Review

Song Review: GFriend – Apple

By not promoting the excellent Labyrinth as a title track this February, GFriend are responsible for the year’s biggest missed opportunity. But, when the composers of new single Apple were revealed, it seemed that K-pop might see some justice after all. Among the thirteen (thirteen!!) names attached to the track, several were also behind Labyrinth. Now, I’ve got no idea why or how it takes thirteen people to craft a song as straightforward as Apple, but names like FRANTS and Hwang Hyun certainly stuck out to me.

Unfortunately, Apple is no Labyrinth. That’s not to say it’s a bad song, but those hoping for some sort of high energy synthpop banger will have to settle for a much more understated affair. GFriend teased this track as a dramatic reinvention, but I don’t think it’s all that daring. Maybe it’s the title and religious imagery, but Apple actually reminds me a track K-pop provocateur Gain might deliver. It has a sultry, synth-drenched vibe, pulsing on a mid-tempo groove that incorporates a prominent guitar arpeggio and plenty of atmospheric electronic flourishes.

Given 2020 K-pop’s urge to shift styles every three seconds, Apple is a remarkably consistent track. Its various elements lock together flawlessly, though the entire thing hits at the same energy level. Even as the girls offer a gorgeous vamping post-chorus, the instrumental barely changes intensity. This causes Apple to feel more like a straight line than the series of peaks and valleys it might have been with a more daring arrangement. This approach has its pros and cons, but ultimately it prevents the track from soaring in the way that GFriend’s best work does. Still, Apple is a successful maturation of their sound. The girls sound amazing throughout, and even if the melody doesn’t hit as strong as I’d like, it carries a hypnotic elegance that will likely become more addictive as the song ages.

 Hooks 8
 Production 8
 Longevity 9
 Bias 8
 RATING 8.25

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

21 thoughts on “Song Review: GFriend – Apple

  1. thoughts on eye of the storm? felt like the clear choice for a title might have even liked it more than Laby; not to say apple isn’t solid but just felt more like a good bside

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    • On first listen, there were a couple of songs I enjoyed more than the title. Eye of the Storm was definitely one of them.

      There are a few buried treasures to pick from the album. Not sure which one I’ll go with yet.

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  2. This is like last years Apink meets Fei’s Fantasy and I’m in love. Up there with the best of 2020 in my opinion.
    The production is gorgeous and the video’s maybe their best one? Tens, tens across the board (well maybe nines but…) ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think this song has a very mature confidence. It isn’t trying to outdo any else out there, out sexy out cute out in your face out girl crush, it just is itself no more no less. The styling is very 2013-2014, long slit skirts sultry, so yes I could hear old BEG or such.

    The choral harmonies are interesting, even if they are autotuned. The only “live” performance uploaded as of now is a showcase, and they aren’t really singing much at all on it, so who knows.

    13 writers? how? It is such a straight forward song verse-chorus-verse-chorus, basic instrumental. Did it get handed around a half dozen times? Change a word, get a thirteenth?

    For me, its not my personal taste, but its OK, nodding my head okay good.

    Liked by 2 people

      • Ah, yes, now I hear it. I haven’t watched ReacttotheK much recently, but doubtless Kevin will gush over this, and then recreate it after 2 listens. Superhuman is a lot more ballsy than this though, and/but it is from a group known for being more outre. Do the songs share a songwriter (or 13) in common?

        OT: have you heard Forestella “Champions” yet? On youtube it is watch?v=6mPz30ZKg7Q So many parallel octaves! So awesome!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. This is definitely between 8.75-9.00. Great effort by Gfriend.

    The instrumental is amazing, if the song had a dance break at the 3min mark at the video, just the girls dancing with the drums and bass as background, it would have been a 9.5

    Liked by 2 people

  5. High 8 for me. The chorus is a little too restrained for my liking but boy do those verses go down easy. Easily my favourite single by them since Sunrise or even Summer Rain (which I actually loved)

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Totally agree with you that Apple is quite flat in intensity, which could get repetitive I guess but hasn’t happened yet for me at least. It feels kinda hypnotic and really stands out from the releases we have had this year in style. The slap bass is a personal favourite as well so I was never not going to like this lol.

    The concept itself is really good as well, it doesn’t try hard to be something else. It’s not like they went “We are going to be sexy” and just aimed at that all in. It’s just elegant confidence in a way, not really sure how to describe it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ehh… felt very uncreative for me. You have the great opportunity to take GFriend’s style anywhere, hire 20 something writers, unlimited potential.. and somehow they end up with a cut-and-paste track that just drags on. Where’s the drama? The mix sounds pretty bad, the post chorus is a real bummer in Gfriend’s melodic discography and the song ends up.. going nowhere. It’s like they took the most basic ’emotional’ pop song, added a slap bass and said ‘yeah, this is GFriend!’

    I get it, it’s supposed to be mature, sultry, whatever. And I have to accept that GFriend can’t attempt to make Navillera clones forever. But there has to be a middle ground where funk/groove meets the drama/maturity they want.. They are stripping down GFriend’s style, I hope they can do it more confidently and go all out (like Dua Lipa’s recent album, I think minimalistic funk could suit GFriend surprisingly well) or at least not give up the groove that drives GFriend tracks. The verses in Apple do this well, but it soon becomes really muddy because they are trying to do way too much. Keep it simple, keep it straightforward.

    Apple feels unsatisfying, like I’d take a knife and slice it in half just so see if it has a core at all. What was the main idea here? It can’t have been that way-o wa post chorus…

    (as you can tell im very annoyed cause i like gfriend a lot)

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  8. I kinda knew you weren’t gonna be as over the moon about this as I am, but I will say that it’s a grower and I hope it reveals itself more to you! Give it more spins and you’ll eventually find yourself singing “wee ohh wah wah wah wah, wee ohh ya ya ya ya” at 3 in the morning…

    In all seriousness I think this is my favorite title since Fingertip but also I am inherently biased towards this specific sound. I love the two-part chorus. I wasn’t sure of it during the highlight medley but now that it’s revealed itself I have fully embraced it. I definitely appreciate your point about wanting a more daring arrangement but I enjoy the song’s simplicity 😀

    On another note, looking forward to your thoughts on the B-sides–hope one of them makes it here as a buried treasure!

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  9. In the beginning it felt very one note, but that chorus really sunk its way into my head. In repeated listens, its a lot easier to appreciate how solid the whole thing is. I guess I was expecting this track to match the energy of Labyrinth, but in the end it never wanted to be a Labyrinth Pt.2. The melody of the verses and chorus are sooo catchy and work well together. The instrumental is also so pleasing to listen to. I love the percussion used in the first verse and the underlying guitar. The track feels very full and its simplicity helps. I think it’ll grow on may like it has already done to me.
    Rating: 9
    First Listen Thoughts: What happened? I don’t remember anything!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d have to disagree, a lot of the melody was stuck in my head after the first listen. It’s hard to replicate the impact of KARA’s best hooks though, even if the production is there (which I’ve sorely been missing in kpop, so I’m happy)

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  10. Wow, I thought you’d hate this! LOL

    I like it but something about the processing is too loud?? Gfriend’s sound has always been about hearing all the organic pieces clearly and while they’re still present here I do think they get buried a bit. I would love to hear a more acoustic version of this but I do think it’s fun, even if not what I think of as a title track from them

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  11. Maybe it’s cause of the mix on the vocal but, the i have a hard time recalling the verses. This one don’t quite have the drama of the best gfriend tracks or the memorable sultry vocal needed.

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  12. Too many cooks. I have no idea for certain how 13 songwriters got credited but it has many of the hallmarks of a typical song camp frankenstein song. That said, it’s not a terrible song, and the production is ok. Probably not a chart topper, but that’s fine, not every song has to be.

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  13. I can see the comparison to Gain. The garden of eden imagery and even the costumes evoked a bit of Paradise Lost for me.

    All in all, I enjoyed this. I felt like I was being pulled in the whole time, placed under a spell by their voices, the instrumentals, etc. Granted, the pace at which I was pulled in never changed, but repetition is used to hypnotize, right?

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