Review

Song Review: LOONA (Olivia Hye) – Egoist (ft. JinSoul)

With every LOONA-related release, it feels like the k-pop community combusts with excitement. Now that the group’s entire roster has been introduced, it’s a good time to reconcile my personal indifference with the obvious buzz this project has garnered online. I think I get the appeal. In a way, LOONA’s otherworldly aesthetic is a push back on the severely limiting cutesy/innocent concept that has gripped the girl group scene for the past few years. The project itself is ambitious — delivering creative, cinematic music videos on the regular. But… the songs. Why have so few of them left a lasting impression on me?

As much as it’s concerned with music, the LOONA roll-out also feels like a love note to fan culture. There’s so much to discuss and connect and wonder about. I’ve never been the type who enjoys theorizing what this or that little detail may mean in a music video, so a large chunk of this enjoyment is likely lost on me. I’m all in for that big, primal pop song. Give me an arresting melody with an epic performance and I’m sold. As cool as most of these music videos have been, LOONA has at times felt like a student art film more in love with production and style than showcasing the performers at its core.

This brings me to Egoist, for it is truly a song driven by its production. What begins as a moody synth-sprinkled mid-tempo becomes decidedly experimental after its first chorus. That sense of abandon — with electronic flourishes and volleys of percussion dotting the musical landscape — is Egoist’s strongest asset. Olivia’s voice doesn’t do all that much apart from sounding pretty and somewhat unattached, even as the instrumental roils with an uneasy energy. I’m afraid that there wouldn’t be much left if you were to strip away all the bells and whistles, as Egoist‘s feather-light chorus doesn’t draw much attention on its own. And that’s my biggest concern with LOONA in a nutshell. There are so many interesting things swirling around at all times, but the underlying songs can sometimes feel like an afterthought.

 Hooks 7
 Production 9
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING  7.5

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10 thoughts on “Song Review: LOONA (Olivia Hye) – Egoist (ft. JinSoul)

  1. I have some similar thoughts on LOONA.
    Though the marketing and process of the predebut has been exciting and interesting, to me the releases are reflective of the Every DAY6 project. I like probably 8 songs max from the Loona predebut including units which out of 16 is only half (similar to my like of the DAY6 songs). Some releases (Gowon, Hyunjin, Vivi, Choerry etc) felt a bit half baked in terms of music. I, much like you, don’t get swept up in the fandom of it all and I normally Stan groups based on music first and outright dance and vocal talent second. Amongst the Loona girls there don’t seem to be at this stage any shining vocalists or incredible dancers (Heejin is pretty great I guess but thats all because of Mixnine) so I really hope this last unit brings out some interesting music and that their debut doesn’t flounder. Because at the end of the day I’m sure the GP in Korea are more interested in a great catchy tune than an enormous convoluted narrative hidden in MVs.

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  2. Also on this song exclusively I think its one of the better ones but not mind blowingly good. I think that the weird Synth/soft dubstep dance break before the rap is a bit odd and dated but I disagree with you on the chorus. I find it catchy. Maybe it could have used a bit more force in the vocals to make it land more but I think its kinda the best part of the song.

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    • I’m hardly ever nervous to publish a review, but I was a bit hesitant about this one. It seems like everyone online is over-the-moon in love with LOONA, so I was expecting some pushback for being critical.

      It’s nice to see that there are others who agree with my thoughts. I want to be as excited about the whole LOONA project as others seem to be, if only for its incredible ambition. But, I haven’t been able to get there yet.

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  3. I kinda stan Loona for their constant release and how their fandom develop. However, I never actually like because of their music, so I guess your statement about internal theories to attract fans is true for me.

    Personally I thought their constant pre-debut release are to target people who always crave for constant release from a group, but their ever-changing concept and music make me feel interested and anxious at the same time. I recall many I-fans said that group with changing concept like CLC have long time before Korean public recognize them. Will Loona suffer the same? I thought their company have well-prepared teams in many aspects, if they really want recognition, why don’t just give what Korean public would like? They sure can make something like that from their ability to hire many big music producers teams.

    Hopefully, with the pre-debut project come to the end, you might consider to make a post like Top 10 of their pre-debut discography. I love your opinion in Kpop music and I want to read your more comprehensive thought about Loona’s music and what you expect from their debut and concept. Thank you for your amazing review!

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    • I agree that it’ll be interesting to see if the group can transform this internet hype into real-world hype. It’s been such a long roll-out. Hopefully fatigue doesn’t start to set in.

      I probably will end up doing some sort of top ten list in the next week or two. We’ll see how bogged down I get with new song releases. Next week looks pretty stacked, which is a good thing after such a slow March!

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    • The prerelease project isn’t over yet. They have one more unit group named Eden, consisting of Yves, Chuu, Go Won, and Olivia Hye before they debut the group as a whole. If it follows the same format as the other unit groups (album + repackage), I think we are looking at a late fall debut for LOONA as a whole at the earliest. The previous unit groups released their mini albums with about a 3 month cushion… so I’d guess Eden will debut in early to mid May and wrap up promotions in July. Then the whole group will need time to put their debut album together, film MVs, produce photo books, etc. While the roll out project has certainly been interesting, I think they’ve pushed the limit on how long it should have been, because all signs are pointing to 2 years.

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  4. Am I the only one thinking that a lot of the LOONA girls sound veerrrryyyyy similar when they sing in higher ranges? I enjoyed Olivia Hye’s lower register in the opening verse, but the chorus sounded like it could have been any number of the girls. I just hope with 12 girls they find a way to weave together different vocal textures without making it sound choppy.

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  5. Regarding Loona in general there are several reasons why they might succeed and why they might fail. It would be an interesting discussion. For instance;

    Will they have to pivot to a cute concept initially in order to build a Korean fanbase?
    Can a group with 12 members achieve success, success being top 5, when no groups with more than 6 members have done it (other than the number 1s & IOI)?
    Can an international fanbase propel a group to success in Japan & Korea?
    Can the members of a group with 12 members make a living?

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  6. Pingback: The Top Ten Best Songs by LOONA (Pre-debut) | The Bias List // K-Pop Reviews & Discussion

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