We now say goodbye to the eponymous track of 'LOL'. You guys haven't mellowed out on this album since @Serg.'s debut album rate, huh?
So... I definitely underscored this. I don't know why because it's always been one of my favorites from the album. Maybe I wasn't in a laugh out loud mood when I scored it, who knows? I love that cute little song in all its early K-Pop glory. To me, LOL has always sounded like a b-side on some obscure 2000s girl group's debut single and that's precisely why I enjoy it so much.
Composed by Phat Music and MasterKey and arranged by both of them with the help of SCORE, LOL is a slice of happiness in the form of a song. It's honestly difficult to write a ton about this track because it does a perfect job at being its bubbly little self, but apart from a pretty iconic guitar solo, there's nothing that's particularly remarkable about it. And that's not a bad thing! Like I said, I enjoy it a lot and I wish I had scored it higher, because what it does, it does very well. Put LOL on, close your eyes and tell me you don't see yourself as a teenage girl in the early-noughties, scrunchy in the hair, getting ready to leave for summer camp? You don't? Only me? Oh, well. I'm sure you get the fantasy anyway! It's the kind of song that evokes memories of sunny days with your besties, your first crush, sneaking home after your curfew... In fewer words, it's teen pop at its best.
Lyrically, it's very cute. Basically, it's about becoming one with someone and walking on the same path together. It can be read as being about love or friendship, which is pretty common for the group, especially in their early days. It's also about laughing out loud because, as we all know, GFRIEND are crazy girlies who love to live laugh love!
Anyway, let's see what you buddies had to say:
@eatyourself (8) : This makes me want to get up and dance on a flower field, but the chorus melody doesn't live up to the rest of the song's excitement.
@M24 (7.25) : The instrumental bops, and it helps make the song. The chorus is a little underwhelming to be honest, and that's why it's not a fav of mine from this album.
@Wills (8.5) : Things were getting a touch formulaic by this point, but “So ready or not” is such a great hook
Next, 'Song of the Sirens' loses its second track. Any guesses?
The balladphobia has got to end, Buddies. The closing track of Song of the Sirens, 'Stairs in the North' falls today. Making it the second of the ballad trilogy to exit. While I kind of like that they're falling in chronological order, they shouldn't be falling at all. The song was written and composed by Frants, who has frequently worked on songs for GOT7 and Sunmi. It was also co-written by Big Hit founder "hitman" bang. It also debuted at #66 on the Gaon Digital Chart, which is higher than 'Crème Brûlée'' so...deserved.
Now, I don't know what you guys are hearing because I'm hearing a masterpiece. The only reason I didn't give it full marks was because I was starting to think I was being too generous with my 10s. I take it back now, this deserved the tiny bit extra from me. It wouldn't have changed its position but it would have been true to myself, which is more important obviously.
I have found myself listening to this song a lot since scoring, usually on night bus trips home. It feels os melancholy but in a good way. Very theatrical. Sometimes I want my life to feel like the emotional part of a film without the actual pain that would come with that, you know? 'Stairs in the North' fits that feeling perfectly and it has become such a go-to. While it does have a very sad vibe to it, it also feels hopeful, like waking up from darkness and seeing a glimmer of light in the distance. I've spent some time going over the lyrics and they're really beautiful. Heartbreaking at points. @M24 notes the way the lyrics connect to their disbandment. It really does feel foreshadowing, eerily so. I'll let you read the lyrics they highlighted in their commentary. I'm going to share one of my favourite sections.
"If I keep walking forward, without resting
At the end of these stairs, waiting for me
Will be the suns spotlight.
But I think it took too long.
Suddenly only the cold night air lingers."
Those lyrics hit me like a ton of bricks. It's like working towards something, whether a goal or simply healing from something, and looking for the light at the end of it. Reaching the top of the metaphorical stairs expecting sunshine but not feeling the happiness and relief you expected. It feels like you've been pushing yourself for nothing, the light never comes. As someone who has been battling mental health issues for so long, I almost cried reading these lyrics. God.
Like I said though, the song radiates hope despite this. It makes healing and happiness still feel possible. It's comforting, like the girls are holding my hand and we're supporting each other. They sound gorgeous. Their deliveries are so earnest, so sincere. Every single one of them give me chills, even Sowon, who comes through with some solid lines here.
And that instrumental! The fourteen piece string section!! The way that electric guitar solo gives me so much energy and makes me believe that I am strong enough to get better. The soft, steady guitar. I literally played the instrumental version just now to truly appreciate how stunning and layered it is. It's so dynamic, ebbing and flowing and just captured so many emotions and four and a half minutes. The song is described as a "pop ballad that melts folk and and 90s rock style sounds" and I feel like it succeeds in that well. I've been struggling a lot these past weeks and I love that this song has given me the chance to sit in my feelings while also feeling like there is a reason to keep going. Stunning!
@Wills (5) : Songs that plod like this make me too aware of my mortality for comfort.
@M24 (8.75) : Another grower from this album… I especially love Yuju's vocal delivery in her parts of the chorus. The lyrics in the first chorus are so sad, given their disbandment! Eg. "Will I be able to come back?", "I'm already used to the applause and warm memories, will I really be able to turn around and go down?"... damn. This is lyrically their best album for sure.
@Slice of Life (10) : This type of songs just does something to me I CANT AHSHSHSHSSHSJSJ COME GET THIS 10
Something on the more bubbly side will be leaving next. And no @boombazookajoe, it's not from LOL.
From GFRIEND's 'Sunny Summer' EP, Love In The Air leaves us today.
Composed by Andreas Öberg, Darren Smith, Sean Alexander and the good sis No Joo-hwan, Love In The Air is a breezy, summery midtempo that's all about, you guessed it, LOVE. You guys, I don't know what's with this one but I just really dislike it. It's not all bad and has some parts that I do enjoy, but I find the 'Love in the-lala love in the love in the air' hook so irritating that it pretty much ruins the whole thing for me.
But because I'm not a big meanie, I'm gonna try to focus on the positives. After all, Love In The Air did get six 9s on top of a 10 and two 9.5 so clearly most of you are not sharing my opinion. What I'm gonna do is list all the things I do enjoy in this song: •Sowon sounds better than usual! Her limitations are not as obvious here as they are in other songs. Good for ha! • Yuju • The melody is nice! • The '80s influence that is there without being too in your face •Those little glittery synths sprinkled throughout the track • ...
Hm. Yeah. I think that's about it. Honestly, apart from the hook, there's something else that bothers me with Love In The Air and it's that it doesn't make me feel any type of way. It's the definition of a filler track for me: competent, sure, but just there. 'Sunny Summer' isn't my favorite GFRIEND EP but I truly enjoy it for what it is, a summery parenthèse in an otherwise stellar discography. It's just a shame that it ends on a sour note.
@eatyourself (9) : Paula Abdul! And she isn't off key! (junglefish: insert joke about Sowon)
I just KNOW the Sunny Summer mini is lowkey their most underrated mini. This gem, Sweety, Vacation and one of their brightest title tracks being in it? Some of you can't help but CHOKE on their SPF 50+ eleganza! I love summer
Leaving us at #70 is Rain In The Spring Time, also known by its Korean name 봄비 (Bombi, literally 'spring rain'), from 'The Awakening.'
Composed by Mafly and Keyfly, who also wrote and composed Contrail, Rain In The Spring Time is stunning. You guys. It really, really, really is and even though I gave it a high score, I regret not giving it a 10. I wasn't under any impression that it would do super well in the rate, considering it's a ballad, so I'm not too sad about its placement but still, it deserved better. I think it may even have grown to be my favorite track on the EP after FINGERTIP?
What I love so much about this song is how gentle and delicate it sounds. Even when Yuju delivers one of her most beautiful high notes near the end of the song, there's something understated and elegant about it. At the same time, you get a certain sense of strength from the synths in the pre-chorus, which is one of my favorite parts of the song. Rain In The Spring Time is also the kind of song that, even if you don't understand the lyrics, tells a story. Not to be too sappy, but you don't need to know what the girls are singing about to feel your heart breaking a little. Not gonna lie, listening to it on repeat to write this, I now have the biggest lump in my throat and I'm ready to melancholically sob while looking out the window.
If you do look up the lyrics though, chances are you'll feel your heart breaking not a little but a lot. It's not that they're sad, it's just that they're beautiful, evoking the comfort finding that certain someone can bring you. Here, that certain someone is compared to a warm spring rain, making the cold go away and washing up the bad memories, helping you bloom and be yourself. Aaah, I know I said I didn't want to get too sappy, sawry! I just can't help it, that's the effect a wonderful ballad like this one has on me!
What did our panel of esteemed voters think of Rain In The Spring Time? I'm glad you asked!
@eatyourself (7.75) : Very pretty, sounds like the song that plays when the girl and the boy meet each other under the rain and it all goes slow motion.
@M24 (6.25) : It's not my favorite rain-themed song from them, but it's still good! It's among my lowest scores though because, well, I'm more of a fan of their uptempo stuff rather than their ballads.
Sorry for the irregular updates but life's been a bit weird lately! Before my fabulous co-host lets you know about our next elimination, lemme talk to you about the runner-up of the prestigious Jessica Jung Lookalike Contest, SinB.
Born Hwang Eun-bi in June 1998, SinB is since their debut GFRIEND's dancing queen. She's also one of their most charismatic members, known for her sense of humour and no-nonsense attitude. From an early age, SinB showed a great interest in the arts and the entertainment industry, dancing, acting and modelling in particular. As a child, she was a child model and was known as an ulzzang kid, from the Korean term meaning 'best face'. Her face is also what brought her a lot of attention in her pre-debut and debut days! As I pointed out before, SinB bears more than a passing ressemblance to the ex-SNSD member, best selling author and sunglasses designer Jessica Jung. For those who've been following K-Pop for a while, looking like a member from a famous girl group has always been a big deal, on par with bagging a fried chicken endorsement deal, so congratulations SinB! You can thank your parents for those genes.
As I pointed out in Eunha's profile, SinB and Eunha are childhood friends and met while attending a dance academy together. When the latter joined Loen Entertainment, SinB joined Big Hit, where she trained for five years alongside a bunch of guys who later became known as the Bulletproof Boy Scouts or whatever. Just like Eunha and Yerin, she's got a bunch of idol friends, among them ASTRO's heart-throb Moonbin, GOT7's Jackson, WJSN's Eunseo and Yeoreum and iKON's Chanwoo. If SinB hadn't joined Source Music and become an idol, she's said before that she would have liked to be a female soldier. Okay! Why not. She's also declared that G-Dragon is her ideal type and BIGBANG her favorite group, so I think she just likes to troll people and throw random facts at them. At least that's what I hope!
My favorite thing about SinB, other than her dancing abilities and her vocals, is definitely her personality. I don't watch much Korean variety or reality shows, but from what I've seen that's where she shines the most. Not to say that she isn't a good performer because she absolutely is. Overflowing with charisma, she can alternate between pure concepts, girl crush performances or bring out the sexy (omg cringing at myself rn). Outside of GFRIEND, she lent her talents to SM for the STATION single Wow Thing, in collaboration with Red Velvet's Seulgi, Chungha and (G)I-DLE's Soyeon. A cute little ditty that showed her versatility and ability to adapt to a different concept than GFRIEND's powerful innocence.
After GFRIEND's unfortunate disbandment, SinB joined BPM Entertainment alongside Eunha and Umji, with whom she formed the group VIVIZ. Together, they participated in the second season of Mnet's Queer Dom, where they placed 3rd. Week after week, her honest reactions and her sense of humour brought the show some much needed attention and cemented her as an all-rounder: dancer, singer, tv personality. And that's talent.