G-FRIEND - SEASON OF GLASS ALBUM AND MV REVIEW
Source Music has put together the girl group G-Friend, consisting of 6 members: Sowon, SinB, Yerin, Yuju, Eunha, and Umji. Their debut mini album, 'Season of Glass,' dropped January 15. We've seen some teasers and were even treated to an album medley. Let's see how all of this comes together.
The album is introduced by "Season of Glass," a pretty good intro. It's got some mystery to it, an epic theme to it, and it promises great things.
The second track, "Glass Bead," starts (oddly) with clock tones, and then starts the obligatory insistent uptempo piano riff and synth whistles. The more I listened to this the more it grew on me. It's not a bad tune per se, it's just that all the tropes are there: cute-voiced singers, the chorus, the main verses, the abrupt ending, and a catchy-but-ultimately-generic melody and arrangement. I like the lyrics, though: "I may seem like a clear glass bead / But I won't break that easily...Just like the sparkling dew under the moon / Did it seem like I'd disappear?"
"Neverland" continues much in the same vein, except it's tons more catchy. I think I would have released this one in lieu of "Glass Bead." There's much more energy here, it's much more singable, it has more hooks, and it's still pleasant and not-over-the-top. There's more English in this song, too, which may be why it pops more.
Starting with a somewhat bombastic beat, "White" is a mid-tempo pop confection. It's not hard to imagine why I like this one a lot more than the title track. It seems like it's sung with some emotion and it's fairly catchy. I think they let the girls loose on this track and let each of their personalities come out more. Yuju's voice in particular stands out to me.
This is an album I wasn't sure about at first. The title track certainly doesn't do any justice to the rest of it. On its face, it seems like just another girl group doing generic music. It doesn't have the fierceness of 2NE1, the gonzo antics of Orange Caramel, or the sexiness of Girl's Day.
But it does have heart. And this band's just starting out, so of course they're going to struggle to find their niche.
I think these girls will go far if Source Music handles them correctly. I like the debut and what they've done here, though I think giving the girls more input into their music wouldn't do any harm. If we take out the utterly forgettable "Glass Bead," then we have a pretty infectious set of bubblegum pop that's pleasing to the ear. Watch these girls! I fully expect more pleasant surprises in future releases.
Sadly, the video reminds me of last year's "Candy Jelly Love" by Lovelyz, only the song isn't as good. Soft light, toothy smiles, cute school girl outfits, and cutesy-fun school girl antics. It's all here, just like the song is packaged, sanitized, and perfect, but lacking. It's respectful to their age range (17-20), at least.
The dance is meant to be cute. I see signs of A Pink, Girl's Generation, and others. It's meant to be a fairy-like presentation of the group. This is entirely deliberate, I think. It's meant to summon up images and emotions about those bands I just mentioned. You're not supposed to think "sexy," you're supposed to think "cute," and then feel good about what you're watching because you already know and like those other groups.
I'm seeing a trend here in the music industry, and I like it. It's almost like some of them are deliberately shelving the sexy concept, in part because these girls are very young. I see a lot of these sexy MVs and songs as desperate attempts to stay relevant. But how do you top that? Once you push the envelope too much, people start pushing back.
But you can go from cute to a more filled-out concept. Think about it: you debut cute to get attention from K-Pop lovers. And then you start to get edgier and more risque in your presentation. You end up with something more cutting-edge like Ji Eun's "Don't Look At Me Like That" or Nicole's "Mama." And that's what I see here: potential.
I'm marking it up because of reviewer's swing. Because I want to see these girls do well. And I don't think they'll disappoint me.