LOONA – '[#]'
2. So What *Title
3. Number 1
4. Oh (Yes I Am)
5. Ding Ding Dong
7. Day&Night (Hidden Track)
LOONA has come back with their third mini-album, '[#].' It follows the naming convention they've had for each of their two previous albums, '[+ +]' and '[X X].' This comeback only has 11 of their members -- Haseul is sitting this one out due to mental health issues. '[#]' boasts six tracks, including the powerful title track "So What."
"#" is the intro track. And what a song! With synth wubs and sampled vocals, this sets up the album nicely. It made me eager to hear what was coming up next. "So What" is LOONA like we've never heard them before. It's their entry into the girl crush genre. And they really kill it here. If someone had told me that LOONA would be able to do that, I would have looked at them funny. But "So What" turns out to be a really good song.
"Number 1" is a quieter affair than any of the other two tracks. The song is a nice bit of soft pop with that 80s vibe. It has the pretty vocals we've come to expect from this band. LOONA has this rare ability to hook me. This almost reminds me of their ODD EYE CIRCLE subunit, which I loved a lot. "Oh (Yes I Am)" is the most LOONA-like out of all the tracks. It's got that cute aspect, with the adorable rapping mixed in. I really like the arrangements here and the layering. Definitely a bop.
For a song that showcases their vocals, check out "Ding Ding Dong." They've got a filled-out chorus and some real top-notch singing in the first verse. We drop into raps after that, as well as higher register singing, it's a cute song. "365" is the only ballad on here and it starts with a slow piano and gentle vocals. The chorus is where it opens up and becomes a billowy ballad. Thankfully they keep the vocals reined, and the song is stronger for it. It's a pretty song and a good finisher for the album.
"Day&Night" is a hidden track on here. So if you just go by tracklists, it won't appear on those. You'll just have to be pleasantly surprised when it cues up in your player. And it is pleasant. While it's not groundbreaking, it doesn't need to be. It just needs to be a bop, which it is.
The thing I really like about this EP is the range. The songs range from cute, to fierce, to everything in-between. We have a ballad, a girl crush track, and songs that are more traditional K-pop. And this collection of tunes is the best I've heard from the band yet. If some of their previous songs were a bit awkward, these are solid tunes. If you haven't fallen under LOONA's spell yet, then check this EP out. You might be surprised.
"Do not accept the fate of the moon. Get off the track. Reveal to the world the hidden side. Burn yourself."
Those words start out the MV for LOONA's "So What." And just like the song, the music video is fierce and bold. This video wants to paint the girls of LOONA in a different light. Just like the song.
Slo-mo turns, torches, defiant gestures, red lighting, confident looks. Everything is meant to depict these girls as mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Even the dancing is meant to be in-your-face and vigorous. From whipping a school bag around until the papers fall out, to strutting through a subway car. All of this and more.
I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the CGI. The special effects here are awesome. From the falling burning meteors, members ringed by fire, to the Moon being engulfed in flames. I wonder if that had anything to do with the beginning. Probably.
That doesn't matter though. It's still cool. And this is a music video worthy of the song it's paired with. Both of them are intense, and you owe it to yourself to check them out.
MV SCORE: 9.0
ALBUM SCORE: 9.0