Door. Bang’ at 1:48 of music video). I am not exactly sure of the context behind these shots but they must have some meaning!
Unlike all of GFRIEND’s title track performances, this one is a little more cutesy and lacks any dance break, which I look forward to in each comeback. Hence, I found it a little lacklustre. I did like the fanning during the chorus but other than that, it was an okay performance.
Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 7/10
Performance – 6/10
Overall Rating – 7.1/10
GFriend made their comeback a few weeks back with their 4th mini-album and their title track, which are both named Time For The Moon Night. While they have officially wrapped up their promotions already, it doesn’t mean I can’t give them an album review. So here it is! (Per usual, I did not talk about the intro track and the instrumental of the title track).
2. Time For The Moon Night (밤) (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review of Time For The Moon Night. (8/10)
3. Love Bug – To me, this is the hidden gem of the track list. I love the addictive nature of the song, which can be owed to its catchy chorus. The first half of the chorus featured vocals and the second half featured the ladies rapping, which isn’t something that you hear often when it comes to GFriend. And while the rapping does steal the show, there is awesome vocals, particularly in the second half of the song. The opening disk scratching effect is very misleading, despite the song falling towards a retro sound. I also liked the hollow metal drumbeats, which made the instrumental ear-catching. (9/10)
4. Flower Garden (휘리휘리) – Flower Garden takes on an orchestral sound, which gives way to a remarkable song with a few epic moments. If you have been following my site for a while now, you know I have a soft spot for songs with amazing orchestral instrumentation and I clearly fallen for this song. I liked the incorporation of the electric guitars in the bridge and the ending felt like a musical ending. All the vocals were amazing in this song. (9/10)
5. Tik Tik (틱틱) – It is another bright song that suits the group. There were retro vibes at the very start and the instrumental sequence at the end of the song, which I thought was great. But while it seems okay at first, the chorus takes a somewhat unexpected turn. While the song does flow well, it seems like the verses and the choruses were from different songs and smashed into the song. I have to give props to the production for making it work. Their vocal work is nice (but it isn’t their best on the album). (8/10)
6. Bye – This song serves as the ballad on the album. While the instrumental and vocals were nice, it wasn’t exactly the most exciting song on the album and was also the most skippable track. I did, however, think the harmonies and when all the members sung together were highlights for the song. (7/10)
7. You Are My Star (별) – Like in the previous track, I liked it when they all sang together for the chorus. The alternating vocal and rap lines were very strong moments of the track. The track did feel quite linear (which may be its one downfall) but the happiness and gracefulness in their vocals do make it up. Overall, it was a great ending to the album. (8/10)
Overall Album Rating – 8/10