[Album] GFRIEND – LOL

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.

lol

Released: July 11, 2016
1. INTRO
2. Fall in Love (물들어요)
3. NAVILLERA (너 그리고 나)
4. LOL
5. Distance (한 뼘)
6. Water Flower (물꽃놀이)
7. Mermaid
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.

gfriendlol

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.

gfriendlol2

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.

gfriendlol1

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.

gfriendlol3

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.

B

Advertisements

[Mini-Album] GFriend – Snowflake

Snowflake is the third mini-album released by GFriend. Rough was used as the promotional track and became the girl group’s biggest hit.

snowflake
Released: January 25, 2016
1. Intro (Snowflake)
2. Rough (시간을 달려서)
3. Say My Name (내 이름을 불러줘)
4. Luv Star (사랑별)
5. Someday (그런 날엔)
6. Trust
7. Rough (inst.)

The mini opens Intro (Snowflake), which is pretty dramatic with its ticking and synths. It has a lot of power to it and ties in to the next track perfectly.

Rough is essentially GFriend’s biggest hit and it’s not surprising to see why. It has a powerful arrangement that focuses on string-like synths to give the song a very uplifting feel. What’s so great is that the chorus has a melody that is not only catchy, but intense. It fits so perfectly with the music that they both complement each other and it really makes things feel like an anime opening. The girls also sound really great, although its Yuju’s performance that really escalates the song in its final section.

Say My Name is different. While it is another upbeat pop tune, this one has some Spanish elements in it. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of this song as it doesn’t have the power of the last one. However, it has an old school quality about it and it reminds me of something from the early 00’s. The chorus doesn’t blast off, but it does have a smooth charm to it that is only heightened by that nostalgic hook in its second half.

Luv Star is definitely more on the cuter side of things. The verses are a bit forgettable, but the chorus does have a great sound to it. I wasn’t expecting to like it that much, but this one does have a late 00’s sound to it that reminds me of Girls’ Generation’s older material. It is catchy and I like how the chorus is in unison. A solid tune.

Someday starts off sounding like a ballad but soon explodes with some energy. I feel like this one is the most similar to their usual title tracks as it has that J-Pop quality to it with its focus on flaring synths and flying Yuju vocals. I really enjoy the pre-chorus and the build-up into the chorus, which dips down from the vocal climaxing before building things up again. It’s a really interesting style to go with.

Trust is the mini’s ballad and has a gentle R&B beat under the piano and sparkling synths. I think the verses are dull and not memorable at all, but the chorus is much better. The melody is stronger and the harmonies in the back really help to elevate the vocals. I would say the bridge is the highlight of the song as Yuju’s voice really brings a lot of colour to the song. A decent ending.


Overall: This is a great follow-up to their great second mini. All the songs on here are solid and there are two stand out tunes. Even if some of the songs weren’t totally my style, there were elements to them I really enjoyed. I would just like some of the verses in the songs to not be so forgettable.

A

[Mini-Album] GFriend – Flower Bud

Flower Bud is the second mini-album released by GFriend. Me Gustas Tu was used as the promo track.

flowerbud
Released: July 23, 2015
1. Intro (Flower Bud)
2. Me Gustas Tu (오늘부터 우리는)
3. Under the Sky (하늘 아래서)
4. One
5. My Buddy (기억해)
6. Me Gustas Tu (Instrumental)

Intro (Flower Bud) opens the mini on a bright note with its steady beat, gentle piano and light synths. It also ties in with the next track as it utilizes the hook a few times here.

Me Gustas Tu is the song that caused GFriend to blow up and it is still one of their best tunes. It’s a bright pop tune with its bouncy beat and explosive synths. The coolest part is the electric guitar that comes up throughout the song. The song is infectious and has such a catchy melody. It’s simple, but the hooks are really effective and even the second half of the chorus works well despite being quite repetitive. I think my favourite part of the song though is the bridge where it slows down and Yuju’s voice just blasts off.

Under the Sky continues the explosive pop sound. This one is a bit different because the chorus isn’t as hook heavy. It’s still catchy and the melody works well on top of the full instrumental. The touches of brass helps to give the song a bit of life. I do wish the vocals were a little stronger to really propel the chorus, but the girls do sound good during the verses. A solid tune.

One cools things down with something more midtempo. It still ties in nicely with the other songs on the mini. Unfortunately, I don’t think this one is as strong. The melody isn’t as catchy and the music isn’t as exciting. It’s a nice song, but the only thing that really draws me to it is Yuju’s voice in the chorus. Not my favourite song nor the most memorable, but still a decent album filler.

My Buddy starts off sounding like a ballad, but soon gives way to an upbeat pop tune. This is the song to the group’s fans and it does well living up to its expectations. It follows similarly to the other upbeat songs on here, but reminds me more of something from Girls’ Generation’s first album. The harmonies really work nicely here and the unpredictable melody helps to bring an edge. A good finisher.


Overall: This is a pretty strong mini album and better than their first. I like that the song had a theme and it felt very cohesive. There were a few differences in how the upbeat pop tunes were presented that helped to bring out the charms of each of them. The midtempo tune was a bit weaker, but it wasn’t terrible, just forgettable. Definitely a delight to listen to.

A

[Mini-Album] GFriend – Season of Glass

GFriend debuted in 2015 and started off somewhat rocky with comparisons to Girls’ Generation. Despite that, the girl group gradually released hit after hit and their bright and innocent songs and relatable charms allowed them to become one of the top girl groups of this generation. Season of Glass is the group’s debut mini-album. Glass Bead was used as the promo song.

seasonofglass
Released: January 15, 2015
1. INTRO (Season of Glass)
2. Glass Bead (유리구슬)
3. Neverland
4. White (White Heart) (하얀마음)
5. Glass Bead (Instrumental)

INTRO (Season of Glass) is really weird and dark sounding. It does get a bit lighter as the song progresses with the touches of synths and piano, however, it’s pretty dramatic. It’s cool though.

Glass Bead is totally different though. While it opens with a piano, the chorus is largely focused on percussion, which really drives the song. There are some light synths and a bit of guitar, but it’s largely placed on the lowdown. It’s a really stark contrast to the melody that is really sweet and works nicely with the synthline. What’s great about the melody is that it doesn’t rely on repetition or a drop, but is instead quite melodic. It’s still an earworm and does a great job of highlighting Yuju’s vocals.

Neverland changes things up by switching the innocent pop sound for something a bit disco-influenced. It still retains that bright atmosphere of the last song, but is funkier. I don’t think the chorus is as catchy as the last song, but there are some really nice hooks and it works well with the steady beat. Also, there are some fun parts that pop up throughout the song like the bits of rapping and weird synths.

White (White Heart) is unfortunately not my cup of tea. It’s not terrible, just really forgettable. It has a bright pop sound, but doesn’t have the powerful percussion or charming melody to really help it stand out. It’s like a B-side from a 90’s K-Pop girl group album. The girls do sound really nice though.


Overall: The intro, Glass Bead and Neverland were all pretty solid songs and they each have their charms. The last song is unfortunately a bit forgettable in the sea of girl group songs, but the other two songs easily make up for it. This is a decent debut.

B+