Today we return to the album 'LOL', though I'm sure @boombazookajoe is going to be disappointed it's not 'Water Flower' getting the axe. Instead, it's the more lowkey track, 'Mermaid'. The song was composed by GFriend's labelmates, vocal group MIO. We'll see them pop up again on one of my least favourite GFriend tracks and one of my all time favourites later on. 'Mermaid' even charted on both the Gaon Digital Chart and the Gaon Download Chart, debuting at #83 & #41 respectively. Not bad for a song we only deemed worthy of 80th place.
Now, I am a big fan of this album. It might even be my favourite release of theirs. However, if we had to cut another song then I'm not too upset that it's this one. It's kinda just there? Super pretty and enjoyable when you're listening to it but once the song changes to 'Sunshine' I've honestly forgot about it. Both songs are softer, more relaxed moments on the album but 'Sunshine' just hits the mark more for me. It has something special to it that keeps me coming back while I only really listen to 'Mermaid' in the context of the album. This might actually be the first song I think I slightly overscored instead of underscored.
I can't find any confirmation of this, but based on the lyrics I definitely think 'Mermaid' is written about the story of The Little Mermaid. The girls sing about loving someone who doesn't know them. Hopeless love where you can only watch from afar and wish. Lyrics like "Because I can't go to you, because I can't say anything. Even if my heart disappears like foam," and "Even if I can't say a word, I hope he feels it" are just giving me Ariel vibes, you cannot convince me otherwise. In the original Hans Christian Andersen story, she even turns into sea foam at the end so....I sound delusional but I'm right and that's it.
The instrumentation is lovely! The introduction is actually the highlight of the song for me. The wave sounds and the way the strings and guitars intertwine. I love it! I like the vibes of the softer verses too and the melody of the "badaya" and "barama" bits! I think the vocals are actually my least favourite part of the song. There's nothing paricularly impressive about them, not even Yuju really. I mean, she always sounds good but her high note isn't really anything to write home about. And my girl Umji sounds really rough on the bridge! Whoever decided to use that vocal take needs to be fired for Umji sabotage!
Since I'm all out of things to say, lets hear from the three people who left commentary.
@eatyourself (7.25) : Very cute and I love the instrumental flourishes.
@M24 (7.5) : A real grower, I don't think I appreciated it the first times I listened to the album. The melody in that chorus is lovely, maybe the verses drag it down a bit for me.
@Wills (5) : A debut full-length with only one dud? Unheard of! Sadly this is the dud. That power note… a nightmare.
At #79, we say goodbye to 'The Beginning of Love' from 'Fallin' Light'. Not bad for a song with no 10!
I gotta say, I'm surprised this one made it further than 'Beautiful'! I didn't even add it to my cute little 'Fallin' Light' EP I made when the album was released. Since this rate, though, it has been added and get a few plays here and there from me. I'm always kinda surprised when the song starts because for some reason I associate it with a ballad, which it's not... like... at all? The wonders of the mind.
Arranged and composed by Kim Jung-woo and two frequent collaborators of the group, Noh Joo-hwan and Lee Won-jong, 'The Beginning of Love' is huh. I'm not sure if I'd call it uptempo or midtempo? Either way, like previously noted, it's not a ballad! That said, it's not lacking in emotions and dramatics. There's something about the way the girls are singing that feels a bit strange to me, I know they're aiming for that kind of yearning feeling that's often caused by love but it feels a bit too affected? Of course, Yuju still sounds great but Sowon in the bridge. Jesus. Get that girl away from the mic I'm not listening to that!
Now, I realise I was a bit harsh in the previous paragraph, but I do genuinely 'The Beginning of Love'. I particularly love the quasi-acoustic intro, kind of the calm before the storm. Well storm is a big word. Let's say the calm before the light drizzle. It's beautiful and delicate and then Yuju enters the ring and knocks you off your feet, which I know we all enjoy here. I also appreciate the general vibe of the song and the adlib extravaganza that are the last few seconds of the track. Also, is it just me or is that one of the many songs on the album to have kind of a... latin flair? They were eyeing the South American market with this one.
All in all, 'The Beginning of Love' is good but it's not the most exciting GFRIEND song or even the best example of them tackling that sound. I understand why it's leaving now and, proof that miracles do happen, I agree with you guys!
Today we lose a song from 'The Awakening', GFRIEND's EP released in 2017 that many saw as a turning point in the group's career. 'Please Save My Earth' isn't, as its title would suggest, an ecopop song, a genre that peeked with @codecat's favorite song of all time 'Respire' by Secret Story alumna Daniela. No! Our favorite girls said yes to greenwashing and made it all about them, since the earth in the song is actually a metaphor for a girl talking to her flame, represented here as the moonlight. The lyrics for this track, written by MIO, are actually pretty stunning! Apart from the ones highlighted above, I love those:
In my dreams, in my universe
It’s only you and me
I became the Earth
And you became the moonlight that wrapped around me
As you shined on me
I'm gagged that this track did so bad teebs. It's always been one of my faves from pre-TFTMN GFRIEND. I love how soft the intro is and how suddenly the rhythm changes. The chorus with its orchestral feel is just majestic and conveys the meaning of the song perfectly. Yerin in particular sounds like some kind of tragic heroine trying to reach out to her forbidden love. Kind of like a Korean Juliet if Juliet was the Earth and Romeo was the moon or whatever. I have no idea where I'm going with this but if you get it, you get it, if you don't, you don't. Interestingly enough, 'Please Save My Earth' is also the name of one of the best selling shoujo manga of all time, which is about teenagers who once used to be aliens observing the Earth from the Moon? Something like that? I have no idea I just read about it on Wikipedia! It's probably not a coincidence as GFRIEND have in their career released songs inspired by famous manga.
Now, after reading some of you guys' commentary, I can understand the criticism ‘Please Save My Earth’ got in the rate. The production is not that great and makes the song sound a bit... muddy? fff You know what I mean? Like it kinda needs to be powerwashed so the vocals sound clearer and a bit less muffled. I never paid attention to it and it's probably because GFRIEND is my favorite group and my brain is wired to consider everything they ever put their name to as perfect (or at the very least GOOD), but you raised some valid points. Speaking of, let's get to those comments!
This performance...truly a peak of chaos in Portuguese TV! The way the adjective "negative" is not enough to describe the charisma of this Ecological warrior who tbh walked so Greta Thunberg could tweet "Lisbon!" when she arrived at a climate thing or whatever in Lisbon. Daniela's back then boyfriend just ROASTING her with his expressions while she performs. The hosts having more entertainment quality than her and they're only sitting down and flailing their arms....Go girl gives us nothing is not enough. Anyway follow this woman's example and turn off your lights at home when you don't need them! Save the trees! x
I have quite a few 6s left I believe, so I'd rather see them gone first, but I just can't be mad about the past few eliminations because there were all 7s for me, so I just don't feel - like...anything - about them ddd.
Listen, 'Secret Diary' isn't bad by any means. It's a very sweet RnB influenced song that brings you back to the early days of the group. It's not a song I skip when I listen to the album and I don't have anything against it, really. But, and you knew a 'but' was coming, I've always felt like it stuck out like a sore thumb on 'Walpurgis Night'.
The track, on which both Yerin and SinB have writing credits, is the first subunit song on the album and as such, it just feels a bit... disappointing? If you give Buddies subunit songs after so many years of begging for them, you better make sure those songs are of the highest caliber. Or at least you make sure you don't start the subunit section of the album with the weakest track, which 'Secret Diary' is, to me. The pairing for the song is also surprising. Not that Yerin and SinB don't sound good together, because they do, but the saccharine sound of 'Secret Diary' isn't something I feel fits SinB. I'm probably wrong about that though, as I think the girls were all pretty involved with the composition and lyrics of all three tracks. I also gotta admit that I was mad my favorite member, Yerin, wasn't part of another subunit ff. Oh well.
Now, as I said before, 'Secret Diary' isn't bad. Taken out of the context of its parent album, there are a lot of things to enjoy here. I mentioned the girls' vocals before and while they're not jaw dropping or even very remarkable, there's a certain warmth to them that makes it a very pleasant listen and feels like a perfect fit for the track. I also enjoy the simplicity of the song, which really makes it shine. It's not a song that needs a lot of tricks and hooks and some incredible production that you've never heard before. It's smooth and lovely, like a nice fruity candy, the kind that's only made with natural flavours and doesn't leave much of a taste in your mouth once you're finished. What I'm trying to say is that it's a good song, just not very memorable and if anything from 'Walpurgis Night' had to leave this early, I feel this was the only correct choice.
But enough about my opinion. Let's have a look at what you guys had to say, starting with our good sis and 11-giver @boombazookajoe:
When I was just a baby K-Pop gay (in late 2020 ddd), Walpurgis Night was one of the first full length K album that I kind of stanned from first listen. MAGO was a masterpiece, Three Of Cups gave me everything I could want in a song, but then I got to this trio of songs in the middle. At the time, I was barely a Buddy, I didn't know these girls names, how many of them there were, any of that. I didn't know until much later that Secret Diary, Better Me, and Night Drive were all sub-unit tracks and only featured two of the girls. But I loved them. At the end of the day, I probably could have given me 11 to any one of these songs, but there is something so calming and sweet about Secret Diary. It feels like a warm hug. The "lucky lucky girl" hook is one of the catchiest moments in their discography. The fact that it's a song about Yerin and SinB's long friendship makes it even cuter.
@eatyourself (9) : My least favorite of this album's duets but still a soft sweet moment.
@M24 (7.25) : This is very cute, maybe a little too literally cute, almost like it doesn't fit the whole "mature/sexy" vibe of Walpurgis Night. It's still great and undeniably Gfriend; I just think Sinb and Yerin could've got a bop in the style of Better Me, and that would've been way better than this.
@Wills (7.75) : These unit tracks are so pleasant!
@thommyh (8) : It's a nice song, but it feels really inconsequential on the album.
What do you Buddies think the other half of the tie is?