Jan 21, 2015

GFriend Debuts With "Glass Bead"

Would I have written this review normally? Probably not. However, as a second new year's resolution of mine is to write more reviews and include more groups into my repertoire, I thought I'd give this new girl group a try. I've been kind of girl group crazy lately, but I generally feel like the girls have been bringing it much harder than the boys and I've been getting into them more and more. I actually hope I can discover some new male groups as well, but I'm a lot pickier with them too.

Anyhow, this six member group got on most people's radar by having a Jessica Jung lookalike on the team, and I agree that the resemblance is uncanny. They've also received many comparisons to the newly debuted Lovelyz, as well as A Pink and of course, Girls' Generation.

First of all, I'm not too excited about school girl concepts, mainly because they're usually very sexually charged and those two images really shouldn't go together under any circumstances. There are exceptions, of course, as I though previously mentioned Lovelyz managed to keep it relatively appropriate. Right off the bat though, I could tell that this was completely different. Everything from the clothes to the way the video was shot and edited was clearly catered towards a target group different from the one I'm in. Don't get me wrong, I couldn't care less about sexy concepts and this video is not really sexy at all, but if there's young girls and school uniforms involved, I don't want there to be any sexual tension. Especially if the members are underage, which I assume a few of them are because they look quite young.

On another note; I definitely get some A Pink vibes with the way the song is constructed, and also with the bright lightning and pretty filters in the video. While Lovelyz, for example, did give off more of a Japanese feeling, these girls sound pretty standard for K-pop. That's not a bad thing though, because I happen to enjoy the song. However, if we are to compare the two groups I think this one is a lot more energetic and upbeat, which is what I think a lot of people missed about Lovelyz' debut. The teaser snippet for the song made it sound quite a lot like a revamped version of "Into The New World", but having heard the entire track I don't think it sounds that similar. Naturally there are parts that could have been inspired by it, and it's even more obvious when looking at the choreography and styling.

GFRIEND - Season of Glass
If we put the comparisons on hold, how does the video stand on its own? Personally I find it a bit confusing, and although it looks like there could be some kind of plot, it's not the easiest to find. At first, it seems they are just enjoying themselves in the gym as they're trying out different gymnastics gear and having fun together, but then it seems the video's actually taking us through a school day. Later when in class, the girls are misbehaving and get detention as a result, which is just like everything else in the video: all fun and games. I don't think I've ever seen so many happy faces and bright smiles whilst cleaning the classroom, but everything's great as long as they're together, right?

To be honest, this video is kind of a let down, and that for a few reasons. While it is quite sweet and entertaining on its own, there's just too much in it that is reminiscent of other groups' work. It has that A Pink sound, Lovelyz' school concept and SNSD styling and choreography. I can pinpoint way too many factors in this that I could see other groups do for it to feel like something this group stands for on their own. Of course, nothing in K-pop is truly original, but I think it's way too obvious here. It's a shame because this song is quite a gem and I'm in love with the high-energy choreography.

Overall, I still think it's a pretty strong debut. Already they've managed to create some buzz, but most of it has been because of the comparisons to other groups in the scene. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing them perform live though, because something tells me that I will enjoy it more outside of the video. Not that the video is bad, but it is a bit bland. Naturally, they look pretty (especially member Sowon), but it didn't really go anywhere. I'm hoping they can work on establishing their own color rather than borrowing pieces and bits from other places, but who knows, maybe that will be their special color. Either way, I'm pretty confident this is a group I keep an eager eye on in the future.

Song: 4/5
MV: 3,4/5

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