Review: The Awakening by GFriend

The Awakening by GFriendAs the narrative goes, GFriend should be growing up. The school trilogy (which included their biggest hit so far, “Rough”) is long wrapped up, and their first full-length album LOL set them up for an evolution of their sound. But The Awakening is much more overtly about the girl group (slowly) shedding their pure image and playing up the “powerful” credentials they have gained over the past two years. But hard habits are hard to shake off. The Awakening is no upheaval of sound – wisely, I must add – but it ends up being a record where the photobook carries most of the weight. The concept images were intriguing – and yes, we now know we’re now supposed to see them as sexy, independent women – but the songs are comfortably familiar. Unusually, the single, “Fingertip”, is the misfire, doubling down on powerful, resulting in an anison-like song that lacked a “Navillera”-like hook. But the rest of the mini makes up for it with subtle riffs on disco (which they played with on the first mini’s “White”) and familiar friendship-extolling sing-alongs. Lesson: they shouldn’t try so hard. [NB]3/5

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