As happens with so many k-pop song, fromis-9’s pre-debut Glass Shoes grew on me tremendously the longer I heard it. The light, cutesy girl group concept has been done to death over the past few years, but acts like GFriend have been able to transcend it with robust arrangements and energetic hooks. With To Heart, fromis_9 are on their way toward replicating that success. It certainly helps that they have the firecracker production duo of Seo Youngbae and Iggy on board, who just happen to be the same pair who steered GFriend’s sound.
As much as I love the Youngbae/Iggy style (and I really, really do), GFriend’s Love Whisper and Summer Rain pointed toward a more subdued approach that didn’t capitalize on what the guys do best. I hope that To Heart is a peek at things to come, because they’ve given fromis_9 a classic pop punch that proves irresistible.
To Heart isn’t doing anything to reinvent the wheel, especially in comparison to a ballsy comeback like last year’s Fingertip, but the song pulses with enough energy to leapfrog over its derivative nature. The instrumental is drenched in all manner of ornamentation, from the persistent swell of strings to percolating electronics and nimble rhythm guitar — both of which seem to be constantly circling each other as the track speeds towards its electric guitar fueled conclusion. To Heart‘s frothy chorus slots in perfectly, offering a maddeningly catchy surge of swirling pop melody. If any portion of the song could be slightly stronger, it’s the straightforward verses. They do an admirable job maintaining the energy, but kind of get lost in the shuffle.