LOOΠΔ 1/3 – LOVE&LIVE
1. Into the New Heart (Guitar By Jungmo [X-mas] of TRAX)
3. You and Me Together
4. Fairy Tale
5. Valentine Girl
The "advanced concept" group LOOΠΔ has a new subunit, LOOΠΔ 1/3, has just dropped their very first mini-album. The members are Vivi, Haseul, Heejin, and Hyunjin, and they're coming at you with their new release, 'Love&Live.'
The EP launches with "Into the New Heart." This is an awesome track, with guitar work by Jungmo (best known as X-mas of TRAX). It's a seriously intense tune and a great blend of billowy synth and blazing guitar. The problem is that it's an intro track, meant to indicate the tone of the album. On its own, it's fantastic. But as an intro, the song sets an expectation that isn't there. "Into the New Heart" is an outlier, and no other track sounds like it.
The title track is "Love&Live," a sweet, poppy song. The song is cute and fun, and the lyrics are even a little different than what you might expect. It is a love song (surprise!) but there are a couple of lines that made me laugh, like the guy being a huge homework assignment and she wants to solve each problem separately. The melody itself, however, does little to distinguish itself. It's not bad, but it's not as amazing as a title track should be. I'd be more forgiving if MonoTree, who wrote, composed and arranged this one, was a rookie production team -- but they're not.
"You and Me Together" probably should have been the single they released for promotions. The synth stabs, the beat, the cute pre-choruses, not to mention the chorus itself simply pops. It is full on pop, and it does a lot more for me than "Love&Live." It's more full and lush and sounds more like a complete song - it also has some sweet bridges to boot. The arrangements are stronger, and it's a perfectly packaged tune. Probably my favorite on the EP, aside from the intro.
"Fairy Tale" is a ballad, but it's different. I like how songwriters are starting to get the idea that the standard ballad is played out and bland. This doesn't sound anything like other ballads, and I like how the production is completely understated, doing what music is meant to, buoying the singer instead of burying her. It's adorable, sweet, and not overwrought, more like a lullaby than anything else. And it totally works.
"Valentine Girl" has a retro beat that doesn't really grab me. Anyone familiar with my reviews knows that I'm not a fan of retro music at all. There are few attempts at that style that work -- Wonder Girls' "Nobody" is the nadir, as far as I'm concerned. Other than that, not so much. This tune is okay, but nothing special. It seems a bit bland, and overly-innocent. I love the harmonies, I'll give them that.
This album is kind of a flawed gem. It's not so much that it's terrible, it's just that the material could have been stronger. There are three really good tracks on here, solid tunes that show me what could have been. The rest seem a bit like filler, and filler should still entertain. It seems like they liked one chord, too and repeated that throughout the EP. I do think they have potential, though, and I'm looking forward to seeing the producers really play to their strengths in the future.
The girls are relay runners for their school in their new MV "Love&Live!"
Well, sort of. The MV starts with running and syncopated breaths. The girls stop and rest together, but Vivi appears unaffected, even robotic. It focuses in on her eye, which contains some kind of plasma there. I thought nothing of it until later on, where it explains entirely why she's standing alone, away from the other members. And it's an interesting reason, to boot.
I like the way this plays out. I feel a bit put off by the fact that I didn't pick up on the clues they dropped in the beginning. With so many MVs riddled with special effects, I figured it was one of those and didn't get it until around mid-MV. I think it was an interesting conceit, and one that didn't require too much of a drastic effect, so the idea is understated, lost in the other girls' relay race. Really well done, and the net effect is a bit melancholy.
The dancing is fair to middling. In some parts very girly, but nothing special -- though to be fair, they did more than merely shake their hips (thankfully), but the dancing isn't really the main part of the MV at all. The girls looked absolutely adorable in their outfits, though.
Did it have much to do with the song? Yes and no. Yes in the fact that the title appeared on the readout for the energy pack. No, because the song is not about that at all. All in all, it was a cool concept, and the girls played their parts well. Filmed in New Zealand and Hong Kong, the backgrounds were really pretty too; it was a beautiful sunny day, exactly the way it's not in my part of the world. Well done.