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GFRIEND: Song of the Sirens or Song of the Year?

[Korean translation available at the bottom / 한국어 번역은 하단에 있습니다]

GFRIEND did it again. I never doubted them, but to say that 'Song of the Sirens' exceeded my expectations would be a great understatement. They gave us vocals, visuals, emotion, depth, and so much more. GFRIEND proved once again that having such a unique musical identity doesn't mean that they aren't still able to take exciting risks and reinvent themselves along the way.

The 6-member, K-pop girl group, GFRIEND, have been known for effectively fusing pop music with other genres that aren't as commonly used in K-pop, such as classical music, synth, shibuya-kei, new jack swing, future-funk, pop-rock and so much more into their music. In fact, GFRIEND is known to have their unique musical identity branded affectionately as the Queens of orchestra-pop in K-pop by their fans and critics. GFRIEND's distinctiveness within the K-pop idol scene has allowed them to create their own unique mark in the Korean pop music scene.

Apple is a lush, elegant K-pop song and concept that displays a mature and cool confidence that is arguably not showcased enough to the western music market. Apple doesn’t try to replicate what’s currently in the market and stands out as a sensual, hypnotic, mid-tempo synth-funk song. The choral harmonies, the melodies, the slap bass work together to deliver another catchy song from this group.

The music video was filled with symbolism that ties into the EP, Song of the Sirens message of exploring one’s self in the midst of temptation. The EP lived up to expectations. The group’s continued use of strings, percussion, piano and their statement bassline is ever present in Song of the Sirens. The members were extensively involved in the production and songwriting process and that has reflected in introspective lyrics that give us glimpses of the group’s experience thus far in their musical journey. There are so many standouts, but Eye of the Storm, Room of Mirrors and Stairs in the North are gems that need to be on every pop playlist. It is different, yet still uniquely GFRIEND.

With all of that being said, fans of GFRIEND (known as BUDDIES/BUDDY) took it upon themselves to create a viral challenge, #APPLECHALLENGE, to GFRIEND's title track, Apple. The overall challenge has gave birth to others like #APPLEDANCECHALLENGE #GFRIENDSWITCH (to play on the fact that GFRIEND's transition resembled that of a vibrant WITCH, but also the fact that the hashtag reads as GFRIEND SWITCH) encourages fans to transition from one look to another, especially to a more edgy, darker concept. The challenges can be done on any social media platform like Tiktok, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Fans of GFRIEND felt like this would be a great opportunity to have fun with the new song and expose GFRIEND's music to an even larger international audience and get more people, even those who don't know who GFRIEND are, to get involved in the trend and just have fun with it in hopes that it would encourage them to give GFRIEND's music a chance.

I reached out to the creator of the #GFRIENDSWITCH, a black woman fan of GFRIEND on Tik Tok, @cyberwings, who has been supporting them and their music since their debut and they said, "I made the hashtag because I think it would be a fun way to show the duality of GFRIEND’s image, plus I like watching fun TikTok videos ". The various #AppleChallenges have spread to fans across the world.

Here are some examples of the challenges:

I thought that this was such a wholesome and supportive way to support this increasingly successful and talented, young group. It's wonderful seeing fans from all corners of the world come together to support artists they love in a way that's actually productive and intentional. I hope that GFRIEND sees the initiative that their fans are taking on with the #APPLECHALLENGE.

GFRIEND did their own version, as well, albeit they didn't use a hashtag for fans to use or a Tik Tok sound for fans to be redirected to, but it was still so cute and it was nice for them to do. Here's an example of Eunha's:

Nonetheless, I'm wishing them the best of luck on their most recent comeback.


여자친구: 사이렌의 노래? 아니면 올해의 명곡?

한국의 아이돌 그룹 여자친구가 또 해냈습니다. 전 그녀들을 의심한적은 한번도 없지만, 'Song of the Sirens' 은 기대 이상이라는 말로는 부족하겠죠. 보컬, 비주얼, 감정, 깊이, 그리고 수많은 요소들이 보이는 작품이기 때문입니다. 그녀들이 독특하고 특별한 유형의 그룹이어도 그녀들의 계속된 성장은 항상 새로운 모습을 보여주지요.

6-인조 케이팝 걸그룹 여자친구는 케이팝에서 흔히 보이지 않는 음악적 요소를 많이 사용하기로 유명한데요, 클래식 음악, 시부야케이, 뉴잭스윙, 퓨처펑크, 팝, 락, 등등 많은 장르들이 많이 녹아 들어있죠. 팬들 사이에선 흔히 오케스트라-팝의 여왕들이라는 애칭으로 불리기도 한답니다. 여자친구의 독보적 매력은 다른 그룹들과 달리 돋보여 케이팝에 둘도없는 신선한 그룹이지요.

"Apple" 의 고급스러우면서도 청량한 사운드는 서양 음악에서는 쉽사리 듣지 못하는 자신감 있는 노래입니다. "Apple" 은 기존 케이팝과 전혀 비슷하지 않은 감각적이며 몽환적인 노래죠. 성가대의 목소리를 삽입한듯한 하모니, 멜로디, 그리고 베이스가 조화를 이루어 다시한번 그녀들은 히트곡을 만들었습니다.

뮤직비디오는 EP와 연관성 있는 상징적 요소가 많이 들어가 있는데요, Song of the Sirens 는 한 사람이 유혹을 마주했을때 심리를 표현합니다. 이 엘범은 기대치가 있었던 만큼 충분히 만족스러웠습니다. 이 그룹의 계속된 현악기, 타악기, 피아노, 그리고 베이스기타의 사용은 이 엘범에서도 역시 찾아볼수가 있습니다. 멤버들이 직접 작사 작곡에 참여를 했다는데요, 가사가 그런지 더 와닫고 그룹의 음악적 재능을 더더욱 보여주는듯합니다. 유난히 좋은 곡들은 분명 실려있지만, "Eye of the Storm", "Room of Mirrors", "Room of Mirrors", 그리고 "Stairs in the North"는 모든 팝 재생목록에 있어야할 주옥같은 곡들입니다. 뭔가 다르지만, 그래도 여자친구의 독보적 색깔이 보인는 곡들이기 때문이죠.

여자친구의 팬들, 버디들은 이 새로운 음악을 축하하기 위해 챌린지를 만들었는데요, 일명 #APPLECHALLENGE 로 타이틀곡 Apple 을 널리 알리고 있습니다. 그 이외 해쉬태그들은 #APPLEDANCECHALLENGE #GFRIENDSWITCH 등등 있습니다 (여자친구의 현재 이미지가 마성의 마녀인걸 이용한 말장난). 이 챌린지들로 인해서 컨셉이 확 바뀌는거에 대해 팬들끼리 소통할 공간을 만드는거죠. 틱톡, 트위터, 인스타그램 등등 SNS 에서 이 챌린지를 찾아볼수 있습니다.

여자친구의 팬들은 이 챌린지를 통해 현존하는 팬들은 물론 세계 곳곳에서 새로운 사람들이 여자친구와 케이팝을 알아가길 바라고 있습니다.

제가 직접 #GFRIENDSWITCH를 만든 팬분에게 연락을 해봤는데요, 그녀는 틱톡에서 @cyberwings 로 활동하고 있는 흑인 여성 팬이였습니다. 그녀는 여자친구를 데뷔때부터 좋아해왔다는데요. 그녀는 이렇게 말했습니다. "여자친구의 많은 이미지들을 재미있게 보여줄수 있는 방법이라고 생각해서 이 해쉬태그를 만들었어요. 그리고, 재미있는 틱톡 보는거 좋아하거든요." 이런 유형의 챌린지들은 현재 세계 곳곳에 퍼지는 중입니다.

이건 정말 아름답고 따듯한 방식의 덕질이라고 생각해요. 세계 곳곳에서 사는 팬들이 함께 모여 무언가를 한다는건 정말 멋있는거같아요. 여자친구 본인들이 #APPLECHALLENGE를 봤으면 좋겠네요.

여자친구도 그녀들만의 챌린지를 했지만 해쉬태그같은건 쓰지 않았네요. 그래도 귀여웠어요. 은하가 한 예시:

이 컴백이 성공적으로 마무리되길 바래요.

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Christopher john
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