GFRIEND – 'FEVER SEASON'
2. Mr. Blue
7. FLOWER (Korean Ver.)
8. Fever (Inst.)
GFriend has just released their newest EP, 'Fever Season,' just in time for summer. It's got 8 tracks – technically 6 new ones – a J-pop rework and an instrumental for the title track. This is their 7th mini-album to date and their first comeback in 6 months. Of course, "Fever" has already crushed several music streaming charts including Mnet and Soribada. "Hope" is probably the standout track, written for the fans and written by the members themselves.
"Fever" is the title track. It's a little out of character for GFriend, though probably right in line with the direction they've been heading for the past couple releases. It's a good song, but the dance breaks confused me. It lacks the wistful themes that suffused much of GFriend's work since "Me Gustas Tu" and informed their biggest hits. Right alongside the first track, we get "Mr. Blue." It's similar to "Fever," but more filled out somehow. Maybe it's the bass, maybe it's the violin elements that play in the background. They don't drop everything for a dance break, either. This sounds like some of the B-sides on their earlier work.
"Smile" starts with whistling, and ends up being a more playful song than the earlier two. It's definitely cute and ends up upstaging TWICE in more ways than one. It also sounds like they're moving into the void left by A Pink's shift to a more mature sound. The super-high voices are what makes this work so well. So we move to "Wish," which is less playful and is more or less straightforward. It's got some elements in common with "Smile," but is its own beast. The song is a little slower than what we've heard so far, with more drawn out choruses and a sweet bridge. It's a pretty song, though.
"Paradise" starts rather confidently with some powerful chords, and a synth keeps the time for the main verses. The cute nonsense words, in the beginning, find their way into the chorus. I like some of the staccato, stop-start nature of some of it. It heightens the tension and keeps it from being just another pop tune. Tinkling synths introduce "Hope" and let it come floating into your ears. I like this one. It's got some R&B elements to it, and we get more of the wistful tones that I love so much. Yes, the chorus doesn't keep it there, but the song's good enough to lose yourself in. "FLOWER" is a Korean version of their Japanese single released in March of this year. What does it sound like? A lot like the original "Flower." If you're used to the Japanese version, then this might not be your cup of tea. But it's a full-bodied pop tune and has some of the same flourishes of the "Rough" era.
I've talked a lot about their earlier work, and yes, I'm a fan. I hopped on board with "Me Gustas Tu" and never looked back. The girls haven't lost any of their vocal prowess on this EP, though, even if they have re-directed it. The voices are a bit higher, but the composition is largely as solid as ever. There were even some time changes on the title track that I thought was interesting. If we can say that musical evolution is a journey, then I'm happy to be along for the ride.
The girls of GFriend pose while singing about their "Fever."
Everything in this MV is largely manufactured, from the desert scenes with cacti to the facade they're dancing in front of, to the palm trees that grow outside the buildings. But one thing is true: it's all nicely put together. The blue sky is pretty, the sand is nice looking and clean, even the inside scenes are quite elegant. We have tropical plants and beautiful shots of the group itself. If you were looking for a pretty MV, this would be one of those more recent ones to choose from.
The sad thing is you don't get to see much of the choreo they worked up for this. Their movements are largely different and diverge from the original concept they had. There's more arm movement, but less of the whirling and high stepping they did previously. And while you can check out the dances on Inkigayo or other music shows, it still feels like we're missing out.
But still, for all its flaws, it kept me watching. Whether it was the lighting, the song itself with hints of moombahton, or maybe the girls themselves, they kept my eyes glued to the screen.
MV SCORE: 8.0
ALBUM SCORE: 8.0