GFRIEND - the discography rate ☾ #14

With a happy face, yet uncertain
I look forward to today in hopes of something special



Buddies: 10x13 (@ysev @codecat @M24 @Attis @junglefish @Wills @soratami @KimLippington @vague @Music Is Life & Death @nikkysan @Vixen @savilizabeths) 9.5x2 (@eliminathan @BEST FICTION) 9x2 (@eatyourself @Serg.)
Antis: 6.5x1 (@boom bazooka joe) 7.5x3 (@aux @Cotton Park @Remorque)
@junglefish: 10
@savilizabeths: 10
5 voters: 4
10 voters: 21
15 voters: 15
20 voters: 17
26 voters: 17

Sorry for the delay besties, Maisie Peters 'The Good Witch', Speak Now TV and being sick multiple times put a dent in this but here I am to eliminate 'Gone With the Wind', the final b-side from GFriend's first full length album LOL. A worthy and not at all surprising last to fall.

Written and composed by, 'Gone With the Wind' closes the album with a bubbly electronic flavoured punch. When I first listened to LOL I remember being so floored by this, an instant standout and always getting stuck in my head. It's such a strong and powerful album closer and so very GFriend. In my 'Crush' elimination post, I talked a lot about how the two songs are linked in my head so I won't go too into that here except to reiterate that 'Gone With the Wind' is very much its younger sister and both are 10 out of 10.

'Gone With the Wind' has that hopeful spirit that so many GFriend songs have, which is something that makes them so special to me. The girls sing of finding happiness and letting go of the memories that have hurt us. The song sounds so bright and vibrant as they burst through anything painful they have gone through and find the light. It's a gorgeous message and really makes me want to live my happiest life too. Thank you GFriend for always inspiring me.

The instrumentation has a pretty classic early GFriend combination of bouncy strings, electric guitar and pops of more electronic sounds and it's executed perfectly. The song is full speed ahead with so much energy and I can't help smiling and bouncing around in my chair. That breakdown is so impactful to me and really stands out amongst their discography. It's always bouncing around in my head like an old school laptop screensaver. As is so often the case, Yuju really stands out here. That high note??? Is it not glorious??? Not to mention she is giving her EVERYTHING to those adlibs in the final chorus!! Queen of consistently blowing me away!

I will say it again, the right b-side from LOL made it to the top. I'm happy a b-side from that album made it into the top 20 in the first place, as I know the album has had it's naysayers. But I also know that this song in particular is a well deserved fan favourite (lets not forget it placed #9 in the 3rd Gen Girls album rate) and it really should be. Can we talk about how it was #4 after five voters???? Can you say iconique????

@eatyourself (9) : This Very Very Very, Signal, Rookie tea... I have to stan. Ended Vivien Leigh's career, killed Clark Gable on set.

@Attis (10) : What an amazing album closer, deserve to be single tbh

@M24 (10) : This song is the very epitome of Gfriend in my opinion, objectively what should be my 11. The intensity of the instrumental, that powerful chorus to match it (particularly carried by Eunha's "nae mameul da" and Yuju's "da malhaji mothaetdeon" deliveries), the electronic breakdown that takes you by surprise in the second verse... and to top it all off, the lyrics are way more meaningful than you would think at first glance. If I followed an accurate translation, it's about cleansing yourself of painful memories you can't speak of, and wondering how you'll look back on them in the future. That's a beautiful message, and I really hope that if the members had any painful memories in their career (we can't ignore how exploitative the music industry is), that they can now look back on their hardships from a happier place.

@ysev (10) : Best album closer… of all time, maybe?

@KimLippington (10) : Should have been the single for a LOL repackage complete with an MV of the girls in full Scarlett O’Hara drag. SouMu do not hire me I am full of terrible ideas.


I may seem like a clear glass bead
But I won't break that easily



Buddies: 11x1 (@Vixen) 10x11 (@eatyourself, @codecat, @ysev, @junglefish, @RUNAWAY, @soratami, @Monado, @vague, @nikkysan, @Remorque) 9.75x1 (@savilizabeths) 9.5x2 (@thommyh, @Music Is Life & Death)
Antis: 6x1 (@boom bazooka joe) 7x1 (@eliminathan) 8x2 (@Crisp X, @Cotton Park)
@junglefish: 10
@savilizabeths: 9.75
5 voters: 6
10 voters: 19
15 voters: 20
20 voters: 16
26 voters: 16

And we're back after an extended summer break... Unfortunately, that means we have to eliminate the song that started it all, Glass Bead.

It should come as no surprise that Glass Bead was composed by our buddies Iggy & Youngbae. I say that it should come as no surprise because GFRIEND's title track is quite literally the blueprint for what's recognized as the group's sound. They didn't just release a cute little throwaway debut, they released something that would define a new era in K-Pop, at a time where girl crush and kooky-ooky hooks were what most girl groups were chasing. I'm not saying that Glass Bead was a sound never heard before in K-Pop, it absolutely was with early SNSD, Apink and others, but that it was a sound that had kind of disappeared and wasn't in favor at all back in 2015.

Did SouMu make the right decision when they decided to make their new girl group debut with something that was so imbued with nostalgia? Should they have gone with Hug Hug or Monday Blues instead? History tells us that yes, they indeed made the right decision. Not only because Glass Bead is an absolute classic and one of the best debut songs of all time but also because it was massively successful for what GFRIEND were at the time: a rookie group from a small company whose only feat so far was debuting GLAM, a group that disbanded after it was revealed that two of its members had attempted to blackmail famous actor Lee Byung-hun. One of them ended up in jail, but that's a story for another time! While it 'only' peaked at #25 on the Gaon Digital Chart, it sold more than a million copies and ended up in the top 100 best selling songs of 2015.

What I love the most about Glass Bead is that it brings me back to my first years as a fully-fledged K-Pop stan. I mentioned SNSD before and it's impossible to listen to Glass Bead without thinking of Into The New World. Not that the songs necessarily sound similar, but they possess the same spirit of youth, the same nostalgia, the same 'I-can-move-mountains-if-I-set-my-heart-to-it' feeling. Sure, Glass Bead isn't as anthemic as Into The New World, but when the chorus hits, you immediately understand why the term powerful innocence was attached to GFRIEND during their school trilogy years. It's a stunning song, one that sounds like it could have been released by some obscure 1st gen SM girl group (*cough* Milk *cough*) or like what it really was, of the signature songs of a beloved 3rd gen group that left us too soon.

I'm saddened that Glass Bead couldn't make it to the top 10, but considering the lack of love GFRIEND were shown on the forum in their early years, their debut single reaching #16 is a small triumph!

@M24 (8.75) : It took a while to grow on me, but now I really love it! The chorus really grabs your attention with all the dynamism in the background: string melodies, drum beats changing tempo etc. I prefer it to "Me Gustas Tu" I think.

@Attis (10) : Iconic debut, the memory of SONE hating them for copying Into The New World (bitch where ?) and SinB for having Jessica's face.

@Crisp X (8) : I admit I never really paid attention to this song until the rate fff. But it turns out I’m craving this kind of magical K-Pop right now. What I like about it is how it sounds like it could’ve been released by either SNSD in 2007 or S.E.S in 2000, there’s just something timeless about that sound and GFRIEND pulled it off effortlessly.

@Wills (9) : Surprisingly tough to rate: a charming debut and thee perfect introduction to them as a group, but then they went and built on it a dozen times or so, each more explosive and colourful than the last.

I remember coming to Glass Bead with sharpened knive in one hand, pink lightstick in the other and a copy of I Got a Boy (Taeyeon's Version) between my teeth, but being utterly enamoured by the song and the dancing. That dance version of Glass Bead is still unparalleled. One of the best debuts of all time.

We leapt across the time they call eternity
To wake up this very moment



Buddies: 10x9 (@eatyourself, @codecat, @junglefish, @Serg., @aux, @thommyh, @Music Is Life & Death, @Vixen, @Remorque) 9.75x1 (@BEST FICTION) 9.5x6 (@ysev, @M24, @RUNAWAY, @Wills, @eliminathan, @savilizabeths)
Antis: 7x1 (@boom bazooka joe) 7.5x1 (@nikkysan) 8x1 (@Slice of Life)
@junglefish: 10
@savilizabeths: 9.5
5 voters: 8
10 voters: 23
15 voters: 13
20 voters: 13
26 voters: 15

Prayer circle girls... We need to save the souls of the low scorers.

Today we eliminate an hymn in the true sense of the word. I admit when I saw that title on the 'Parallel' tracklist, I thought to myself "hmmm... now girls you're taking Christian Horse Girl music too far..." But fear not my lambs, because Ave Maria is not only a praise song to the Most Holy, it's also an irresistible pop song with disco influences and the one true shining moment of the Parallel/Rainbow era in my ever so humble opinion.

Composed by Megatone and Ferdy-ferd, who both worked on Hear the wind sing, Ave Maria's strength resides in its production which is, for lack of a better word, delicious. As soon as the intro starts, it's pure joy for my ears. There's something whimsical here, so light and breezy but still strong enough that the song doesn't leave your mind once it's over. One thing I hadn't paid much attention to before starting this rate are the barely there backing vocals and whew, I'm so in love with that detail. The girls all sound fantastic so you would be forgiven for not noticing them at first or just, not really paying much attention to them, but they add so much to Ave Maria and take it from a great album track to an ethereal bop, from a cute nudisco ditty to a classic in their discography.

I was trying to be funny when I said that Ave Maria is an hymn to Mary, Full of Grace, but it actually kinda is. Sure, the song's overall theme is love but the chorus is actually GFRIEND praying to The Immaculate, asking her to listen and protect their story before confessing that they believe in love. Well you know what, I'm not religious but The Ever-virgin is kind of an icon so turns out I'm okay with a little proselytism from time to time!

Now my fellow buddies, it's time to get on your knees and once you're done, dust off your most modest club attire and let's go dance. Are there any good discos in Jerusalem?

@eatyourself (10) : Kind of converted me into christianism. Miss Maria is up there in heaven pole-dancing to this song.

@ysev (9.5) : The beginning always gives ayaya coco jambo ayayay looool. Ahhh... my favorite song for a holy thotty Sunday!

@M24 (9.5) : I was surprised by this slice of nu-disco in this album! The chorus is a grower, maybe not as instant as Rainbow's, but now I like both b-sides just as much. I'm not a fan of Umji's voice to be honest (personal preference), but the "maria, maria, ave maria" melody goes perfectly with hers rather than Yuju's stronger tone.

@Wills (9.5) : Those chord hits in the verses :drooling_emoji:

@thommyh (10) : Best song of all time naurrr

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Trapped in the fog, inside your words
I just can't figure you out



Buddies: 10x15 (@eatyourself, @junglefish, @RUNAWAY, @Slice of Life, @Wills, @Serg., @aux, @eliminathan, @KimLippington, @thommyh, @BEST FICTION, @Music Is Life & Death, @nikkysan, @Vixen, @savilizabeths) 9x2 (@soratami, @Monado)
Antis: 7x2 (@Attis, @Cotton Park) 8x1 (@boom bazooka joe)
@junglefish: 10
@savilizabeths: 10
5 voters: 40
10 voters: 30
15 voters: 14
20 voters: 15
26 voters: 14

Now that's a pretty shocking elimination in my opinion. The single that ushered GFRIEND in a sort of renaissance gone before the top 10?! Looking at the songs left, I can't say they deserve it less than Time for the Moon Night, but I definitely thought its status as a single would bring it further. It was a pain to do the highest and lowest scorers section because it seems like people either love the song (fifteen 10s!) or are completely ambivalent to it. There's no downright bad scores but a lot of middling 7s, 8.25s and the likes. Not even one 9.5! This is really surprising to me, but at least it didn't leave before the top 20 like it was at risk of doing at several points...

For Time for the Moon Night, off the EP of the same name, GFRIEND once again collaborated with Noh Joo-hwan. I've mentioned him several times before but you might not remember him since this rate has been going on for 84 years. He worked with the group on several songs, including Crossroads, Sunrise, From Me and TRUST. Time for the Moon Night has often been described as a return to form for the group after three singles that failed to convince both the public and critics: Fingertip, Love Whisper and Summer Rain. Not that they were flops, Fingertip and Love Whisper both reached #2 on Gaon, the same peak as Time for the Moon Night but for many, they either failed to capture the essence of GFRIEND or diluted it to something unremarkable.

Time for the Moon Night, which Korean title simply translates as "Night" definitely brings the listener to a familiar sound. You've got the orchestral elements (the strings!), the vaguely anime-esque feel that Rough already explored, the DRAMA. Though there's definitely something that's more mature and more whimsical than the group's School Trilogy. Is it completely successful at recapturing what made GFRIEND such an influential group? Maybe, maybe not. What it is for sure is a great song with an undeniable chorus that just won't leave your head the first time you hear it.

Commercially, the song debuted at #9 which had many screaming "FLOPS" but then it started to gain momentum and the kind of impact GFRIEND hadn't had since NAVILLERA. Time for the Moon Night ended up being a true success, peaking at #2 on Gaon and #6 on Billboard Korea's K-pop Hot 100. More importantly, the song became one of the group's signature tracks, sitting comfortably with the likes of Me Gustas Tu, Rough and NAVILLERA.

@eatyourself (10) : This chorus is so infectioussss!!!! Even though it sounds like classic Gfriend, this is still so different from their previous stuff. I feel like this manages to reach places Summer Rain couldn't...

@M24 (8.25) : Among my least favorite titles, it didn't grow on me too much. I think the melody in the chorus is not that great, a similar problem compared to previous two titles in the Parallel/Rainbow series. I do think the "gidaryeotton shigani jinago" line gives it a little more intensity, but ultimately it can't provide enough. An 8.25 seems the right score... I enjoy it when it comes on, but I don't seek it out.

@Slice of Life (10) : God, remember when this didn’t chart in the top 5 of KPJC?????? The audacity of these whores!!!! Yerin Streep didn’t act in the music video like her landlord was threatening to evict her in 24 hours just to be disrespected like that! Let’s send this to the top 10 as reparation!!!

@Wills (10) : A wonderfully elegant step into their next chapter.

@KimLippington (10) : Such a brilliant evolution of their signature sound. Those strings are lush and bring so much drama to it. Weddings! Graduations! Funerals!

I don't know what songs are still in but Moon Night and Glass Bead both missing the top 10 doesn't sit right with me. The former was like a rebirth for them at the time and the latter is one of the best girl group debuts ever.

That being said, we're all good if Sunny Summer is deservedly in the top 10. I know it's probably been out for ages but I had to mention 2018's song of the summer somehow.