Review

Song Review: LE SSERAFIM – Antifragile

LE SSERAFIM - AntifragileThough Fearless could have used a bit more fleshing out in places, LE SSERAFIM’s mini album stands as one of the year’s strongest debuts. I found myself drawn to their aloof performance style and fashionable sound, and hoped their eventual comeback would build on the sound of b-sides like The Great Mermaid and Blue Flame. But when Antifragile’s teaser revealed a reggaeton-inspired beat and repetitive sing-talk hook, it became clear we were dealing with something a little different.

My reservations around Antifragile stem from the oversaturation of these sounds in K-pop. There’s only so much you can do with the same structures and samples. But, I think this song works in spite of itself. The repetitive “anti-ti-ti” hook found in most of the teasers turns out to be a post-chorus flourish, while the actual chorus stands as Antifragile’s most potent ingredient. I love the extra hits of percussion during this refrain. The energy swoops and swerves in a very satisfying way, adding to the natural charisma delivered by the girls. Honestly, this segment alone makes the entire track.

I’m less enthused by parts of the verses – especially that oddly-phrased second verse rap. But to the producers’ credit, they squeeze the most they can from the song’s thumping beat. Too many K-pop tracks surrender to multiple tempo shifts when they’d be better off finding one great groove and sticking with it. Antifragile’s beat is utterly infectious and marks a through-line that keeps the song’s momentum intact. Its consistency creates a trance-like effect that helps smooth over some of Antifragile’s more jarring elements. We’ll see how the track ages, but for now I’m surprised how much I enjoy this.

Hooks 8
 Production 9
 Longevity 9
 Bias 9
 RATING 8.75

Grade: B+

47 thoughts on “Song Review: LE SSERAFIM – Antifragile

  1. Ok I love this!

    So this is the first k-pop songwriting credit for the artist Isabella Lovestory… an underground pop artist from Honduras/Montreal/NYC. I’m a massive fan of her music. Right before the pandemic, I remember seeing her perform in the basement of a Lower East Side club where she brought out two backup dancers and a bubble machine for a truly magical performance. You can totally hear her phrasing allll over this Anti-fragile.


    (my friend Leah edited this music video hehehe)

    I listened to Fearless over and over, I love that debut minialbum. And being such a fan of Isabella Lovestory, I’m extremelllyyyy biased to this song. To me, it’s a meeting of worlds, contemporary reggaetone/mombahtone rhythm, underground pop snear, and k-pop futuristic maximalism.

    I love the contrast between very processed robotic vocals and less touched vocals. I love the moves between rap and melodicism. The beat is incredible. This is by far one of my favorite k-pop songs of the year. I can’t wait to see the stages, to see how it sits with the public, and to continue enjoying Le Sserafim’s very exciting musical trajectory. Can’t wait to dive into the rest of the mini-album as well.
    Whooooo!

    Liked by 6 people

  2. The “anti-ti-ti-ti” hook is grating (yet will probably get stuck in my head) and I can do without the incessant squeaky synth, but it’s nice to see them tackling something with a bit of energy for once! Probably low-to-mid 8s for me, it would be a bit higher if not for the sonic irritants.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Fearless quickly got boring and even somewhat obnoxious for me due to its ultra-repetitive chorus hook. Talking about the girls’ first comeback, I love it. I don’t know how the track will age, however, this “anti-ti-ti-ti-fragile” is just incredibly infectious. Personally to me, this is pure dumb fun, something that makes me add some extra points no matter what the song is. I’ll put this one into the mid-8’s.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I’m latino and I was scared they would do something repetitive from the teasers but this was so good omg.

    I feel like the mv may be boosting my rating but I think I can give it a 9. The girls really sell the song too

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m in love. That beat that sets the foundation for the rest of the song is extremely potent. At first, I wasn’t too sure, but on second listen, I was totally jamming with this. A strong insistent beat laced throughout the song can really do wonders. The chorus is surprisingly potent. It didn’t make much of an impact at first listen but it is now stuck in my head. The prechours line with the ‘lion’ is very memorable and makes for a good iconic catchphrase in the years to come. And of course, we cannot forget our main hook with ‘an-ti-ti-fragile-fragile-fragile-fragile’.

    An easy 9+.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. surprised by how much people are liking this! I wasn’t sure about it when I heard the preview on Amazing Saturday (and the leak) but it really lingered in my brain lol. the vocal processing isn’t that severe here, which makes me think NewJeans’ success had something to do with it, let’s keep it up HYBE producers. though I still prefer FEARLESS over this, the song is still really good. and I can’t wait for the album later, I believe they’ll deliver another amazing EP!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. This is not moombahton, this is reggaeton

    No other kpop group has leaned on reggaeton as Le sserafim has, as far as I know

    The other groups I have heard only present a “latin fantasy” concept, while Antifragile is on par with current reggaeton

    Liked by 4 people

  8. I loved the track! I definitely have the same thoughts as OP with the teasers not sounding as promising and then the track turns out to be great! The girls sounded amazing and that post-chorus refrain is now stuck in my head.

    I’m looking forward to their EP and their album tracks. I’m curious to find out if the new EP can beat their debut EP since the latter had amazing b-side tracks.

    Like

  9. I am also surprised that I like this. With songs that have a repetitive sing-talk hook, I usually avoid them because they are not my scene. A lot of these songs don’t have a strong enough melody or hook to make me listen (like…Pink Venom) and the grating repetition just annoys me. Here however, this song work weirdly. I like the chorus, I like the main hook and I am ultra happy that the “anti-ti-ti…” is not part of the main chorus. Could the song be better without it? I think so but … it works here. Yes, Kazuka’s line in the second verse (“lovey dovey” or whatever shit) is jarring and unnecessary. But, I like this song for now. Will I continue to like it in the foreseeable future? No clue.

    Also, did they hold back on processing their voices? I could actually distinguish their voices!! This is a cause for celebration!! YAY.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. My year end list is going to be so weird, few to none of the “big hits” of 2022 kpop. I suppose this makes me on the fringe of the fringe for kpop stanning in the US.
    This one is ok, but I don’t listen to this kind of sing in Spanish or English, so I am not particularly inclined for the same thing now in Korean.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Right now I still find the “anti-ti-ti fragile fragile” parts obnoxious, but I can see myself warming up to the song over time… I definitely like it more than Fearless, though it’s probably because this sounds like a Latin clubbing song (I love club music…). I think I’d rate it somewhere around low 8’s for now. That reggaeton beat is infectious!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. My opinions about this song is the opposite of the lots of people here I guess. I don’t like this at all. The instrumental sounds like a mix of random sounds all combined together. This song sounds too disorganized for me but maybe this will grow on me like how P1Harmony’s ‘Scared’ did

    Liked by 5 people

  13. So we are just gonna ignore the fact that they blatantly copied the sound from CON ALTURA by the one and only LA ROSALIA, aren’t we?

    Like

    • This “reggaeton sound” is the most common in any reggaeton song. I still don’t understand the comparison to a song that is inspired by decades of previous music.
      I don’t like Antifragile, but I don’t think that popular sound is their problem, they simply used the most common sound so that the genre can be distinguished by miles.

      Liked by 2 people

  14. This is… okay, when people say this sounds like reggaeton, my brain actually goes to DANGDUT, and more precisely 2000s dangdut sound. I may despise the mixing of it, but heck it sounds so infectious.

    Like

  15. Ok, it’s been almost 2 days and I can say that I don’t dislike the song as much as after the first listen, it has grown on me a lot but still it’s not something I will play willingly.
    That said, I think the main reason for my displeasure is that I’m Latina and I hear reggeaton everywhere, if it’s not the neighbor with his speakers, it’s some advertisement on youtube. It’s not my favorite genre or I’m a little tired of it, so this song got on my nerves.
    On the other hand, the repetition of “antifragile” annoys me, especially because it gives me a nasty tickle in the ears, but in the repetitions it even works as a captivating hook.
    In short, I will give it a 7. 6.5 to the song itself and 0.5 for the daring to make a reggeaton song sung in Korean, I have to admit that it is unique and the girls look captivating in the MV although I don’t understand the meaning of half of the frames.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Everyone is saying reggaeton, but when I heard it the first thing I noticed is Dangdut.

    I like it, even though it’s painful to listen to because of the ugly lyrics and obnoxious sing-talk.

    Like

  17. I cannot stand this song. There are just some parts that make me cringe so badly. This is no offense to the girls though. Eunchae’s “like a lion” part made me cringe, the anti-ti-ti-ti part wasn’t for me. The screechy instrumental was a no, Kazuha’s lovey-dovey rap was unbearable honestly, and I didn’t understand the English lyrics in the rap, which ruined it slightly for me. The pre-chorus was bearable. Chaewon’s intro did not do it for me. I couldn’t get through the song the first time. I went to look at criticisms and everyone really liked it, so I made myself listen to it entirely. Chaewon’s high note was cool, but that’s about it.
    Fearless wasn’t bad, like it was plain, but the mini-album really shone so I was excited to see what they would do, I went into Antifragile without listening to the teasers so idk, maybe that ruined my experience? In any case, I really cannot stand the song, and I can’t see it growing on me. I’m glad I can tell the girls’ voices apart now though.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I feel like if I listen to this song one more time it will get to my brain and eat the entirety of it.
    This came out straight out from the trashbin that is Urban Latin music. Horrendous.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.