Review: Time For Us by GFriend

Time For Us by GFriendMaybe I just liked “Time for the Moon Night” too much. I knew GFriend tends to not really commit to their concepts – they’ve had sad singles accompanied by the frothy stuff, although the mini that accompanied that single came close. I also dismissed the serviceable Sunny Summer as a seasonal aberration; maybe they’d continue with what they’ve had before in their next release? They’ve been sentimental to the point of killing Eunha off in their music videos, after all. Time For Us‘ lead track, “Sunrise”, does continue from what came before; while it doesn’t quite instantly capture the imagination the way its spiritual predecessor did, it has some interesting tricks – and it has Eunha doing the note, for once. Everything else is GFriend’s trademark upbeat pop, but somewhat more coy in its beats; I’ll reference the cool of Stellar’s “Sting” once again. But nothing stands out, and the fact that Time For Us is a full-length album means the monotony really drags out. Not even Sowon finally rapping – or the Korean version of “Memoria”, which is so badly mixed – could make this worth the anticipation. I’m not saying it’s a really bad album. I’m just extremely disappointed with everything else. Why can’t you stick with the sad concept? Or, why make this into a full album instead of a mini? [NB]2/5

earthings! 2018: My ten favorites of the year

It’s our very last post for 2018, which means it’s time to reveal my ten favorite songs of the year – although chances are, if you’ve been reading this blog more religiously than most, or have a good idea of what I am into, then you’d have guessed some of the songs on this list. For this year, I decided not to have a massive reckoning some time from the beginning of December (too much pressure, that) but instead made up this list as the year went along. It didn’t make it easier: the tenth song (again, this list is in alphabetical order) was added just a few days ago, and that was a song I actually took off the list. I won’t tell you what that is… [NB]

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“We’re gonna fly in the blue sky.”

“Memoria” by GFriend | We’ve had our ears peeled for GFriend’s first official Japanese single; with the music video for it dropped yesterday, we finally have a properly clear stream for it. If anything, “Memoria” makes it clear that the girls are taking the melancholic route. And yet this pushes that narrative further, something. Maybe it’s the decision to blend everything more: there’s no “powerful” Yuju moment, although she is still there to lift the song with her vocal runs. Maybe it’s a sound that’s even dreamier than “Rough”, and a slight departure from the cinematic nature of “Time for the Moon Night”. There are a lot of videos on YouTube where fans lay this song over random anime opening titles – here’s one for friend of the blog Louis – and that says a lot about how, surprisingly effortlessly, the group adopted their sound to Japanese audiences. This year seems to be the year when more than the usual K-pop suspects make the jump across the sea – Mamamoo’s releasing a new “Decalcomanie” next month, too – and I’m happy GFriend’s is distinct. I did just say that, right, hun? [NB]

The crash course: the evolution of GFriend, K-pop’s unlikely heroes

[Update: the “anything drastic happening” at the end of this entry took place – GFriend’s Manila gig has been moved a week to Sunday, 26 August, because of the closure of NAIA’s runway.] This Sunday sees me take this K-pop thing further: I am watching my first K-pop concert. As it turns out, this is also Shalla’s first – and I thought the person responsible for introducing me to this world would have seen at least one Super Show. (She did see Siwon in the flesh, though.) We’re watching GFriend, and she’s really excited about it – she’d call herself a Buddy. I wouldn’t, mostly because I’m a stick-to-one-group guy, but I’ve learned to appreciate these girls enough to make sense of just what makes them tick, in that overanalytic way so-called music critics do. And that means a crash course, which might be unusual considering this is a girl group that hasn’t quite reached astronomic levels of fame (at least compared to Twice or Blackpink) – but then again, I’m writing.

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