Review: Parallel by GFriend

Parallel by GFriendLately I find that K-pop albums take a while to grow on me, if ever they decide to, which spells chaos for my one-listen-only review style. A part of me thinks I will change my mind about Parallel, the fifth mini from GFriend. (I’m a bit certain about this: Shalla’s drawn to title track “Love Whisper”, specifically its choreography, specifically Yuju’s segments. “Music for the eyes,” she puts it.) I was, inevitably, unsure about the girl group’s return to the sound of the School trilogy, their first three, dreamy, releases. Sure, I still play “Rough” a lot, but I’ve grown to appreciate “Navillera” – the group’s defining moment, a statement of intent that shows they’re ready to go places – and, to a degree, “Fingertip”. But then they have not shed their old image. They’re still pure girls that can do a mean (and synchronized) dance. Parallel just, well, parallels that, a step back that feels comfortable (like The Awakening) but somehow manages to miss one trick. What made their earlier stuff so potent is how catchy they are – subtly catchy, but catchy enough to be memorable, a feat for a rookie group amidst the din of new debuts left and right. “Love Whisper” lacks a hook, though. The whole album lacks a hook. It meanders, which is not what I expected, and frankly, not what I came for. But then, perhaps I have to let it grow on me. It might be all about the “music for the eyes”. It’s a path they took for The Awakening, after all, but, well, I expected better from one of K-pop’s new big guns. [NB]2/5

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