[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.