Written and translated by Kim Yoo Hyang
(G)I-DLE’s 4th mini-album I Burn is expected to be released on January 11th. Cube Entertainment unveiled the group’s visual film on the 28th through their official YouTube channel and revealed the name of the comeback album on the next day. It is noteworthy what kind of concept and direction (G)I-DLE will bring to the table this time, after restlessly building their music career with endless comebacks since their debut in May 2018. As the group’s leader Soyeon composes, writes, and produces their songs and creates the group’s unique identity, we look forward to how she will contribute to the new album, I Burn. Let’s have a look at (G)I-DLE’s past music videos, stages, and music which are often under strong themes, as we make reasonable expectations for the upcoming comeback.
The ‘Fierce and Funky’ Melodies Written by Soyeon
Soyeon does not limit herself when it comes to writing songs. The title song from their first album, “LATATA” is a moombahton which is a fusion of house music and reggaeton, while “Senorita” is a Latin pop, and “Oh My God” is an urban hip-hop track. As such, Soyeon has been showcasing her range in music. While urban hip-hop and house are genres loved by the K-Pop scene, (G)I-DLE remains exclusive when it comes to making a moombahton and reggaeton hit song. “DUMDi DUMDi,” a song released this August, demonstrates Soyeon’s musical wit with her combination of tropical melodies, intense beats, and grand bass lines that knocked summer out.
(G)I-DLE’s lyrics are also particularly impressive. “Hann,” their first digital single, in particular, contains lyrics that depict a narrative so complex that it is difficult to categorize it merely as a love song. As they hypnotize themselves saying “I shall forget you / Go away, don’t come back, don’t look back / I shall erase you / Go away, don’t come back, don’t look back,” (G)I-DLE maintains a sharp yet sorrowful stance within the song. In particular, they manage to disclose their underlying pains and scars via a subject matter of “Hann,” which is specifically Korean.
(G)I-DLE’s Concepts, and Their Own Brand
The revengeful woman in “Hann,” the figure who has come to doubt and trust themself through rejection and confusion in “Oh My God,” the “LION” fighting for its crown, and “DUMDi DUMDi” which presents not a refreshing, but rather hot and humid summer. These are ways (G)I-DLE breaks through the one-dimensional concepts of girl groups such as sexy, cute, and pure, and create their own narrative. They shake the K-Pop universe up with their concepts which are at times unusual, and at other times, mystical. To cite the lyrics of a song which displays their solid group identity, “Oh My God,” (G)I-DLE is “Crazily beautiful, like a devil on second look, / Barges in without reason, and / as fierce as a flame and loves till [they] burn.” Whilst they are passionate about singing about love, they never sing about the same love twice. They become the main characters of a new story every time, and the subject of the song changes constantly.
Even so, each and every members’ individuality and colors are always present. The group aims for diversity above unity, and thus each member diversifies the concept as they interpret and present it differently. The most visibly diversified are their vocals, as Soyeon has mentioned in a previous interview that she even took the time to find a vocal teacher who would strengthen the members’ assets rather than give dull and uniform vocal lessons. Soyeon and (G)I-DLE’s enthusiasm for originality seems to be what allowed Minnie’s dreamy voice and Yuqi’s low sound to shine through as the group’s unique vocal styles.
The Art World (G)I-DLE and Cube Entertainment Are Moving Towards
Both the idol and the agency prioritizes globalization. (G)I-DLE went a step forward to their global fans with a Japanese album since July of 2019, and an English album from this May. It is presumable that they were able to release the translated versions of “LATATA” and “Oh My God,” because both songs held globally exclusive concepts and music in the first place. In addition, the group’s intensity, power, ferocity, and narrative can be conveyed beyond the language barrier. With their Thai member, Minnie, Yuqi from China, and Shuahua from Taiwan, (G)I-DLE seem to be starting their overseas activities slowly but steadily. Soyeon and Miyeon especially won international acclaim as they participated in League of Legends’ virtual K-Pop group K/DA. Apart from this, as (G)I-DLE’s choreography is both iconic and addictive, easy for foreign fans to dance along to it as they create hype on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram.
Above all, the group values expressing multiple layers of emotions instead of a flat identity. It could be said that the secret behind their solid and impactful fierceness is the deep storyline that flows within their album, even amongst tracks that are not title songs.
Returning to the present, the 53-second long visual film released by (G)I-DLE shows that the focus is on the members’ bewitching eyes. With an atmosphere that cannot be defined by a single word, the tracks used in the video also provide a melody and bassline which is not light. There even seems to be a catchy motif in the song already. As (G)I-DLE’s songs often reflect the seasonality, they may bring a mature and velvet-like album suitable for the cold new year. Thanks to the voice of a member whispering either “Will vanish,” or “We’ll vanish,” the video suggests a dream-like concept as it raises expectations for (G)I-DLE’s new album.