Review

Song Review: aespa – Forever

Whether intentional or not, SM Entertainment has established a template for debuting their newer girl groups. Open with a big, colorful dance track and follow up with a cover of a late-90’s/early 00’s Yoo Young-Jin produced song. This combination worked wonders for Red Velvet, but both Happiness and Be Natural were dynamite songs. I liked aespa’s Black Mamba just fine, but Forever (약속) is a real snooze, effectively blunting any momentum they may have been building.

The one positive I can say about this track is that it offers a better opportunity to showcase aespa’s vocals. They deliver many of those patented Yoo Young-Jin runs, making the track feel more like a tribute than an unveiling of their own musical color. But, the girls sound assured and polished throughout. Unfortunately, Forever mostly circles the same melodic territory over and over again without ever breaking through. The song is aptly titled, because it seems to stretch on without end. It’s at least a minute too long, but a strong climax might have made the payoff worth the bloated running time.

Curiously, the entire package has been given a Christmassy makeover. Last time I checked, we’ve currently entered the month of February. And, what might have played well during the holidays feels a little disjointed as we look toward spring. But, the entire aespa rollout has been confusing so far, from their awkward AR personas to these contrasting singles. I guess we just have to assume that SM knows what it’s doing – or at the very least is simply too big to fail.

 Hooks 7
 Production 7
 Longevity 7
 Bias 7
 RATING 7

24 thoughts on “Song Review: aespa – Forever

  1. This is the usual 2nd softer side single, to show the girls are well rounded. It is also a really cheesy song. I have to admit, when I hear a softer side single from an SM-girl group, the usual comparison is with SNSD. Aespa do a fine job, better than almost all other girl groups promoting today, but they are not SNSD.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Yeah, this song is a bit like riding shotgun with someone learning to drive a car with a manual transmission. You think things are going great, then this drops and you’re eating dashboard.

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      • Oh, the song isn’t that bad. Its so soft one’s mind would start to wander and daydream about something else until all of a sudden HOLY COW stop stop stop stop now

        ah shit

        Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, we Elves are alright on balance. Its not quite “Chinese Democracy”*

        They have been pre-releasing things one by one with videos or performances as they are finished to satisfy us.
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8rLAeuqt14
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEo14-UOM80
        ‘https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMzXOZNgmeE
        They also released a Japanese repackage album “Star” with new lead single of the same name last week. And Kyuhyun seems to release a ballad and/or OST =just for me= once a month as part of his new “Project: Season” project 🙂

        *This being the title of a Guns’n’Roses album that was 15 years in the making. It was a long running joke.

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    • In all fairness, not even SNSD could pull off a song like Forever and make it not a meandering snoozefest. If anything, aespa doing decently well only furthers the notion that the girls’ skills are being wasted by mediocre songs that have been done earlier and better by groups with honestly far less polished skills.

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  2. Yeah this kind of reminds me of ICC and Dumb Dumb being followed up by One of These Nights (although I did enjoy that song) just as Twice was proving to be real competition for RV. I get that SM likes to show off versatility in their groups, but sometimes it just seems so awkwardly planned out.

    Vocal showcase-wise, I love Ningning’s voice a lot and can’t wait to hear more from her!

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  3. I really like aespa’s vocals. Style and performance seems to have taken precedent over vocals in most 4th generation groups, so I find it refreshing to hear a group that has really solid vocals and is not singing in insanely high keys. However, while the song is pleasant, it definitely feels like it was supposed to be released 2 months ago (which seems to be a trend with many SM releases within the last few years). I also totally agree that the song is about a full minute too long. Not sure if a 5 minute Christmas ballad was a good choice for a second single, but I’m still looking forward to see what aespa does next.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I get why this exists. I understand the visuals, the mood, and the intent. The girls are building their relationships with the fans. For me, it’s neither good nor bad. It’s an unsong. Since I’m not the target audience for this drop, it may as well be titled “ForNever”.

    P.S. Please don’t associate my ambivalence as condemnation.
    P.P.S. Please don’t associate my lack of condemnation as praise.
    P.P.P.S. I was never here.

    Liked by 6 people

  5. I actually really like ballads and think they can 100% work as title tracks, though I know many international fans prefer more upbeat songs. Forever is a little too bland for my taste but I think the strong vocals really uplift the song. The Korean public loves ballads and it’s SM, so this will probably do just fine but it does feel underwhelming for a 2nd comeback.

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  6. It just looked like should be a snap release on Christmas and with all their effort they could only finish like 3 seconds of 3d animation so February it is. Compared to “Be Natural”…. well one can only shrug

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  7. Maybe I wrongly associate ballads with a more raw or emotional delivery and presentation..this seems as staged as can be. I’m not the biggest fan of the choreographed sitting and synchronized swaying.

    The girls do sound great! It’s nice that they get more of a vocal spotlight here, but a more memorable song would have been nice.

    Liked by 3 people

    • This is exactly how I feel about the song. This song is just mid tempo enough to make sitting still awkward, but also make the choreography also awkward. I can imagine them singing this at a concert and everyone is swaying their arms, but then awkwardly get tired halfway through because the song is just that long.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. The song didn’t really catch my attention but those vocals!!! Really good 🙂 Also it’s nice to finally hear Giselle

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