GFRIEND – 回:LABYRINTH
2. Crossroads *Title
3. Here We Are
6. From Me
GFriend has just dropped their newest EP, '回:Labyrinth.' It has six songs, including the title track 'Crossroads.' This is their first comeback since their old label Source Music was acquired by Big Hit Entertainment last year. '回:Labyrinth' is a concept album, and tells the story of a girl growing into adulthood.
"Labyrinth" starts out with bright keyboards, but gives way to a guitar backing track. Before long, the song gets clear, energetic vocals. By that point, I'm getting some serious Dreamcatcher vibes. And I'm not talking about the B-side here. It's a good song, but is it really GFriend? We return to a more GFriend-like sound on "Crossroads." It's not a 100% return, though. This song is a little lighter and airier than what we're used to. Other than that, it is classic GFriend -- the wistful sound, the desperate vocals... In short, the reasons why we like the band. There's also more electric guitar influence than what I've heard before. This is the part of the album where the girl has to make a choice -- she's come to a crossroads.
"Here We Are" is little more in your face than previous B-sides. The tune is appropriately light and poppy, but the chorus is bright and bold. It's kind of change for this band, but I like it because it puts the vocals front and center. Initially sounding a lot like the title track, we have "Eclipse." Sonically, they have a lot in common. The keyboards remind me of "Rough," at times. Quickly it becomes its own tune and sheds the influences I just told you about. The song is cute with a tinge of longing to it. "Dreamcatcher" begins with a distorted guitar, almost like it's out of tune. The main verses sound singer-songwritery, and the song builds to an inspiring refrain. I like the stripped-back nature of the mains, though. This song is definitely a bop. If I thought the previous track was a bit folk like, "From Me" embraces that sound completely. It's a cross between soft pop and folk. Eunha and Yuju do a fantastic job on the chorus here, and the duo produce an angelic sound that tugs at your heartstrings.
So this is what GFriend sounds like under Big Hit Entertainment. I think in some cases they kept the original charm, but at the same time, upgraded their sound. And change is good every once in a while. Remember 'Fingertip?' These tunes are pretty solid -- I like every one of them. And that's saying something.
The music video starts out edgy and doesn't really let up for its nearly 5-minute running time.
Eunha stands on the edge of a building. Trying to catch a butterfly on her finger she falls, becoming part of a cosmic clock. Then she finds herself in bed. It was just a dream. She opens a drawer to reveal a box full of butterflies, focuses on a crystal ball just beyond it, and that's where the song proper begins.
The MV itself it's full of striking images, with many scenes suggesting movement. Everything from a train ride through a tunnel, to a journey down a road at sunset. And that's just the start.
The girls are restless, discontent. They remember happier times when they were together — laughing, enjoying each other's company. Then a fight splits them up. That leads them to where they are now.
The video splits its running time between scenes where the girls are frustrated and memories of better days. Every girl deals with it in their own way. And throughout the video, they keep trying to reconcile, but can't quite get there.
Eventually, the girls realize they are better together than apart. Reunited, they're all smiles and laughter, sparks from their flares trailing behind them as they run.
Ultimately, this MV has tons of dramatic scenes, particularly the bathtub scene where...I won't spoil it for you. But this video is altogether a testament to the power of friendship and the consequences of solitude. And it is awesome.
MV SCORE: 9.0
ALBUM SCORE: 9.0