Review

Song Review: GFriend – Love Whisper

Well, I suppose it had to happen eventually. After releasing a string of five outstanding singles, GFriend have returned with a song that feels dangerously close to “so-so.” Though a momentary drop in quality is inevitable for most groups, GFriend have been on such a roll these past few years. Their “powerful innocence” concept and sound has resulted in an ever-increasing blast of densely produced, high-tempo pop anthems. Some felt that the ultra-80’s Fingertip went too far in this direction, which may be the reason that Love Whisper (귀를 기울이면) runs away from any sense of dance pop bombast. But while the song is already doing well in Korea, it comes at the expense of the group’s individual color.

In some ways, Love Whisper is as GFriend as GFriend gets, but mostly it sounds like a generic post-Luv Apink track. On first listen, the song’s lack of ambition feels like a devastating blow, squandering every bit of excitement the girls had built up. Further plays help to ingratiate this sound, but when it comes down to it Love Whisper just isn’t as interesting as GFriend’s past title tracks.

This is surprising, as the group continues to work with the Iggy/Youngbae production duo who have steered them so well thus far. Traces of Me Gustas Tu‘s hazy, summertime sheen remain, but there is no addictive hook to bring it all together. Instead, the girls rely on a generic melody that maintains a consistently pleasant energy rather than impress with its sense of dynamics. The instrumental’s prominent up-beat is a nice touch, though it doesn’t go far enough to imbue the track with the kind of power we’re used to hearing from the group. And that’s really the problem. Love Whisper is by no means a bad song, but it’s miles away from being a great Gfriend song.

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING  7.75

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6 thoughts on “Song Review: GFriend – Love Whisper

  1. What worries me the most is that this will trap GFriend in this innocent concept and put them in the same cycle as APink. Every GFriend title track so far has been pointing them in a natural progression of maturity while still maintaining their signature sound, but this feels like stepping back to square one. Fingertip was so overlooked, and it’s possible that Source could even be hesitant about Navillera as well. Even though the song performed well, coming off of such a huge hit like Rough that was to be expected regardless of the release. Love Whisper has grown on me since first listen after watching the first performances, but it doesn’t have the distinctiveness of their other title tracks which were immediately identifiable as GFriend and could come from any girl group.

    I’ve yet to see any girl group maintain this concept indefinitely without sacrificing song potential, and, eventually, the same level of success as people jump ship for a newer, younger group with a similar concept with an updated version of the sound.

    I’m hoping this will be just a one off due to it being summer release and Source trying to play it extra safe after Fingertip’s (undeserved) lackluster chart performance for the group.

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    • That’s my concern as well. As much as I want the group to succeed, I don’t want Love Whisper’s success to be taken as a license to get stuck in that aptly named “Apink cycle”

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    • When the groups was new, and with “Me gustas tu”, I thought they have the chance to establish itself as one of the top girlgroups. But feels like they have missed that chance with some less good songs and stuck in this kind of concept.

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      • I think they’re still one of the top groups of their era, but I hope they don’t feel the need to keep up with groups like Twice at the expense of expanding their own unique style and sound.

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      • Feels like they are limiting themself to small part of the Korean market with this kind of music. Even if some international kpop-fans also like it, I think they, as me, get a bit tired of the cute concepts in the long run. But I guess they will do what pays their bills.

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  2. Pingback: 2017 in K-POP so far: Risers & Fallers | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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