It is on this day that I, Popjustice user savilizabeths, must eliminate a song that almost recieved my bonus point. 'Night Drive' is one of the trio of duet tracks on GFriend's final album, Walpurgis Night. This one is sung by vocal queens Yuju & Eunha and is the second duet to exit the rate, leaving Umji & Sowon's 'Better Me' as the final duo track standing. It actually peaked the lowest on the Gaon Download Chart at #107, while the first eliminated unit song, 'Secret Diary', peaked the highest and #102. Interesting.
Written and composed by frequent GFriend collaborator, No Ju-hwan, the song also features Eunha & Yuju in the writing credits! They did a wonderful job, because the lyrics to 'Night Drive' are absolutely beautiful. The best way I can describe the song is melancholy. Everything about it from the lyrics to the instrumenation to the girls vocal performance. Lyrically it feels sad and uplifting at the same time. The "I'm fine, I'm good. I'm fine, I'm good enough" part feels so hopeful and tugs at my heart strings every time. The official descripton says that the song is about "giving comfort to yourself and between each other every night that it is okay to change your destination when it's not easy to get to your designated destination." I definitely feel that comfort here. I feel like I'm being reassured and held close when I listen to 'Night Drive' and that's part of what makes it so special. I actually feel like this is a song where the lyrics don't translate as impactful as they probably are to Korean speakers. The English translated lyrics are lovely, but I have a feeling they're even lovelier than the translation can convey.
I suppose I'm not surprised by the songs elimination. It's a understated ballad after all and while that is very much my thing, it isn't for everyone. Especially here. The song is so special to me though, I hoped it might go a little further. Sadly upping my score to 11 would not have made a difference. One of our commentors @M24 says that the song is a little disappointing because it doesn't give Yuju & Eunha the chance to truly show off what they can do vocally. I don't agree with this actually. We have heard what they can do and I like that instead they chose to go a different route and show that there's beauty in simplicity. I still think this is a gorgeous vocal showcase for both of them! It's the perfect song for both of their voices. Yuju's tone is smoky and rich and Eunha's is so sweet and clear, they come together to convey the feelings of the song perfectly while also sounding fantastic! They harmonize incredibly too, the blend is gorgeous. I genuinely get chills listening to this. It's hauntingly beautiful!
Since I am singing the songs praises, I am going to list some of my favourite parts for you now! The production on the intro and the first verse, I feel like it sets up the vibes really well and I really enjoy the finger snaps. Eunha's delicate phrasing in the first verse, I don't know how to describe but something about the way she sings every word so specifically??? I love the way it sounds! "Smoke doesn't make me feel good." The fact that both verses have different melodies! It adds interest and highlights each girls voice so well! Everything about that bridge! The way they trade lines so smoothly, it's such a great climax before falling beautifully into Eunha's low harmony. It just flows so well! The way Eunha sounds so pretty on her gentle, falsetto moments and how effortlessly Yuju travels from note to note. THAT FUZZY EFFECT ON YUJU'S VOICE AT THE END OF THE BRIDGE! I go nuts for it every time. It adds this darkness and just sounds so unique but fits the songs vibes so well! Eunha's ad libs on the final chorus! And of course, finally, as I have already mentioned..."I'm fine, I'm good. I'm fine, I'm good enough!" Perfection!
All of that to say, while the song may seem simple and understated, it has so much going on. So many little standout moments that draw me in, no matter how many times I hear it. It really is in my top two GFriend songs, and I think it forever will be. It's also a song that I learned and is one of the few Kpop songs I feel completely comfortable and confident singing! So, it has that added layer of specialness for me.
Actually listen to it on a night drive by the way, or a night bus ride if you're me because I don't drive. It elevates it even more! Now onto our commentary!
@eatyourself (10) : This song hurts so much. I heard it so often right before they disbanded that when the news came out this song hit even harder. It's so mellow and touching but still somewhat somber and melancholic. Their voices go so well together here, probably because they sing in a key they are comfortable in. "Smoke doesn't make me feel good" never leaves my head. I'm rooting for a VIVIZ x Yuju collab stage of this one.
@M24 (6.5) : For a Yuju and Eunha downtempo, I'm a little whelmed. I expected a song where they could show off their vocals some more. And even then, the production itself is a little too stagnant, except for that AMAZING middle-8 where it kicks it up a notch and becomes a more moody affair for a little bit. Wish that energy had been carried in the rest of the song.
@Wills (8.25) : This came on as I was approaching downtown after midnight and you know what? It kinda slayed!
I'm bleeding 10s now, aren't I? Will you guys give me a break next elim? I suppose time will tell. Regardless of my suffering, today I must send 'Crush' packing. Appearing on the groups fourth mini album, The Awakening, 'Crush' was written and composed by the legendary, e.one and it certainly sounds like it. Tell me this isn't a continuation of 'Gone With the Wind', I dare you! And good for it!
I have to keep talking about it, 'Gone With the Wind' and 'Crush' are so linked in my head. Lyrically, they're not very similar but there are aspects of the production and melodies themselves that really remind me of each other. In a good way, not in a stale, these songs are exactly the same kind of way. I think what really does it is that second half of the chorus and the post-chorus. The "duduru" parts and the instrumental breakdown in the post-chorus "ping dol ah" parts specifically. 'Crush' feels like a slightly more mature (again, not lyrically) version though. It's a little richer and bigger, with a little more punch. They're both 10 out of 10s for sure.
Is it just me or do the lyrics contrast really interestingly to the actual production? They're melodramatic, which fits with the punch-y strings but they're also quite sad. Singing about crying and suffering from an unrequited love. I kind of like this take though, we have plenty of brilliant, dramatic GFriend ballads. They just sound so happy though, especially in that chorus. It's amusing to me. I definitely enjoy the drama of the production. I adore how many GFriend songs prioritise strings in the instrumentation. Especially for their upbeat songs, I have a special place in my heart for up tempo tracks including some stellar strings! The electronic vibes are so fun and I just feel like the song has so much energy propelling you forward. The melodies are top notch too despite what @Wills says in the commentary section ddd. They're constantly changing and evolving and they're so catchy, I have them in my head for hours after listening to the song!
Even though Eunha actually has more seconds in the line distribution, this is a Yuju song to me. Every time she sings it feels like she's whacking me over the head with her powerful vocals, in the best way! Eunha and SinB sound good too, but Yuju really does run away with it. My one complaint is that her adlibs on the final chorus are buried so far back in the mix that I can barely hear them and I think we, as Buddies, deserve better than that.
Now let's hear what you guys have to say!!
@eatyourself (10) : Should have been a title track. Ping dol ah!
@M24 (7.25) : A real grower! The chorus doesn't seem that good at first, but that's because it's so long and changing so it's difficult to get used to it! I love the melodrama in the lyrics too! This is the sort of teen love song I can get behind ddd.
@ysev (10) : Very very April! Ahhh I am getting emotional. Remember when Gfriend, April, Lovelyz and Oh My Girl were all active around the same time? We were all so happy those days…
@Wills (7.25) : Texture-wise, it’s among the best of their new jack swing tracks; melodically, it’s among the worst
Now this is a mess. It's not enough that this song is leaving well before its time, three of you voters gave it a score of 6??? Insanity. I can't even accuse them of being haters because I know they're not! Anyway, I'm feeling... distraught but let's move on and talk about the incredible song that is Eye of the Storm.
The second track on GFRIEND's 2019 EP 'Song of the Sirens', Eye of the Storm was written by what's almost a small village: "Hitman" Bang, Alyssa Ayaka Ichinose, Charlotte Churchman, David Brant, Mike Macdermid, nicejintime, Lee Min-seung, Lee Seu-ran, Yuju and Umji all apparently participated in its creation. I always find it funny when I see so many names attached to one song, like, how many are those are vanity credits? Maybe none and if that's the case good job to everyone because even with so many cooks in the kitchen, they managed to write a song that doesn't feel like a mishmash of ideas. It sounds coherent and fully fledged out all throughout, each part fitting perfectly with the next until it reaches its climax, that absolutely beautiful bridge that's one with the final chorus. A moment.
The genesis of Eye of the Storm is actually very interesting. Described as a 'rock-based song' with a 'trendy and emotional melody' and a 'powerful yet delicate-feeling sound', it was inspired by Yuju's diary entries from a few years ago, when she was going through some difficult and hectic times. Back then, she used to spend time alone for a few minutes every day to get herself together, a time she called 'Hour of the Eye of the Storm' and in which she wrote down everything that went through her mind. I don't want to speculate but I think every Buddy has an idea of when that was and it was pretty awful not knowing if Yuju was okay and if she was ever coming back to the group. I'm glad we got a great song out of it, at least!
The lyrics are very evocative and make a lot of sense when you know how the song came out to be. It basically tells us to push through the hardships because in the end those won't break you. Here the hardships are symbolized by the storm around the narrator, who walks straight to the eye of the storm to find themself again. From destruction comes creation and all that.
To end this writeup, I need to mention how good the girls all sound. I know I've said it a lot of my writeups but here it's even more evident. I especially love Eunha whose vocals are absolutely perfect for this type of song. She almost steals the spotlight away from Yuju. Almost.
@eatyourself (6) : I know I'm in the minority with my opinion on this song. It just feels a bit cosplayish, as if HYBE had thought "oh they make anime music?" and went with this one. The instrumental doesn't go hard enough, I miss guitars and heavy drums. The verses are super pretty though.
@M24 (8.75) : Another incredible b-side… the pre-chorus is sublime, and the chorus grew on me a lot. I think what ultimately made me settle for a high score was the lyrics: they seem to talk about finding oneself in adversity to come out stronger. The part "I hear the scream of silence in this silent refuge of promises" (or something of the sort) reads like an actual poem. And then the final chorus changes the lyrics and they're about coming out of the eye of the storm having found your own direction and rules. That kind of self-reflection is exactly what I need right now, trying to make a life for myself for the first time as an adult. If I weren't such a tough binch with my scores, I'd give it a 10.
@Attis (8) : Eye of the Storm is a case that just because it has faster beat, it will be great
Oop. Kind of a Monkey's paw moment for the good sis @Wills who's been clamoring for more Fever Season elims and sees his second highest score from that album eliminated today.
Smile is the third track on Fever Season and it's great. It's so sweet and such a breath of fresh air, perfect for a summer EP. Composed by longtime collaborators No Joo-hwan and Lee Won-jong, Smile is one of those b-sides you might like on first listen but not think about much once the last note hits. Until it slowly creeps up on you and you find yourself muttering 'Smile, smile more! smile smile more!' under your breath. With how catchy and repetitive it is, it could sound a lot more juvenile than it actually does and that it doesn't is thanks to the girls, of course. Even though you can hear they're forcing the cutesy schtick, it never gets grating. Even Eunha reins in the cheese factor, and we all know she sometimes struggles with that! She sounds great throughout the song and is really the perfect person to lead Smile.
My only complaint is that beautiful instrumental part in the bridge being much too short. I could have listened to that part for at least 15 seconds more tbh. The guitar, that random distorted voice in the background... There's something so fresh and fun about that part while being super well produced. I LOVE IT.
The lyrics are sweet, Smile is one of those, huh, self-help songs djhdfjd but it works well and I really like how confident the lyrics make the girls sound:
Look at me when I’m saying this nicely
Look only at me, treat me better
Smile, smile more
Smile, smile more
So that I’m not envious of anyone
Don’t hold back and look at me
So that I can feel all of your love
Smile, smile more
Smile, smile more
Even if other people give you strange looks
And it’s okay
What did you buddies think of the song? Let's find out! @M24 (8.75) : Another incredible b-side… the pre-chorus is sublime, and the chorus grew on me a lot. I think what ultimately made me settle for a high score was the lyrics: they seem to talk about finding oneself in adversity to come out stronger. The part "I hear the scream of silence in this silent refuge of promises" (or something of the sort) reads like an actual poem. And then the final chorus changes the lyrics and they're about coming out of the eye of the storm having found your own direction and rules. That kind of self-reflection is exactly what I need right now, trying to make a life for myself for the first time as an adult. If I weren't such a tough binch with my scores, I'd give it a 10.
@M24 (9.5) : They sound a lot like Twice here… which is not a bad thing in my book! Eunha's parts in the chorus are killer here. If it weren't for those melodies in the chorus, the song would be a bit too grating with that hook alone. As it is, it is one of my favorite b-sides from them.
Wills (9.75) : For some reason I had it in my mind that Fever Season was mostly a miss for me, outside of the title track – so it was a joy to have this grow on me like a rash! The instrumental is controlled chaos in the best way.
Bestie this is still from their pre-HYBE era but your comment got me thinking that for all their time as a group.......they were always in cahoots with Big Hit. It's one of the most fascinating things about the group – that they were always there until their unexplained disbandment! Also I'm smailing at this elimination!!!! Take that @Wills!!