Time for the Moon Night is left with just the title track as the final b-side, 'Flower Garden', falls today. Honestly, I don't think I expected this song to make it as far as it did, but it was truly a happy surprise! Congratulations 'Flower Garden'.
This is also the last song in the rate that vocal and proudction group MIO made for GFriend. It's definitely their best, with 'Please Save My Earth' being their worst because seriously, why does that song sound like mud? I'm sorry, Buddies! Anyway! 'Flower Garden' is gorgeous! It's really giving that era of GFriend singles to me, and according to the commentary, I'm not alone. It literally sounds like an Iggy & Youngbae production to me, MIO really nailed the signature GFriend sound. The mixture of strings and electric guitar just...it's classic them! It's really emotive and cinematic with the lush orchestration and powerful melodies. Definitely another example of GFriend making music with anime vibes because I am really envisioning some heart wrenching scene in an anime when I listen to it. Gorgeous!
The song is described as having a story line that "reminds you of an animation" and god, yeah the lyrics are beautiful. I dare you to read them and not feel a tug at your heartstrings. They're both sad and incredibly hopeful. They reassure you that even when things are tough and life gets too much, there is hope. The lyrics describe our dreams as flowers, always blooming again even after they wither and petals fly away. It really reminds me that after the bad, even if it takes time, the good will always return. I just think the imagery is so beautiful.
Flowers of the season bloom and wither
Blowing about like the beautiful flower petals
That contain our dreams
Even if it rains
And it hurts
If you hold my hands
Don’t be afraid
Our flower petal dreams will blow around.
I love how many of GFriend's songs make me feel less alone when I read their lyrics. Buddies feels like such an appropriate fandom name.
Before I leave, I also have to say that I think this song features incredible vocal performances from every single girl! They're so dynamic! There's something so full about their voices here and I'm just enchanted listening to them. Parts of Yuju's stand out especially. She sounds angelic, especially the delicate way she delivers the end of the first chorus. I don't know what it is about that part but the way she sounds gives me chills. Our main vocal strikes again, of course!
Now let's hope 'Time for the Moon Night' reaches it's rightful place in the top 10. As for our next elimination, I have a feeling you're all going to have a lot to say. Leave your guesses below!
@eatyourself (8.5) : So intense and emotional!! A tearjerker. @Attis (10) : Another b-side that could've been a single, Eunha's intro is breathtaking right from the start.
@M24 (7.25) : The instrumental is so dynamic, I love the percussion and the drum beats in that chorus. I can see why it was a candidate for title track, as it has a similar vibe to Time for the Moon Night. I still prefer the latter though, even if this one is more dynamic. Maybe I'm falling prey to the single effect, I don't know lol.
@Wills (9.75) : They’re spitting those lyrics in the chorus like their lives depend on it, MIO really needs to cool it with the syllables. Luckily it doesn't detract from the quality of the song, which is really amazing!
@thommyh (10) : Mages and wizardly artificers really need to study this song's magical properties: because the way listening to this really transports me into a world where I'm a student in an all-girls high school on a warm, sunny spring day in 90's Japan...
hmm you guys remember when I said we were losing three singles before the top 20? Well actually it was just two nn sorry but I never said I was smart! We are losing one at #20 though, but for now, let's see which single ends the race at #21...
With thirteen 10s, we are saying goodbye to one of the most iconic 3rd gen songs...
My heart flutters towards you Starting from today, us
I am... distraught. Ever since I saw this result, I knew writing this elimination would be a challenge. Not only that, but resisting the urge to send anthrax to the low scorers' homes. Anyway, the time has come to say goodbye to one of the defining songs of the 3rd gen and, if we're honest, possibly of any K-Pop gen, Me Gustas Tu.
GFRIEND's second single, leading the 'Flower Bud' EP is a treasure. It's pure serotonin in the form of a song and one of the best examples of GFRIEND's style in their early days. Composed by the legends Iggy Youngbae, Me Gustas Tu has it all: a catchy chorus with one of the most infectious hooks known to mankind, funky synths, strings, a peppy sound that hearkens back to the cute, bubblegum pop of early SNSD, a high note from Yuju... If you like GFRIEND, there's no reason not to like this song. It's, simply put, perfect. It's also one of those songs that fills me with so much nostalgia and I'm not even sure for what? It just has that vibe of being young, having a crush and feeling butterflies in your stomach you know? The vibe of sunny afternoons giggling with your friends. The vibe of being a teenager and knowing that even though you can't wait to grow up, you're probably living your best days right here and now.
Of course, it's impossible to talk about Me Gustas Tu without talking about that performance. It's September, 5, the year is 2015. GFRIEND are about to perform their second single at an event held by SBS Radio. Their second single which has spent two months in the Gaon Top 50, reaching #23 for the month of August. What could go wrong? A rookie girl group from a small agency, a hit single, a shitload of rain and a slippery stage... Wait. What was that? Rain? A slippery stage? I mean 4Minute have done it before, it's K-Pop after all! So our brave little soldiers went on stage and for a little while, it was okay. The lipsync was perfect, the girls were in sync and suddenly, BAM. Yuju down. No problem, she gets up. We've all seen accidents like that in K-Pop before, right? Well, yeah, but Yuju ended up falling more than once, getting up every single time despite having broken a few fingers. Oh and SinB also fell but ya know, the show must go on and all that!
I would be lying if I said this performance didn't help GFRIEND. Sure, for a rookie group they were already popular and had two hits under their belt (the narrative that they were flops before that is bullcrap), but what become so evident was the group's sheer resilience and passion. Almost overnight, those six girls from an unknown company became K-Pop royalty, their fame reaching new heights and putting them in the top tier of the 3rd gen's girlgroup. You had TWICE, BLACKPINK and Red Velvet? Now, you'll have GFRIEND up there too. I'm confident that the group's career would have went on fine without that performance but what happened that day was a once in a lifetime kind of thing. Yuju went THROUGH it but in the end, the stars were aligned.
So yeah, here you go. In my heart I wanted Me Gustas Tu to reach the top 10. It deserves it not only because it's a great song but because of everything that surrounds it. Me Gustas Tu isn't just a song, it's a phenomenon, one like we haven't seen in a long time in K-Pop. Looking at the leaderboard, I think it's evident that there's a divide between the OG Buddies and the ones that came after. Usually, I don't like to say ones are better than the others, we all love GFRIEND afterall, but in this case... Well. You get it.
So long Me Gustas Tu, you will always be famous.
@eatyourself (10) : In a rate full of potential 11s, this is definitely one of them. The 90's R&B beatline, the plucky piano, the cadence in the chorus' melody, the violins!! It's like a (good) Jackson Five song brought to the 21st century.
@M24 (9.25) : I used to prefer this to Glass Bead, for now it's the other way around. The chorus is excellent, in particular the second part. I think I just find the hook to be a little annoying after having listened to the song so many times, hence my score.
@Slice of Life (10) : I will genuinely cry if this misses the top 10, like please let’s put some respect on GFriend’s breakout hit!!!!!!!
@Wills (10) : An 11 among their title tracks – they’d eventually up the intensity, but that chorus just can’t be beat!
@Serg. (4) : This as your breakthrough moment, I don't think, it's super annoying and repetitive and I can't even bop to it, thank god Rough and Navillera managed to change the picture for them forever cause this one is not IT, its still my least fave single by them...
@KimLippington (10) : This was the song (or rather the performance) that caused me to properly fall down the kpop rabbit hole so I’ll forever be grateful. Yuju was fighting for her life on that wet stage and she was a fxcking queen for getting back up every time because I would have played dead after the first slip. Paramedics would have had to scrape me off the stage. Concert over! Everyone go home! Anyways incredible song!
@Cotton Park (9.5) : I remember when this was like the National Anthem of South Korea.
This one is special to me. I definitely didn't expect it to outlast the iconic 'Me Gustas Tu' (how is that song not in the top 10??) even by one spot but I'm happy that it made the top 20.
'Sunrise' was, of course, written by Noh Joo-hwan and composed together with Lee Won-jong and is the second entry in their title track trilogy for GFriend. I refuse to choose a favourite between this and 'Time for the Moon Night', you cannot make me. It earned the girls 6 music show wins and charted very well, reaching number 12 on the Gaon Digital Chart. More importantly, it reached #53 in the KPJ End of Year rate for 2019 and #4 on the KPJ January 2019 charts. Providing this history lesson wound up being very distracting as I looked back on my scores in the rate that year. I would like to formally apologise for tanking 'Icy', which is now my favourite ITZY song. We grown and we learn.
I remember 'Sunrise' as being such a Moment, at least for me. First of all, it was my first GFriend comeback as a member of this beloved subforum so I very much remember us all losing our minds over the Yuju/SinB/Eunha high note extravaganza which we will, of course, come back to. I was Sowon biased at the time so I was also absolutely living her for blonde hair. She really did look gorgeous. I am a sucker for any kpop girlie in their blonde era, I'd love a return of blonde Eunha! Anyway, hair styling aside...this song is just everything to me. From the second I clicked on the video I fell in love. The way it starts with that softly delivered voice over, we knew this was a production! We were going to be served emotional drama and they truly delivered. I adore the visual of Eunha miming playing piano in the middle of a forest. Not to mention the beginning choregraphy on the floor, it's so memorable to me. The visuals are gorgeous all around. So warm yet sad. I feel like I've used the word melancholic a decent amount in my eliminations but GFriend really know how to perfectly serve that feeling. I love that the parts of the music video where the girls are all together feel happy and sweet, laughing together, running through tunnels, supporting each other around the piano. But in the solo shots, it feels lonely and gets more emotional. It perfectly captures the songs lyrics, as a great music video should. The only parts I'm a little iffy on are the parts in the white room. The girls look stunning but it just feels a little stark and off in contrast to the rest of the video. But oh well!
Now onto what we were actually rating, which is the song. And wow! The soft piano, dramatic swell of strings bursting into the bouncy and playful verses? Iconic. I just love how bright and cheerful the verses sound, much sweeter than the powerful chorus with soft, building pre-chorus serving as the perfect bridge between them. It's perfection. I do not agree with the two voters in the commentary who say that the chorus isn't as impressive as it should be. Yes, it is! Yuju didn't belt "jeogi haeya haeya, neoreul bwaya bwaya" like that for you to show it disrespect. The girls sound so emotive, especially during the bigger, stronger vocal moments like the chorus. GFriend know how to make a song that takes you on a journey and this one really does that. It builds and falls and ebbs and flows until it delivers the greatest climax in their discography, I swear. Those!! High!! Notes!! We expected a dramatic Yuju end of bridge belt but we did not see the one two three punch of Yuju, followed by SinB, followed by Eunha and we were floored! Buddies died that day and then revived themselves to they could experience it again. I seriously never get sick of it. I love getting to see SinB have a highlighted vocal moment and she killed it, of course. And Miss Eunha has never sounded better, giving her everything to that moment. I am shedding a tear, it's just that powerful.
I believe I said in my rate commentary in 2019 that I could talk about this song for hours, and that is likely true so I should probably cut myself off. I just...this song is a true favourite of mine, I have probably listened to it 30 times while writing this, plus many more in the years since it came out and I have never grown tired of it. I'm happy we could honour it by awarding it a spot in the top 20. Thank you, Buddies!
@eatyourself (10) : This sounds so fresh for them even if it is still very them. The verses are some of their best ever.
@M24 (9) : I feel the same way about this TT as I do about Summer Rain. It has some lovely melodies, but the chorus doesn't stand out enough on its own if it weren't for Yuju and Eunha. I still very much prefer it to Time for the Moon Night and Sunny Summer. What is extremely epic in this song though is Eunha's final power note... whew, it snatches my wig every time I hear it.
@Slice of Life (10) : A perfect follow up to Time for the Moon Night! That final chorus of nothing but high notes by Yuju, Eunha and SinB?????? That’s gay rights!
@Wills (8) : Always found this the weakest of this trilogy. It’s better than I initially gave it credit for, but the chorus spins its wheels when it should soar.
Leaving us today is the good sis @ysev's 11, Tarot Cards from 'Song of Sirens'. Produced by e.one's Jeong Ho-hyeon and written by... many people including Eunha, Umji and Yuju, Tarot Cards is according to its official description a song about taking the easy road instead of agonizing about difficult choices and putting your life in someone else's hands, which is where the tarot cards metaphor comes from. Shuffling the cards and living according to what they tell you, etc. Not sure that's a great way of living your life but hey! I'm a big old mess so who am I to judge? Maybe I should book an appointment with a tarot reader! Speaking of, I'd love to make a bunch of tarot references in this writeup but I'm sawry I'm not that type of gay and I don't have time to read a Wikipedia page right now.
It's impossible to talk about Tarot Cards without bringing up anime music. It has all the elements of a brilliant opening theme for some kind of magical girl shojo fantasy: strings, an almost manic rhythm, a lalala tatata hook that never leaves your head... For some reason I hate the 'Make a wish' opening lines which I find very jarring but other than that it's a slam dunk, which isn't a surprise. I mean, they may have never actually sung an anime theme, GFRIEND stay the unofficial queens of anime pop.
The lyrics are nice and make great use of the tarot theme, with talks of shuffling and reshuffling cards, destiny and all that. There's even a line giving Britney Radiance teas which made me chuckle when I was looking at the translated lyrics:
Destiny that will change every time I re-shuffle and flip
I find my own answer
Commercially, the song peaked at #60 on Circle fka Gaon Download chart, which is pretty good for an album track! Koreans chose their own destiny and decided to stream our girls and for that, I'm thankful.
@ysev (11) : Tarot Cards is so anime-esque, hyper emotional and restless. The pace is ridiculously fast and the super hopeful vocal delivery almost resembles that of a ballad. Then there’s the chorus that’s in a completely different key than the verses. The strings, the electric guitar, the little plonky synth injections here and there… the super fast percussions that make the song sound like a RUN… It simply feels like a grand battle for the last chance of a bright future. It always leaves me breathless. Tarot Cards is one of those songs where I feel like it reaches the highest possible peak that ART can reach. There’s not a single part within the song where I wanna get to at the expense of another one because every second feels pivotal to the whole experience. I wouldn’t change a single thing about the song. SHUFFLE HAEBWA!
@M24 (8.25) : The instrumental has so many ebbs and flows… I've grown to love it even though it took me long to get used to it! If the chorus had been just a little better, it might have become my favorite bside of the mini album. For now, Room of Mirrors and Eye of the Storn edge it just slightly.
Wow. If you had asked me to guess the album tracks that made it to the top 20, I would have never guessed Say My Name. I'm not complaining, I'm actually thrilled it made it this far because it's a fantastic song and to see an album track from their third EP reach #18 out of 96 songs is a testament to the quality of GFRIEND's discography, and that from the very beginning.
Say My Name was once again written and composed by Iggy & Youngbae. Those two men... I mean... What did their mother feed them when they were young? To have this level of talent is otherworldly. The song is one of those songs that instantly bring me to another place. As soon as it starts, I'm a teenager discovering K-Pop for the first time: My Name-era BoA, Jewelry, Sugar... The RnB influences, the Y2K sound, the latin vibes, everything about Say My Name screams 1st gen K-Pop but it doesn't ever sound dated. Instead it sounds like a timeless bop, one that could have been released 20 years ago or could be released in 20 years and it wouldn't sound out of place.
The girls all shine vocally here, each part perfectly tailored to them. Obviously, Yuju shines a little more than anyone else, showcasing all the subtleties of her voice in a 3:08 song. Her vocals soaring in the pre-chorus... Gorgeous. Legendary. K-Pop will never have another main vocalist like her! Another thing I love about Say My Name is how every part of the song is shared between the members in a call and response way. To me, it makes it sound like one member is singing in bold and the other one in italic and the result is just perfect.
Ugh I love this track so damn much.
@eatyourself (8.75) : Another visionary iconic moment for them.
@ysev (9) : Why is this low key giving Nickelodeon show but make it telenovela? So good!
@M24 (9) : The best bside from the first three minis. A real bop, I like how there are basically two great choruses packaged into one. Yuju's (or are they Eunha's) ad-libs are a treat for the ears too! It's totally slept over by the fans, hope I'm proven wrong.
Incredibly happy to see "Say My Name" make it this far! I was familiar with a lot of their later material, but their earlier material was pretty new to me at the time. It was one of my favourite discoveries from the rate. It feels like a great bridge from their earlier, younger-feel material to their mature sound that they bowed off with. I couldn't agree more with @junglefish, it somehow sounds like a 1st Gen K-Pop track yet... It sounds fresher than ever. Fuck, I adore this group and will miss them endlessly.