Apr 5, 2017

GFriend Aim Right For My Heart With "Fingertip"

여자친구 G-Friends foto.

It's been roughly 8 months since GFriend last had their comeback with the glorious "Navillera" which is in my opinion way too long of a time period between two releases. If I could have new GFriend releases each month I would be delighted but I understand that it would be difficult to pull off. They have however been active with performances and attending award shows (and winning awards) but I'm over the moon that they've come back with new music and a brand new concept. GFriend has been known for their "innocent power" brand, meaning that their music and image has been youthful and sweet and their choreography and performances strong and powerful, but "Fingertip" marks the end of that concept. This time the girls show a new side of themselves that is sexier and more mature but equally as powerful and I already can't imagine them doing anything else.

"Fingertip" as a song is quite interesting in the way that it sounds, for once, new and fresh but at the same time connects perfectly to their past material. It's the perfect continuation, you may say. Now that Kara has gone to the grave you would need another group to take up their signature sound which is definitely the case here, even if it's not intended. My first thought when listening to this song was that it sounded like something Kara would've released, but that's not a bad thing at all. Especially since it still has that GFriend twist it doesn't feel like a copy of another song and it certainly stands out from their past title tracks. I personally am a huge fan of the song and I think it has most factors that is needed to make a great tune; a strong instrumental, great melody and powerful vocals. Like with many other of their songs it's easy to sing along to and the hook of "Tang, tang, tang, fingertip!" in the chorus will get stuck in your head.

여자친구 G-Friends foto.
The MV for "Fingertip" however is perhaps not as fantastic as their last two videos in terms of visual brilliance and storytelling, but it's a good video nonetheless. In this MV the girls of GFriend turn into space agents of some sort out on a mission, or at least it appears so until we find out it's all been inside Eunha's dream.

They chase each other through space and time with colorful plastic guns and although there doesn't seem to be a clear story to it it's still an entertaining watch. The sets vary between green screen and actual rooms and some of them are better than others although the overall execution is good enough, however I wonder about the connection between some of them. It's not instantly logical nor is the plot but since it's all a dream anyway I guess too much logic would be strange.

The main attraction of this comeback isn't, after all, the video or possibly even the song but the change in concept. GFriend debuted with a school girl concept that stuck with them for a year, meaning that they were portrayed as young, innocent and harmless girls that were lovable and sweet. Of course the release of "Rough" did show more maturity as did "Navillera" as they were released from their school uniforms, but they were still categorized under "cute" no matter how explosive they were on stage. For this comeback they've shed that image completely and are no longer branded as "innocent power" but just "power", which is a change I support 100 %. I always knew they had it in them and now that both of the youngest members are legal adults it was all a matter of time.

여자친구 G-Friends foto.
What I do appreciate is that although this is more grown-up they haven't gone down the "sexy" route but are rather continuing their path as great performers and singers but without having to compromise being cute at the same time, although that is a genre that is great as well. However for GFriend I felt is was about time they moved on to an edgier and stronger image to match their new sound and choreography much better. This also marks the first time any of them dye their hair any other color than black or brown which also suggests a form of maturity as well as individuality as they've mostly had quite similar looks in the past

The styling in general this comeback is amazing and I love the military/spy influenced outfits as well as all their hair and makeup. They all shine on stage and now when I watch their previous performances it almost feels strange, as if they were always meant to do this precise concept. As for the choreography I have nothing but praise as usual as I think this might be one of their most hard hitting routines as of date. While "Navillera" slightly disappointed me this choreography blew me away with the complexity, pace and intensity of it. The moves are strong and powerful and the formations are great as well. I don't think anyone will argue that GFriend is one of the best groups out there in terms of dancing and the fact that their live vocals are stable while doing shows just how good they are.

여자친구 G-Friends foto.
For this comeback they've released another mini album called "The Awakening" which is definitely suitable considering their concept and image change. Last year's "LOL" was one of my favorite albums of said year as it contained a variety of tracks in different pop genres and thus I had high expectations for this release as well. Unfortunately they weren't completely met, as "The Awakening" more or less sounds like one of their older mini albums prior to "LOL" and does not really reflect the growth and development that rest of the comeback has shown. The songs on the mini are still good tracks and had it been one year ago I would've been completely satisfied, but at this stage in their career I am expecting more.

The album opens with "Hear The Wind Sing" which is a great song and a solid B-side sounding like it could have been featured on "LOL" just as well. It's an upbeat pop song with additions of violin which gives it a unique twist and a very pretty sounding instrumental. The melody is also good as are the vocals and I certainly think it's one of the album's stronger tracks. Following is the title which I've already raved about and continuing is "Contrail". This if anything sounds like it could been a B-side on their earlier mini albums and at this point it's not exactly what I want to hear from them. It's uplifting and lighthearted with a poppy instrumental but not particularly spectacular, even though it features a fantastically even line distribution. It's not a bad song at all and I still like it, but it doesn't really do anything to rise the overall quality of the mini album.

여자친구 G-Friends foto."Please Save My Earth" is next and reminds me somewhat of "Mermaid" of off "LOL" as it has a more mellow tone and a much sadder sounding melody. Compared to the latter however it has a higher tempo and is probably more intense. This is probably my favorite song next to "Fingertip" as I really like melody as well as the dynamic instrumental that features horn instruments in a really clever way. Not to mention the lyrics are really pretty too. Afterward comes "Spring Rain" which is a mid-tempo ballad that is quite calming to listen to. It's nothing extraordinary but still a well written and sung track with a lovely melody and lyrics. The girls sing incredibly well and once again I'm positively surprised by the line distribution.

The final song is "Crush" which sounds like a very typical GFriend B-side that could easily had been on "LOL". It's upbeat and a bit funky with great use of string instruments and electric guitars. The problem though is that because it sounds quite similar to some songs on "LOL" I can't help but to compare and also come to the realization that I would rather listen to those songs than this one. Again it's not a bad song but it's not amazing either.

This comeback as a whole has however been a great enjoyment for me these past few weeks as I'm now loving these girls more than I ever did before. I adore the title track and I've been obsessed with their live performances on music shows as well as the fantastic styling and concept execution in general. I sincerely hope now that everyone who once called them a "one trick pony" will reevaluate their opinions and see how well they can pull off a stronger concept like this one. Of course it can't be left unsaid that the mini album is slightly underwhelming but I definitely think the awesomeness of literally everything else makes up for it.

Song: 4,5/5
MV: 3,9/5
Album: 3,75/5

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