In only a couple of years, GFriend went from being my favorite active girl group to a hit-or-miss prospect whose album tracks are often better than their singles. As usual, this shift came with a change in producers. The group abandoned their “powerful innocence” sound – courtesy of composers Seo Youngbae and Iggy – for something more light and lyrical. This approach worked the first time around with 2018’s Time For The Moon Night, but has faced diminishing returns ever since.
However, the chance for new transformation is upon us again. GFriend are now under the Big Hit umbrella, which presumably unlocks potential for a host of new collaborators. But while the group has dipped their feet into new waters on their new mini album, title track Crossroads (교차로) is very much the same thing we’ve heard from them these past few years.
My central issue with Crossroads is that it’s just too lightweight. Yes, there are string sections aplenty swirling around the bulk of the song, but the percussion is too thin and inconsequential to properly anchor the track. Stylistically, this is reminiscent of popular J-pop groups like Nogizaka46 and Keyakizaka46. However, those acts feature dozens of performers and often stuff their tracks with all sorts of dramatic turns and flourishes. Apart from main vocal Yuju, GFriend have relatively light and airy vocal tones. Paired with an equally light and airy instrumental, the result borders on bland.
Crossroads boasts a decent chorus, though not on par with either Moon Night or last year’s Sunrise. Its stuffed-to-the-brim instrumental has a cinematic appeal, coming across as a pseudo-soundtrack to an imaginary on-the-road film or drama – nostalgic and sentimental. Electric guitar briefly rears its head at the track’s climax, as if to remind us that this is still the same group that delivered the mighty Fingertip or bombastic Navillera. But rather than bolster Crossroads’ allure, it just makes me long for the GFriend of 2015-2017.
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Labyrinth should have been the title track!!
Even though I really like Crossroads, you’re right it is too much of the same old. Labyrinth is a full call back to the Gfriend of old while still steering them towards new propulsive directions. Pretty much most other tracks on the album would have been better title tracks.
Expecting a buried treasure for Labyrinth
I liked Crossroads a lot, buuut I do understand that you have this problem with Gfriend, specially since Fallin Light. And yea, their 2015-2017 material was killer, so who can blame you, right?
I do believe you will find a buried treasure in either Eclipse or Labyrinth, and I really want to see your score for both of them.
Oh, I’ll most definitely be writing about Labyrinth — most likely by tomorrow!
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Crossroads is like an open ending, it feels incomplete… Labyrinth reminds me a lot of Jpop, I know a lot of them wanted it to be title track, but that kind of song would be more fit for Japanese album… My favourite in the album is Eclipse so far😂
Good, but boring.
Like I don’t even know what else to say about this.
So I didn’t think it was that bad, meaning to me it sounds like just about every other Gfriend song that is indistinguishable to me and mystifyingly popular. Just one more on the pile. Hey, if they don’t state the title of the song obviously in the song, I really don’t know which is which. I am just beginning to pick out Me Gustas Te and Fingertip because they say those words clearly.
As always, waiting to hear Xeno’s thoughts here … … …
Ok, lets be honest, there are at least 3 bsides (here we are, labyrinth and eclipse) better than this song in the album. I just hope they receive MVs later on
Yeah, i guess it’s not bad? But gfriend song usually strikes much harder at the chorus than this. For other group this might be a decent effort, though for gfriend this is among their weakest
GFRIEND – 回:LABYRINTH:
Overall, it’s a good release ‘if’ you’re already a GFRIEND fan. Has good variation while fusing in all of the girls strengths.
Labyrinth (0:00) – Decent. Give it a 7.
Crossroads (3:21) – Like it. Give it an 8.
Here We Are (6:43) – Title track worthy. Give it an 8.
Eclipse (10:11) – Very charming. Give it a 7.5.
Dreamcatcher (13:36) – Decent. Give it a 7.
From Me (16:54) – Decent. Give it a 7.
This is probably one of GFRIEND’s most polished releases.
I get why something like Labyrinth is more your speed and what you’ve expected of GF but the way this dovetails really nicely with TFTMN and Sunrise really speaks to me. I also like how it’s tone compliments with the emotional chaos & tone of the MV as well.
That said I can’t help but wonder if they deploying Fingertip when they did and it not being as comparatively successful had them/their producers backtracking and feeling they needed to forge a different way for title tracks as well. The rock sound is still present in their overall music but maybe they’re eschewing it for now in favor of building steam to get back to a greater career high – this song did go #1 on most of the charts. Then again it’s also the very real possibility that as they’re getting farther along in their career this more delicate balance is something they prefer to the more overt rock tone too.
I think it’s quite funny how people compare it to TFTMN and how it’s “too light” “no impact” “much better B-sides” etc when that was the exact response TFTMN got when it was released. Personally I’m more than happy with Crossroads and don’t really see the problem. Ofc everyone got different tastes I just don’t see how it’s “lighter” than tftmn.
I love the swell of the vocals in the chorus, the lush instrumentation, the sense of nostalgia and touch of classicism and romanticism for quality pop songs of long ago, the sense of a mysterious story conveyed in the cinematography in the video, the sophisticated stage presentation, and especially like the fact that it holds up well after multiple listens.
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Compared to the girl groups releases, this is by far my favorite one. It has quality, it has elegance and beauty.
Unlike the popular opinion on their change of sound, I did love the transition from their easy breezy powerful innocence to this dramatic, a lot more orchestral and experimental “melancholy” sound. It was a different take on sonically “maturing” that is not often heard in kpop. Especially not for GGs where the only way out is turning into a trendy girl group.
However, I do believe they missed a big opportunity to start a new story. I thought Sunny Summer was the end of that era.
Review of your Review 4/10. Postmodernistic basis for judgement and personal whim which leads to inconsistent contradictions.
I find it funny you have the audacity to call the percussion
“inconsequential” and compare Nogizaka46 or any kpop song when their use of percussion is just a static triplet beat with no actual fills and beat progression.
I also find it quite funny seeing 8.5 high scores for DunDun or that Ateez song when these songs employ overused motifs from triplets with no progression.
No mention or praise for atleast not using overused motifs,sampling and cliches on this composition nor there is mention for the implementation of text painting, non linear key changes and expanion of motifs and other varying technicalities.
IA. I usually like the reviews I find on this site but was quite disappointed that this review is quite contradictory. This blog is known for disliking these trendy, overused songs yet the most generic songs got higher reviews. Strange.
Crossroads was a 10/10 composition