Review

Song Review: N.Flying – Spring Memories

Idol rock group N.Flying scored a major coup earlier this year, as their digital single Rooftop made an unexpected climb up the charts. As you might expect, I follow the K-pop industry very closely. Yet, this sudden ascent surprised the hell out of me. Even after adding a Produce 101 alum to their roster, the group never seemed to gain much traction. And as solid as I found Rooftop to be, I much preferred many of their earlier title tracks. Korea’s a fickle audience, I guess. Either way, N.Flying’s improved standing in the industry is completely deserved.

Now comes the hard part. Following up a smash hit is no easy task, and pop music is littered with acts who couldn’t quite match the excitement of their breakthrough. In an unexpected twist, N.Flying have taken this opportunity to go more subdued than they’ve ever been. The band has released ballads and mid-tempos in the past, but Spring Memories (봄이 부시게) feels more like the kind of generic seasonal track favored by coffee-shop artists than the freewheeling, defiantly charismatic work N.Flying built their name on.

Spring Memories is perfectly fine, and will appeal to those who enjoy this calm, tea-sipping sound. The pleasant instrumental paints a warm atmosphere, taking a classic guitar strum aesthetic and adding a generous layer of strings and drowsy drum beats. The melody has an expected wistfulness to it, heralded by a catchy whistle hook. Much of the opening verse is delivered in a languid, sing-song mix of vocals and rap — kind of like a super-restrained version of Pentagon’s style. It all adds up to a nice head-nodder, but lacks any of the impact that characterizes N.Flying’s best work. Will this be enough to keep their chart momentum going? We’ll see.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 7
 RATING 7.25

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6 thoughts on “Song Review: N.Flying – Spring Memories

  1. I agree on all points.
    Except I would like to point out up front that the addition of Yoo Hwesung has completely elevated the band from run of the mill bar band to something more. That kid can seriously sing. That song with Honggi from last year, you think, oh is he going there, is he going to ascend that scale, yes, yes he is going there. F or F#. It is a bit strained, attacks it with a mixed voice not falsetto, but it is there. Also, I miss the swagger of the bassist, but such is the fickleness of kpop fandoms.

    So
    point 1: Yes, agree older songs are better for me. Real. Hot Potato. Both on my personal top tens lists from previous years, both for their quality and with bonus points for kitsch (qv cats and Dogs TXT release).

    point 2: Yes, Rooftop was just aiiight for me. I mean, it is one of those things like that ikon song from last year that Koreans seem to love, and I suppose the lyrics are meaningful or something, but it was just OK for me. (I bought it anyway.)

    point 3: Yes, never underestimate Korea’s love of long and slow cheesy ballads, especially seasonal ones, and especially in spring. This one slots right in there. It’ll probably do fantastically on the karaoke gaon chart. I bought the song anyway. I am a Yoo Hweseung sucker.

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    • For reference for a high belted F / F#, Changmin or Jonghyun or Naul would use a falsetto, Ryeowook would use his pure head voice. Jimin in BTS blood sweat tears, well, he’s just reaching. (I think its Jimin who does that high part near the end.)
      Kyuhyun or even Park HyoShin wouldn’t even go there, at least for belting, they can do quieter ad lib F’s.
      Yoo Hweseung, he goes there! He’s the real hot potato!

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    • The rest of the mini is much better. Flowerwork has some real ballsy vocals, imo. And I definitely agree that the addition of Hwesung completely elevated the band.

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      • I love that song. More than that, I flove it.
        It should be a buried treasure review.
        It is whackadoodle crazy, and unapologetic about it. It keeps the same reggae rhythm and melody more or less but varies the instrumentation from overt reggae, to hard guitars, to straight ahead pop, and back again. The chorus opens up for a quasi call and response so you get both vocalists going at the same time. What’s not to flove?

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  2. Personally, I felt that the b-side Leave It (which they have been promoting alongside the title track) was a stronger song and much more up my alley. Stood out more than this one. If you haven’t heard it yet, I definitely recommend checking it out.

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  3. Pingback: N.Flying (엔플라잉) – Spring Memories (봄이 부시게): MV Review – TweetNewscaster

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