Review

Song Review: Lovelyz – Obliviate

Right now, Lovelyz are in the same spot their agency seniors Infinite were in 2016: about a year from their contract renewal date and plagued by an infrequent release schedule. That’s not to say the individual members haven’t been busy. Kei and Sujeong each released solo albums, and the irresistibly-extra Mijoo has become something of a variety star. But, it’s been almost sixteen months since we’ve heard a full-group comeback. This is coming on the heels of Lovelyz’ participation in last year’s Queendom, which delivered… mixed results for them. Perhaps that experience influenced Obliviate‘s change-up in sound.

Song for song, Lovelyz are one of my favorite K-pop girl groups. Much of that is due to their consistent sound and musical identity. They’ve switched things up here and there, but you can always count on a Lovelyz single to deliver classic pop melody and satisfying arrangements. Obliviate maintains some of that charm, but also takes some frustrating turns.

As the group’s first real “dark” title track, Obliviate opens with plucked guitar over a driving beat that quickly dissipates into a more minimalist, trap-infused verse. While this verse offers plenty of atmosphere, the melody never really hits. I like how Babysoul’s dramatic vocal sweeps us into the pre-chorus, but the whole arrangement feels a little unfocused – a hurdle that Obliviate continues to struggle with as it goes on.

In contrast, the song’s chorus is almost too tightly structured. The catchy deep house beat works well, but the hooks are repetitive to a point where they nearly grate. Rather than offer a variety of structural approaches, Obliviate delivers one repeated phrase after another. “Obliviate, obliviate” is quickly followed by “down down stop it, down down stop it.” Just one of these segments might have been potent, but taken together they quickly become monotonous. Obliviate’s beguiling mood compensates a bit, but I think this track could have been much more dynamic.

 Hooks 7
 Production 8
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.75


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35 thoughts on “Song Review: Lovelyz – Obliviate

  1. I really like the song, but I also think it suffers a bit when compared to other examples of girl groups making the transition to more mature or sophisticated ir “darker” sounds.
    I’m So Sick, Apple, Guerilla… Obliviate is not quite up there in my opinion.

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  2. I think its OK. It has some charms to it – I like the down down stop it part best actually. It sounds like Lovelyz doing a GFriend song, in a way.

    But I have two things to note

    1) The recorded video version is >>> the music show version. The whole song somehow became so blah during their showcase performance. Energy? Dance too basic? Too much backing track? Poor camera work? ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5J9rmQEf-84

    2) “Obliviate” pronunciation. Uh bee ah tay. Before kids, I used to travel a lot on business, and after a while in a foreign country you start to pronounce English words (which is my native language) as that country pronounces them so they understand what you are saying in your native language. So I can perfectly see and hear how Uh-blih-vee-ate becomes Uh-bee-ah-tay, but that doesn’t mean that it is just interesting choice for the main title. Actually uh-blih-vee-ate wouldn’t even work in the song.

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    • Actually the way Lovelyz pronounces Obliviate is the correct Latin pronunciation (since it’s originally a Latin word, not an English one)! So it’s not them changing an English word to fit the rhythm or messing it up because they’re Korean – they’re just saying it right in the original language ^^

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  3. I like this quite a bit. For a while their title choices struck me as an adult contemporary version of classic Apink – which is respectable but not my personal taste usually – and I think if they were going to change it up this makes sense as a meeting between their classic sound and a new one, a 90 degree change vs. a 180, and hopefully it serves them well

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  4. This is easily a WJSN title track, but without some of the charms that WJSN has given in the past. I thought the composer would be Full8loom but it turns out it’s a different set of composers. I wonder if things would be different for “Obliviate” if Full8loom composed it.

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  5. This definitely sounds like Wannabe’s sister track. I love the instrumental in the beginning and I really wish they used it more often because it really gave me a lot of hope and hype. I really want to know what’s in these producers’ heads when they decide to not make good use of such a unique and moving beat. They didn’t even use it again for at least the outro! Really could have propelled this song into the “Never Skip” category for me. It’s not a bad song but it’s just not where my expectations were after hearing the first 20 seconds. I hope there is someone talented enough out there to rearrange this song with that beat cause whew what a waaaaaste.

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  6. Yeah, I steeled expectations for this as a fan after I heard them talking about a radical concept/sound change for this next comeback. I think others have already mentioned it but it really does sound like Lovelyz does Gfriend Apple to me. It’s alright. High 7, low 8; I personally find Memories and Worry Dolls much more appealing. This whole Woollim goes dark thing is really not working for me. But who knows, maybe this will get them some attention from more i-fans, who have some weird aversion to cute concept ggs.

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  7. The fakeout key change, dark mystical house sound and bad mixing makes this sound like a budget Pantomime or a random GWSN deep cut. I’d give it like a strong 6. Will return to listening to Wow and wondering why Lovelyz hasn’t had a comeback since early 2019

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  8. the song is fine but I’M done with those tinkling ting ting sounds in every kpop song. maybe they think elegance in songs come from tinkling bells.

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    • For better or worse Apink’s reinvention to dark synthpop has caused a surge in uninspired concept change songs but without the catchy hooks or crisp production

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      • but i feel like apink mature songs are catchy. i used to like twice only but i love apink now too and chorong voice(i can listen to chorong all day)

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  9. but when is everglow having a comeback. I’M really waiting for them, even blackpink is having a comeback now.

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  10. Someone mentioned this already, but Obliviate is basically the basic witch version of the Wonderland-esque Pantomime by WJSN.

    They both sort of have that whimsical nature, but Pantomime’s production is just so interesting and intricate with so many changes while Obliviate just kind of stays pretty flat despite the fact that it does change up its production (it’s just not interesting enough).

    I do like the hooks even if one of them is a pretty bad pronunciation of “Obliviate”.

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  11. It’s a cool song. I would give it an 8.5. I just wish that thay could’ve used that key change to it’s full potential, given that the melody was pretty good too.. but still, I am satisfied 🙂

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  12. This is very, very weak – the songwriters seem to have just taken the day off. The comparisons to Pantomime are apt, but it reminds me even more of… every IZ*ONE song since Violeta. Not my thing.

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  13. Lovelyz’s story is very similar to her song “Cameo” always being that actress away from the spotlight, waiting to be noticed. It is very sad that the past releases of Lovelyz went unnoticed, people said “It’s good music, but something is missing” so they missed songs like “Candy Jelly Love”, “Hi”, the beautiful “For you” the incomparable “Destiny “, the elegant and exuberant” Lost and found “…” they were good, very well produced … but something is missing … people said “… they were just” cameos “. Yes! Obliviate is the trendiest thing we’ve heard from Lovelyz and it may not satisfy the taste of many … but it’s a song that has finally put Lovelyz in the spotlight. Many say that Lovelyz changed their concept, but the Lovelinus know that they have been transforming their sound. “Daydream”, “temptation”, and “Day and night” are examples of testing new sounds. I’ve always had the feeling that Lovelyz will be valued once he’s gone.

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  14. It’s not entirely bad and disappointing as I thought it would. It’s lacking a bit more impact unlike their past songs, and sounds more of a strong b-side than a title track. It could be nice if they twisted the track a bit more though.

    The ‘obliviate obliviate’ and the ‘down down’ part are actually engaging at first, as they sang it with more attitude, but honestly it gets old pretty easily. Oh and the key change caught me off guard, expecting the song to have a wonderful climax that I wanted; instead, it’s just another repeated chorus but a little higher.

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  15. The main problem for me is that only Sujeong feel completely engaged with the concept, the other girls don’t feel as comfortable with it as her.

    Sujeong, Yein, Jisoo and Mijoo: this four girls should always be upfront, not babysoul. Nothing against her, she does great in other concepts, but in this case she just can’t deliver the sexiness and confidence this song needs.

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  16. I listen to Lovelyz to hear Kei, Jin, Babysoul and Sujeong’s vocals over some of the best written songs in their genre/typical concept. Yein, Mijoo, Jisoo and Jiae are essential to the group, but don’t have the same exceptional singing ability as the vocal line.

    I understand that focusing on their performance line is beneficial for continued promotions, but I think Lovelyz as a whole suffers – the charisma of the video doesn’t translate in the headphones.

    There’s really great musical ideas that never get developed or repeated (like the initial house drop after the guitar intro) – and then the lesser ideas are repeated until no longer interesting. I wish the drama of the prechorus was less stuffed into the section and spanned the entire song.

    Seeing a lot of references to Pantomime and I think it may be true that WJSN have seceded Lovelyz’s as the purveyors of the funky, ultra-musical, classic K-pop girl group style…

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  17. The song is pretty good, I just feel bad that they have to go with this concept. Maybe it’s my bias towards brighter, colourful and innocent-sounding songs but it seemed like Lovelyz fitted that concept better than this one (although Mijoo and Sujeong seem to shine with this sound). Maybe the members want a change? Maybe Woollim are selling them out? Anyways, I’ll anticipate for their signature bubblegum sound again, hoping it will come.

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