Song Review: Oh My Girl – The Fifth Season (SSFWL)

There’s a certain ilk of K-pop girl groups who pursue a lush, fantasy-like sound and concept. Lovelyz and Cosmic Girls often fall within this style, but Oh My Girl are the undisputed champs of the fairy tale motif. They’re at their best when marrying this aesthetic to avant garde songwriting that pushes at the edges of the mainstream. Over the years, they’ve streamlined this approach into a formula of sorts, developing that most important of assets: a signature sound.

Merging songwriters from their last two singles, Oh My Girl have spawned a mash-up of their 2018 work. The Fifth Season (SSFWL) (다섯 번째 계절) feels epic in scope, though it’s let down a bit by verses that don’t match the power of its chorus. The dynamics here are fine. Subdued verses contrast well with the song’s gargantuan hook, but I long for a tighter melody than the atmospheric slow-burn we end up getting. This has been a long-term criticism of mine when it comes to K-pop, but can sometimes be overturned if the rest of a song is stellar.

Luckily, The Fifth Season has one absolutely knockout chorus to fall back on. Once the beat rushes in, all the instrumental’s orchestral flourishes are suddenly anchored in a momentum-building release of energy that lets the girls push past cuteness to deliver full-throated power notes that send the song soaring. This would have been enough to satisfy, but Season offers an unexpected sucker punch during its post-chorus refrain, which brings even more percussion to the table as Oh My Girl unleash a wickedly catchy swirl of melody. This segment recalls everything I loved about last year’s Remember Me, and really delivers on the majestic sound their cinematic concepts promise. If it wasn’t for those forgettable verses, we’d have a perfect song. Even so, The Fifth Season is rock solid, and continues to evolve Oh My Girl’s gorgeous musical palette.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75


16 thoughts on “Song Review: Oh My Girl – The Fifth Season (SSFWL)

  1. I also loved the song, and I understand what you mean about the verses. It’s not that they’re too quiet or slow, it’s that they don’t quite complement the beauty of the chorus. Perhaps if we got a little more from the strings or if they switched up the structure of the verses like they did in “Remember Me,” they’d fit in better. Honestly, I was really hoping for a key change/modulation in that final chorus. It really felt like that’s where it was going, so it’s kind of a let down that the last chorus was mostly the same as the other two. Otherwise, everything was gorgeous and expertly produced, per usual for one of the most consistent girl groups in Kpop.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I started the song playing on my phone with earphones, then got distracted. I forgot I had it on at all until the chorus kicked in. That is what I think of the verses. And yes that chorus is fantastic. It sounds like it changes tempo, but it doesn’t – just the orchestration kicks in and the whole melody is lifted up. (I don’t think it changes key?)

    Oh my girl once again shows off their stellar vocal line. I’ve made a point to listen to the line distribution since your post on Closer, because since I stan them I should really know their names. I always knew they had more than a few really good ones in their lineup.
    Hyojung Seunghee – beautiful lyric sopranos. Stellar head voices, better than Akmu’s Suhyun imho. “Can you hear my cry” in Closer is Seunghee. La la la’s in this after the chorus starts with Hyojung trades to Seunghee.
    YooA Jihyo – still sopranos, but lower tessitura, fills in the middle ranges, above average kpop girl group voices.
    The rest of them Mimi Jiho Binnie Arin: average sopranos = BUT = There is not a bad or below average voice in there.
    So taken as a whole, this group vocal line is Good!

    Only one exception: the covers of Beyonce Halo on youtube by Hyojung Seunghee YooA. Oof that was not good, totally wrong song for them, even ignoring the pronunciation problems. Beyonce is a mezzo-soprano, a belter. They aren’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. I wanted to make another Super Safe For Work joke, but this song is anything but. I’m honestly not 100% sure where to go with this one, because it’s a little frustrating. The verses are boy-group-level slow meandering, which is never an arrangement choice that I’m partial towards. Then the first phrase of the chorus runs on the maj pentatonic scale, which I also… don’t like? It’s a lot of notes to insert for a harmonic payoff that I’m not very engaged in. Then the chorus transforms into something really great?? Those “la la la” bits are one of the best moments in kpop this year?? To my shock and surprise, the bridge proceeds to be 10/10 good and a great harmonic connector between the last two choruses? Why is the arrangement… like this…?

    Besides the uneven quality of each part of the song, the whole instrumental itself is also really overblown, reminiscent of April’s “Take My Hand” and “The Blue Bird,” but almost more busy (which I didn’t even know was possible). That’s both a positive and a negative, since I heavily appreciate overblown stuff. It’s just, for me, it really only coalesces into perfection in fits and starts, which I find tiring. I’ve been trying to figure out my opinion on this over the past few days, but I just end up daydreaming about how OMG could’ve had my SOTY two years in a row with stronger, cleaner phrasing for what ends up being most of the song.

    Liked by 1 person

    • For me, the good stuff is good enough to lift up the verses. I would have preferred something less meandering, but I’m coming around to it.


  5. I thought this was a step down from Remember Me, but I still really liked it! I started to get into OH MY GIRL last year, and I definitely don’t regret anything.


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