Aug 11, 2015

GFriend Raises The Bar With "Flower Bud"

GFRIEND - Flower Bud

I knew from the start that my favorite rookies of the year GFriend would have a hard time following up the short but splendid debut mini-album that was "Season of Glass", as that release was everything I never knew I wanted from a girl group. Every track was great and it showed that although their concept is generally conceived as "cute" it didn't mean that their songs had to be bland and boring (*cough* A Pink *cough*). "Flower Bud" is the title of their second mini, and I went into it with great expectations.

GFRIEND - Flower Bud
The mini opens up with a short but sweet intro geniously titled "Intro (Flower Bud)", which is pretty basic as far as intros go; sampling bits from their title song to a nice but generic back-track. I do like the sound effects of what sounds like waves and water-drops because they sound very pure and clear, and I think is exactly that kind of effect it's supposed to have to, considering GFriend's image. Although the intro is nothing special it doesn't really bother me too much either, but I'm happy it's only a minute or so long so that the actual songs on the album can start.

GFRIEND - Flower Bud"Me Gustas Tu" is the first track on it, and it's also the title for this round of promotions. I can see why they chose it as the title track, because it's a very good song indeed and it's fairly commercial and marketable. The song's message is fairly simple: "I like you, you like me. Let's be together". It's a story we've all heard before, and now it's told as by a young, teenage girl who's gathering enough courage to make a confession. The lyrics are not specifically insightful or out of the ordinary, but the fit the vibe of the song and the group's image perfectly. Their name is Girlfriend after all.

I personally like the song much because of it's sassy instrumental, as it's a classic pop song but with an edge. There are powerful guitar riffs, dramatic violins and of course a chorus that sticks with you instantly. It does help too that member Yuju's vocals are absolutely gorgeous, and I can't believe she's only a 97-er because with that voice it sounds like she's been training for 10 years or so. As a title track I think it works great, as it both has the classic pop sound of the late 90's/early 00's, but it has qualities that makes it stand out over other similar songs and keeps it from being too safe. At least I enjoy it tremendously; I mean I was hooked after one listen.

GFRIEND - Flower Bud
The following track is one that also could have made a splendid title track; "Under The Sky". It's an upbeat song with an even higher pulse than the prior, making it very energetic and full of life. It's an encouraging song about pursuing one's dream and never giving up, and they sing about both the happy days and the dark days, and how they know can see the future clearly in front one them.

The message is very positive and uplifting, and I wonder if it might even be about their days as trainees. Anyhow, the tune itself is a treat to listen to, as the melody is easy to like and the instrumental is bright and joyful. At the end an electric guitar is added to finish the song off, as it fades out to the sound of a spunky guitar solo. I'm assuming this track is supposed to the equivalent of last album's "Neverland", and while it's a great track it's still not as amazing but the again, that song was brilliant.

Up next is "One", which is a bit slower and a bit less in-your-face energetic, which is a nice change since the album's first two tracks have been very upbeat. It was with this song that I thought to myself that this sounded quite a bit like an A Pink track. At least that's where my associations went, which shows, I think, how dominant the latter group has become when it comes to this type of music.

The song itself is a solid b-side, but it's nothing spectacular. The girls sing about their first love, how they want to be with them and for them to want them back. It's sung with both naivety and innocence, which is what this group is all about in a way, but it's still pretty firm as they with confidence sing: "Want you, I want you". Vocally it's carried almost entirely by Yuju, as these kind of slower songs show how vocally lacking the group is. I hope they'll improve over time and I'm sure they will, because although "One" is by all means a pretty generic track I still like it very much.

The very last song on "Flower Bud" is "My Buddy", which sounds so familiar. I can't exactly put my finger on from where but parts of the chorus sound extremely familiar to something I've heard before. Anyhow, the song falls somewhere in the middle between the former and the other two tracks; it's not too bright and energetic but it's not as laid-back as "One" either. The chorus is definitely the highlight of the song, especially Yuju's (once again) impressive high notes.

Lyrically it has pretty much the same depth as any of the other songs, which is next to none, but it's also what's expected from this group. They sing about love, friendship and life from a very young, innocent and harmless point of view and I guess that is what makes a "cute" group, but they are also very young so it doesn't clash the way it does with older groups doing the same concept. I think the song is a good final track and it is, like the others, very catchy, but it's not my favorite of the bunch.

Overall I think this mini album is a solid effort and a confirmation of what kind of sound and style this group stands for and wants to be associated with. Listening to "Flower Bud" makes it clear what musical direction they're taking, and the lyrics also showcase the group's youthful, innocent and bright image as we've come to know it. I still don't think this mini beats their previous one, but it's still a great mini album and it definitely highlights their potential as future superstars.

Highlights: "Me Gustas Tu", "Under The Sky"
Total Score: 4/5

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