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.