Review

Song Review: (G)I-DLE – HWAA

Whatever I may think about (G)I-DLE’s music, I can always appreciate their ambition. They commit to their concepts, and leader Soyeon’s composition skills ensure that their title tracks feel consistently them regardless of the genre. Unfortunately, more often than not their songs just don’t connect with me. Oftentimes, I find their work to be heavy on style and light on songwriting substance. New single HWAA (화(火花)) does little to convince me otherwise, but it’s stronger than both of their 2020 offerings.

Like 2019’s Hann, HWAA thrives on its sense of atmosphere. The instrumental pulls in plenty of texture, from the wisp of woodwinds to the soft thud of percussion. It’s a dynamic blend, and instantly forges a sense of cinematic grandeur. K-pop has always been heavily image-based, and you can practically see this song. This culminates in a gorgeous (and much too short) instrumental coda that ends the track on a high. HWAA could have been extended by at least thirty seconds and been all the stronger for it.

But while the song succeeds on its instrumental, the core melodies leave something to be desired. The incantation-like hook that anchors HWAA is pretty satisfying, but I’m not sure it feels substantial enough to be the main course. Instead, it comes across like a post-chorus refrain. Likewise, the verses are quite forgettable. A rap breakdown takes the place of the second verse, but it’s incorporated more seamlessly than usual. The first verse sets HWAA’s tone, yet fails to conjure a memorable or impactful melody. In short, HWAA harnesses both the strengths and weaknesses of (G)I-DLE’s sound, and in doing so lands somewhere in the middle of their singles run.

 Hooks 7
 Production 9
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 8

24 thoughts on “Song Review: (G)I-DLE – HWAA

  1. Agreed with the rating. It’s pretty and the concept is interesting but I’m not sure I’ll be listening to it that much (which might change with time as I like this better than their last year’s releases).

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  2. have you listened to the bsides? i feel like you’re gonna love them more! esp MOON. def better than HWAA. also, i really love the 2019 HANN rendition in the album

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  3. This song sounds like a blender of several other songs. A bit of Hann, a bit of the KARD ouevre, others. I hear a lot of Hann in it.

    If there is a plus it is that I am not immediately repulsed by the song as for their previous few releases.

    Rating a bit high in my opinion, mid-7’s at best for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Choruses like this or the post-chorus/hook of ONF’s Sukhumvit Swimming, Yooa’s Bon voyage (which I quite like) are steps away from an “instrumental hook” chorus.

    On first listen I was like “oooo is this the same lick as Hann?” but it’s different enough while maintaining the G-idle signature.

    the production – I love everything besides the drum production. The stop and start quality is very G-idle. Alas, the teasers had the most exciting part of the instrumental. The beat has a nice reggaeton drive but lets the melodic layers do the real work. Hope it would even kick up another notch.

    The mini-album is good. It really doesn’t play as the Soyeon show and Minnie & Yuqi have songwriting and even arrangement credits. That’s awesome that the self-producing aspect is going beyond Soyeon.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. The song is such a vibe, it’s good when you listen to it as a aesthetic piece, the song juat sounds so beautiful at several parts.

    However when it’s together it feels very incomplete. Soyeon’s weakness is how she ends songs. In Dumdi Dumdi it’s just the “dumdidumdum” repeating, in Seonrita it’s just some yufufu thrown in, in Hwaa the ending is just half of the hook and an instrumental playing and feels so abrupt. I wish it continues with that instrumental for 10 seconds more!

    With that being said, it’s a song I’m glad existed, but I wish it was longer… I’d rate it the same as you.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I got an ad when the song ended and was so sure there would be more after the ad and was shocked when there wasn’t. That’s an upsetting ending, it could work if the rest of the song was better but it isn’t. The chorus isn’t bad, it’s the best part but the verses are extremely stale and there is no rhythm or progression, almost like they are talking.

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  7. I agree with the rating too. It’s a very good song, but also a very frustrating one just because you can almost hear the futuro masterpiece these girls are obviously capable of making.
    They’ll get there, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. This song is fine but something about it is just lacking. I’m sure this group have great songs in them but they seem to consistently underwhelm.

    Curious whether there’ll be a buried treasure, though – I quite like Hann (Alone in winter) from the mini album

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  9. I like this song a lot, probably high 8s for me. They chose such a beautiful style and concept this time around, which is probably part of it. It’s still a very G-Idle sound, but I don’t think I’ve liked a release of theirs this much since Hann.

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  10. You ever heard of a jpop group called FLOWER because they did this stuff way better.

    Also i finally figured out why their songs kinda stink. The arrangement

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  11. biggest problem is the 4 bar ending which was very short for an outro. it makes the outro of the song sound lacking. their songs dont have chorus endings which make their song kind of incomplete

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  12. Hi, I read a few older posts on your blog and it seems that my taste in music is very similar. Nevertheless, it Is only recently that I started listening to KPOP.
    Have you already reviewed SM Towns free live concert on 01.01.2021? If not are you planning to?

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  13. The song is very atmospheric and reminds me of Hann a lot. Which is a plus because I really liked that song. I just do not like how sparse the song is. Like you mentioned, the verses do not really seem that memorable. The only thing that sticks out to me is the instrumental and the chorus. I am willing to let this song grow. The atmosphere of the song gives it some replay value. Either the instrumentals will make this song for me or it will go into my dungeon of songs that I just did not vibe with.

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  14. Are you interested in making Lost a Buried Treasure? It sounds like nothing I’ve heard in kpop for years and is extremely coherent if not a bit too short

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