Song Review: (G)I-DLE – Lion

Though I’ve already written about (and ranked) the Queendom finale songs, (G)I-DLE have made the smart move to pair their track Lion with an official music video. I think they deserve a full review for their efforts, right? While the song does nothing to dispel the accusations of cultural appropriation that swirl around the group (I mean… come on, girls!), Lion is easily the strongest track (G)I-DLE have promoted this year. Of all the Queendom tracks, it also feels the most like an actual single.

Opening with Minnie’s evocative timbre, Lion unfolds with a bluesy appeal. Its layers of percussion build gradually before hitting full force for the first chorus. Most refreshingly, there are no trap hi-hats or snares to be found anywhere in the instrumental. Rather than resort to popular drum samples of the day, the track opts for a dynamic texture that mimics the tribal aspects Soyeon was undoubtedly going for. This allows the production to pulse with an organic sense of surprise. Lion is at its best when the instrumental takes a daring turn, fading out the noise to shine focus on a big vocal moment or upping the intensity in support of a charismatic rap break.

In my ranking of the Queendom singles, I wondered how Lion’s melody would age. That’s still a concern, as I think the hook borders on being a bit repetitive. But, the girls imbue the song with so much magnetism that it’s hard not to get lost in its charms. (G)I-DLE have proven themselves as masters of performance, and if nothing else Lion offers them the chance to harness that ability.

 Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 9

Be sure to add your own rating by participating in the poll below!


22 thoughts on “Song Review: (G)I-DLE – Lion

  1. It’s gotta be the first comeback Shuhua and Minnie outshine the others, in their previous releases, it was either Soyeon or Soojin who stood out the most. Now, Soojin at least stands her ground while Soyeon tries too hard to look charismatic. Recently her attitude has been too exaggerated…

    Anyways I thought the song’s strongest asset are its verses. The chorus doesn’t cause a huge impression on me but it’s nice.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yea, same. I do think Soyeon bothered me a lot during Queendom for that exact reason, her rap parts always seemed a bit off.

      Also, her standing on a plataform during her rap verse was kinda too egocentric for me.

      Besides that, I love this song a lot lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree.

        Speaking of which, I am still waiting for the time when Yuqi and Miyeon finally get the spotlight. I know Yuqi was quite popular during Latata era due to her unique tone, but that was a very organic popularity which got swept under the rug in G-idle’s following songs. And Miyeon has also not had many opportunities to showcase herself.

        I am being more picky with G-idle than I would be with most 3rd generation groups, however, because I feel G-idle has a very good blend of diverse performers with unique tones and styles.

        Liked by 1 person

        • THIS! Yuqi is woefully underused. I’m big on unique voices and it’s frustrating to have to settle for the “table scraps” apportionment she gets for lines. I remember seeing a couple of shows where the lines were being divvied up, Yuqi would get wide-eyed and ask for a specific part only to be shot down (or outright ignored) by Soyeon. She would then withdraw into a quiet and respectful shell. Almost as if she’s become accustomed to hearing “You’ll get what you’ll get and be grateful!”. Yuqi.. ..the Oliver of K-Pop.. ..I want more, sir..


          • I agree. Yuqi really caught my eye during their debut, she was even my bias but with time she kinda lost that spark or just seemed to step down of that spotlight.

            Soyeon has been giving some weird vibes (sorry) lately. And her whole reaction or lack of action after their ethnic hip controversy didn’t help.

            About the R.E.M example, I guess it’s something quite common im groups while their popularity rises… Guess we’re stuck with Soyeon’s attitude for a while.


    • Yeah, I share the sentiment on Soyeon. I don’t know if it only manifests itself when the cameras are on (sweg persona?), of if she really has become punch-drunk on fame. This comparison may be lost on most, but I remember when R.E.M. first emerged on the American music. It didn’t take them long to rise up in the industry as one of the top acts. Somewhere along the way, the lead singer (Michael Stipe) suddenly had a Brittish accent, was taking long pauses between words, and trying to look contemplative with his fingertips touching as he spewed lines like “it’s all about the craft”. I didn’t buy it then, not buying it now. I like Soyeon; just want her to let a little air out of the balloon.


  2. I like the song. The mv looked very “ethnic-hip”. so far i liked every song of them to a certain extent, I hope they keep going with good songs because i like how instantly unique all of them are


    • If by “ethnic-hip” you mean African lion theming, I wasn’t seeing that either, only possible perhaps in the loose tan chemises they wear early in the video in the dance.
      Otherwise the styling seems more crystal, red and gold regal lion than savannah lion. Regal lions are everywhere – England, Venice, Sri Lanka, Persia, China. They appear in Hindu mythology, greek mythology (Hercules and the Nemean lion), Roman colliseums, Christian and Jewish religion (Daniel in the lion’s den in the Book of Daniel), etc.
      Judging by their choice of wooden chancery background in the Queendom live set, I think they were aiming for Richard the Lionheart (English) Lion.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This song is made by that intro by Minnie. To be honest, Minnie Miyeon Yuqi Shuhua could carry the whole song by themselves and it wouldn’t be missing much. Compare Minnie intro to Soojin outro. Minnie has the mood down, Soojin is just trying very hard.

    Soyeon must be doing something right because everyone has opinions. She puts herself out there, puts her stamp on everything, so everyone thinks someting good bad ugly and indifferent. Here is mine: I really dislike that timbre she affects in her raps, I find it really grating. I thought it ruined every line of Key’s “I wanna be” that she ad libbed. And then on every Soyeon-composed song, that sound is foisted (or propagated) upon someone eg CLC “Me” – one of them has to do that to sell the swagger of the song.

    For the song: I really like it. It combines what I like most about Hann (the verses) with what I like most about CLC “Me” (the chorus). At some point, they are going to have to evolve this sound and this style, but for another year it will do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I gotta ask what the cultural appropriation markers for this video is. Like all the previous ones, I can get and easily point to. But here, I’m kinda baffled as this is so… banal unless someone’s got an issue with them pulling from Ancient Europe. At which point I kinda have to balk at that.


    • Yeah the only thing I could find that might be considered “appropriation” in the MV were the backup dancers wearing braids in some scenes…that’s about it?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think it’s that glaring here, either. The point that I was making was that, if you’re a group already facing these criticisms, writing a song called Lion that opts for a tribal-style beat probably isn’t the best idea.

        Either way, I don’t think it’s a huge issue. Plus, the song is great.

        With this in mind, I made a very slight edit to the review for clarity’s sake.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It stems from Soyeon’s comment on Queendom that their sound is “ethnic hip.” So there are some arguments that could be made that play into that. If not for her comment, I doubt anyone would think about cultural appropriation. That said, when someone more or less makes a statement that can be interpreted as their entire group concept being a form of appropriation, people are going to notice it more since it’s already been internalized.


    • yall really don’t see her culturally appropriating wersteros? you guys think that all those lannisters died so Soyeon can just use the lion crest as a costume and throw it away??!?!?!?! /s

      Liked by 1 person

  5. If anything, I’m glad for this release getting positive reception, since it will probably help the them solidify an identifying sound for the group. And hopefully their time on Queendom has also shown that they are at their best (so far) with music that really emphasizes performance-oriented songs. Both Señorita and Uh Oh deprived the group of that strong performance side and just bungled the signature sound they seemed to be developing in 2018.

    Liked by 1 person

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