[Album Review] For (G)I-dle, self-love is not silly. It’s how to feel like the otherworldly person you are
Published : Oct 20, 2022 - 19:33
Updated : Oct 20, 2022 - 19:34
(G)I-dle (Cube Entertainment)

People love to talk about the things they love. For some, it could be their friends and family, while for others its a pet or hobby.

Girl group (G)I-dle approached the word “love” in a way that the five members have never experienced before. On its latest project, the group ponders a different way to approach love: How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you. And to do that, the band offers a look into pompous love.

With So-yeon at the helm of producing the group’s “I love” album, she once again showed her knack for the sonic.

Unlike the band’s previous songs, the lead track “Nxde” starts with dynamic piano soundscapes. Some think the musical cacophony is disruptive, but it seems intentional. So-yeon’s opening hook delivers a powerful melody and is later backed up by the band’s vocal-driven chorus.

The high-pitched strings and background percussion helps build the overall atmosphere of the music: I don’t have to fall in love with you because I love myself, and that’s the greatest type of love I need.

The Marilyn Monroe-inspired song deserves a nod. The band portrays the American actress as an intelligent and powerful blonde woman dumbed down by the media and public.

The don’t judge a book by its cover message continues in “Love,” the second track on the album. The words to the song declare “she is amazing” throughout the whole track. She could mean (G)I-dle, or just to all the girls listening to the song. Unlike the bright and shiny mood of the song, the bandmates thank him, although unidentified in the lyrics, for breaking up the love and teaching the group how to increase their self-esteem.

Then a mellow touch glides in the third track, “Change,” penned by main vocalist Minnie. Just skim through the song first; it recalls a hit of the past, especially with Minnie and Miyeon’s dreamy voices. Later, listeners will know how perfectly the vocals and lyrics are compatible.

English is mostly used in the song, perhaps for global fans and music aficionados, but it was clear what the band wanted to say: Don’t show tears and pain to an unrequited love.

“How much more great things to be happy” is a line that appears, and it’s a verse that reminds people that idols are the same as human beings. They don’t need to be bashed by the media, nor do they not deserve the bliss.

A soft and mellow acoustic melody continues in “Reset,” the fourth track, composed by Yuqi. So-yeon’s opener, Yuqi, Shuhua and So-yeon’s singing verses and Mi-yeon and Minnie’s chorus show how the five girls are also versatile singers. As the title suggests, it’s about resetting oneself after parting ways with their lover, saying how they found a way to stand still on their own.

The album then turns upbeat with “Sculpture,” a track penned by Minnie and co-written by her and So-yeon. If the previous four songs talked about the importance of losing you to love me, the vintage-style track talks about wanting to be somebody’s sculpture to receive that person’s love.

It’s also a track with So-yeon’s blaze-fast rapping, and the change in melody from Shuhua to Mi-yeon’s verse shows the pain and hurt one can feel from trying to fit into their lover.

The grand finale comes with “Dark (X-file),” a song wholly composed by Yuqi and lyrics written by So-yeon. An X-file refers to a case deemed unsolvable, and on this track the verses continuously declare, “Kill the truth, me and you. I cannot end anything.” As the five bandmates whisper a dark truth into people’s ears, its no doubt that this track will be added to many playlists. It’s that good.

Love is a common concept in K-pop, but the lyrics and types of music (G)I-dle made this time were closer to Western artists who usually tackle more vulnerable topics. Once going through the six-track package, people will sense that it’s a story of a brokenhearted person, or a hopeless romantic, who can now find love for themselves. And at the end, they find out that to be able to give love to others, it’s pivotal to hug yourself first.

By Park Jun-hee (junheee@heraldcorp.com)