LOL is the first album released by GFRIEND. Navillera was used as the promotional track and was another big hit for the group. This is also their first release after their “school series” trilogy.
Released: July 11, 2016
2. Fall in Love (물들어요)
3. NAVILLERA (너 그리고 나)
5. Distance (한 뼘)
6. Water Flower (물꽃놀이)
8. Sunshine (나의 일기장)
9. Compas (나침반)
10. Click (찰칵)
11. Gone with the Wind (바람에 날려)
12. NAVILLERA (inst.)
I really like how the album opens. The intro is really fun and has a great beat to it that sort of shows how the album will go with a brighter sound. It’s quite cute.
Fall in Love opens in a beautiful way that focuses on the strings. I was hoping this would continue, but instead we get a bright pop tune. It’s not a bad song, just definitely on the more generic side. I think the thing that really gives it life are the strings that fly under the heavy beat and synths. The chorus isn’t particularly memorable in melody, but the music does help elevate the song a bit. The bridge is quite nice though.
NAVILLERA is an exhilarating pop tune with some with some dance elements. The strings are quite prominent here as well, but I feel like the music doesn’t overpower things and works really well with the energy of that the melody also builds. The pre-chorus is especially great for this as things start to build. The chorus brings a slight drop, but the melody is really catchy and I like that the hook isn’t overly repetitive.
I’m glad that the title track brings something a little different. Although it is another upbeat tune, there is a bit of an 80’s vibe to it with the synths in the instrumental portions. LOL has rather weak verses, but the chorus is definitely stronger. My only issue is I wish the cool synth refrain was included in the arrangement here as the chorus seems to go full on bubblegum pop and ends up a bit more on the generic side. A solid album track that reminds me a bit of 00’s J-Pop.
Distance is a bit of a relaxing reggae tune. Reggae is a great genre, but I usually don’t really enjoy how a lot of K-Pop groups do it because it feels so watered down. Here, the arrangement just isn’t that strong and actually feels like a bit of a letdown when compared to melody. It’s not bad though as there are some really nice parts to it, but it is one of the album’s weaker tunes.
I like that Water Flower has a bit of a pop/rock punch, but still retains that bright summery style. This song actually has some of the best verses on the album because there is some energy to them that works really well with the music. Unfortunately, I felt the chorus to be weaker. I was hoping for something a little more hardhitting and instead it goes really sweet in its delivery.
Mermaid takes a bit of a different approach, which is much needed. I quite like the more dramatic style the melody takes here and it works beautifully with the music and vocals in the verses. The chorus isn’t as exhilarating, but I do like the more passionate side that the song takes. I feel like part of it is the editing on the vocals, which sort of holds back the emotion during the first half. Besides that, it is a pretty cool song and I bet some tweaking could make it phenomenal.
Even though the title is Sunshine, the song is definitely on the more mid-tempo side of things with its light R&B/pop sound. It has a nice relaxing quality to it that helps to break up the flow of the upbeat songs. With that said, it just doesn’t push hard enough when it needs to. The chorus is a bit too sweet and I feel like it could’ve played up the strengths of Yuju a bit more. A bit boring after a while.
I am glad Compas is much better. This song has a stronger house influence with its pounding beat and slow build-up. I quite like that the chorus doesn’t go into a drop, but actually has a fleshed out melody that works great with the powerful music. It’s not one of the stronger dance tunes I’ve heard in recent years, but it is still a pretty nice change on this album and is a fun listen.
Click brings us back to a brighter pop song that is reminiscent of the 90’s pop/R&B sound. It has a great energy to it and I like the brightness of the chorus. It is certainly one of the stronger album tracks as the melody has a pretty decent hook that matches the music. I just feel like the girls’ vocals don’t particularly fit with this song.
To end the album, we have Gone With The Wind, which is the best album track on here. The song starts off pretty generic, but it has a great beat and fast-paced melody that helps to power things up for that explosive chorus. The song is reminiscent of Rough in the intensity of the melody in the chorus and the prominence of strings in the music. I don’t think it quite hits the same power, but there are some really cool parts to it. I’m not a fan of dubstep, but that breakdown is pretty nicely transitioned into as well.
Overall: This was a pretty average album for me. I was actually expecting a little more from it as I really enjoyed the promo track and Gone With The Wind. The rest of the album was up and down but it never really reached any extremes. It felt like the majority of the songs had some nice parts to them but could be tweaked more in other areas.