Feb 3, 2016

GFriend Brightens Up The Winter Time With "Snowflake"

After releasing one amazing mini album and one brilliant single album in 2015, the six young women of GFriend are back to bless our ears with another mini album packed with great songs. And before you wonder if I'm biased towards this group I can tell you that the answer is yes, very much so. I kind of think everything they touch turn into gold and I agree that it is strange when you think about how my first impression of them wasn't all that positive. Lucky me that a person can change though, because I think not stanning them at this point would be very hard to do.

The album opens up with an intro quite similar to the intro of their previous mini album "Flower Bud", in the sense that it's an introduction what the album's sound will be. It has some parts of the title track mixed in as well as other instrumental parts. There's the familiar strings, electric guitar and their trademark electronic beep (or I don't know what to call it, but you know what I mean) sounds. Anyway it's a nice intro and it leads perfectly into the first full song of the album, which is the title track "Rough".

To be completely honest I didn't love the song on the first listen, but by the second time I heard it I started to sing along with the chorus and I guess I says how earwormy it is. I also thought it sounded a lot like a mixture of their two earlier title tracks, and that can be both a good and bad thing depending on how you view it. "Glass Bead" definitely has a sweeter instrumental, with a lot of electronic samples and layers (like the high-pitched beeps I mention above) whereas "Me Gustas Tu" was, although also very sweet, more feisty and spunky. The violins were more prominent as was the use of distorted electric guitar, and the combination was very nice.

"Rough" features all of those elements and manages to balance them out perfectly, while at the same time steering away from the sweetness that had embodied the other two songs. This song is, like I said in my MV review, perfect for the season as it filled with more angsty emotions like sentimentality and regret. This is actually really impressive, because it shows that they do have variety in their music despite having a typical sound, and that they can pull it off just as great.

I also talked more about the lyrics in my other review but I definitely think they are, like the song and entire comeback really, more mature and a step up for the girls. In general my main complaint about their songs have been the shallow, immature lyrics, and I definitely don't see that with this song which I'm very pleased about. The vocals all sound wonderful as well with Yuju shining as usually, but Eunha is given more spotlight here too which she certainly deserves. I do wish Sowon would've been given more lines though, but otherwise I'm fine with the distribution. I could, as you notice, ramble on about this song for ages but I have to stop myself here. Just let me say this one thing though; I love it.

The next song is called "Say My Name" and is based mostly around a loop of guitar strumming, as well as some fast-paced drums and little to no involvement of computer-made sounds and samples. This does give the song a different feel, especially for this group, but it's a welcome change. The melody is also unusual coming from these girls, as it's based on chords and progressions that I haven't really heard from them before. It's definitely not as cutesy as one might would expect but instead sounds more organic and natural, and I appreciate that about it. The song doesn't have that earworm factor though, which unfortunately means it's one of the least memorable tracks on the album. It's a real shame because the song is pretty good, but it fades compared to some of their other, more catchy tunes.

"Love Star" on the other hand is quite exactly what you would expect from a GFriend B-side, but I'm crazy about it. This must be this album's equivalent to the other two's "Neveland" and "Under The Sky" in the sense that it's really bright, cute and upbeat, but also that's it's really catchy and has a chorus that you won't forget in the first place.

Sure, the song doesn't really show off the vocal talents of the members, in fact the vocals are quite processed and unnatural, but with a track as infectious and joyful as this one I don't really mind. The lyrics are though, as you'd expect with such an innocent sounding song like this, quite boring. I get that it's their image and the majority of their songs don't have very deep or complex lyrics, but I can't wait until their company lets them mature even more and adds some depth and dimension to their lyrics as well.

Next up is "Someday", which also sounds quite a lot like a typical GFriend B-side, but this one with stronger vocal work and an overall stronger instrumental. The song definitely has more punch and more attitude than the former, but it still remains pretty harmless. The melody is also more dynamic here, and Yuju definitely gets to show off her vocal chops more than on almost any other songs. In a way it reminds me of "My Buddy" of off "Flower Bud" because of the powerful melody and the heavy usage of strings in the instrumental. However the song is similar to "Say My Name" in the sense that it's not as memorable, which is unfortunate because while listening to it you definitely think it's a solid track.

Last but not least is the GFriend ballad we've all been waiting for, or perhaps dreading; "Trust". It's been made pretty clear to anyone who knows the group that vocally they're basically "Yuju and the rest", and that's not entirely incorrect. It's true that Yuju is a phenomenal vocalist, but she's also probably one of the best vocalists in K-pop at the moment period, which means her teammates will sound average no matter how much they try. This song definitely proves that the group isn't the strongest in terms of vocals, but they aren't at all as bad as some people make them out to be.

Eunha, and also SinB, can definitely hold their own and with more practice I'm sure they'll get even better. I also genuinely like Umji's tone and well, Yerin and Sowon are lucky they have other areas they can excel in. As for the song itself I honestly think it's one of the stronger ones on the album, which is surprising because it's a ballad and you know how I feel about those. Sure, the verses aren't that memorable but the chorus is absolutely beautiful and Yuju and Eunha do a great job taking turns in handling it. "Trust" ends this mini album on a wonderful note

Overall the way I feel about this album is pretty similar to what I felt about "Flower Bud", in the way that while some of the songs feel a bit safe and the general musical direction and execution isn't anything groundbreaking; I still genuinely like it. They have, with this comeback, solidified their musical brand and established their image as a youthful, energetic and free-spirited group, and all the songs are a reflection of that in one way or another. However like I have said before my bias is pretty strong with this group so feel free to disagree with me, but I personally will continue to listen to this album no matter how objectively good it might or might not be.

Highlights: "Rough", "Luv Star", "Trust"
Total score: 4/5

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