GFriend is the breakthrough group. Lovelyz is more consistent. And yet, Oh My Girl won my post-APink rookie wars with ‘Cupid’. The marching band percussion made it distinctive when compared to other bright and innocent girl group songs. The song does not mandate the kind of hyperdrive tempo that most GFriend songs need to feel energetic.
OhMG’s follow up, ‘Closer’, barely kept me from giving up on the group. It’s still another generic dance song but the ethereal elements, and mostly, the iconic choreography/creative design kept me engaged.
Regardless, the post APink trinity of GFriend, Lovelyz, and Oh My Girl are glorious. It’s been quite the feast, and I’ve been spoiled. Any criticism is being pretty picky given the high standard these groups have set. They are still rookies for cryin’ out loud.
GFriend though lost me a little with ‘Rough’. Loved it on first listen, but it’s become so overhyped it’s tough to be an all out stan. The formula cranked up even further, the chorus is a freakin’ storm of fast singing and swirling strings. The choreo feels rushed at times and incorporates silly lyrical dancing bits. The song is trying to be GFriend times ten, and they were already pushing the limit in wonderful ways. So now, it just goes over a cliff. During the dance break you can just feel it all hanging together by a thread. It’s earnest, and you can argue it captures the tempest of adolescent hormones quite well. However, the less happy tone and speed leaves very little room for personality. The song is a good slice of pop but it’s not the next level. The extreme cultural praise feels unwarranted, which makes me long for an underdog to root for.
That tick-tock ending though…
Still iconic in its virtuosity of precision and bright personality:
Sometimes you can tell when a group is in transition. They have a lackluster comeback but you know they are ramping up for something huge. ‘Rough’ feels like a major part of GFriend’s discography while I was willing to believe that ‘Closer’ was more of a stepping stone, a filler release while plotting the next big thing (i.e. Vixx needing Eternity and Error to get to Chained Up).
So thank God, Oh My Girl have proved me right with ‘Liar Liar’. It’s a sequel to Cupid that’s not redundant. Like ‘Cupid’, it incorporates a genre outside of pop while being unapologetically girl-pop. The hip hip bass is magically grounded and bouncy (learn American pop producers). It compliments the heavenly wall of unison vocals. And once it reaches full pop rap, it immediately recedes just to keep anyone from getting the wrong impression that being ‘cool’ was the name of the game. A maximalist, blissed out pop song that still feels relaxed in its bright-pop identity and has got all the great k-pop production tricks (SO MANY BRIDGES… SO MANY BASS LINES… horns and sirens…) while still feeling coherent. It’s forward moving without being tryhard. Sorry, GFriend.
I didn’t even need to see dancing to love the video…