GFRIEND hit a chord of sorts.
In a kpop landscape saturated with groups attempting to achieve success with various concepts given a “cute” designation, GFRIEND stands out.
GFRIEND’s technical complexity showcased in their rock tinged romantic pop tracks marks them as standouts among the top cute offerings. Their exemplary vocals and relatively difficult and beautifully synchronized dances gives the group a featured edge that provides a satisfying depth to their musical offering.
This aspect, this muscularity of presence, would not have been enough on its own, however, to ensure success.
It is the combination of that deft technical presence with GFRIEND’s signature sound and feel that gave them their winning forte. A marriage of the technical with the emotion of theme.
Great music evokes an idea. A deep-seated essence that is manifested in the execution and aesthetic of its songwriting, performance, and within kpop, concepts.
The overriding theme throughout much of GFRIEND’s most memorable titles is one of youthful innocence, purity, and the simplicity and earnestness of youth.
From Me Gusta Tu to Rough to Navillera to Love Whisper, GFRIEND has consistently drawn on these themes both in the topic of their song lyrics to the emotional drive of their sound to the aesthetic explored in their music videos.
The mix of excitement and raw emotion one experiences in the throes of young love. The fear and uncertainty, the feeling that the world is but this, these moments, these dreams, these experiences.
As one grows older, such simplicity of youth, such unabashed preoccupation with the present is sometimes hard to recapture, a mindset more difficult to grasp, to hold onto. Life complicates as one takes on greater age and the associated complexities are bared to one’s self.
GFRIEND successfully captures this fleet of youth. In earnest and genuine fashion they translate these experiences for us. Allows one to touch it once again, if not for a moment.
Their singularity in concept, while the greatest contributor to their rise, is perhaps the reason for the less successful attempt to break this mold with Fingertip.
Though an amazing song in it’s own right, with exemplary execution of its more edgy concept, it nevertheless broke with the group’s established signature.
When a group is so concretely defined by its sense of theme and place as GFRIEND is/was, it proves difficult and risky to move an audience along with that progression away from what they were defined by. Away from what touched that chord in the first place.
Despite this rough transition, GFRIEND remains one of kpop’s most intriguing acts. They have the talent and drive to succeed. They’ve proven their ability to connect with their audience in signature fashion.
One can only hope that they are able to reach their audience once again, to capture the magic for an encore.
I, for one, hope they reach such heights and beyond.
Emanresu, A Buddy