Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

LOONA/yyxy ft. Grimes – Love4eva

The Singles Jukebox is proud to announce that we will no longer be posting reviews on this site but instead delivering them via an underground hyperspeed transportation system…


[Video][Website]
[6.50]

Katherine St Asaph: Breathless, concentrated joy; I take back a good two-thirds of my Elon Musk and Grimes jokes.
[8]

Joshua Minsoo Kim: Blockberry Creative realizing that a ton of LOONA fans love Grimes after Odd Eye Circle’s “Loonatic” has resulted in a collaboration that is little more than a shameless attempt at generating buzz in the international sphere. That aside, “Love4eva” is a paltry “Very Very Very” imitation whose driving beat does little to inject the song with the energy it sorely needs. The titular fairy tale hook is the beginning and end of the song’s attempts at doe-eyed infatuation, and it’s a shame considering E-Tribe have been able to sell this bubblegum premise so successfully on songs like “Gee” and “Bling Bling.” Like the post-“Very Very Very” track “Likey,” “Love4eva” aims for a multi-pronged kitchen sink approach to songwriting, but the pre-chorus and wonky breakdown here reveal that there’s little consideration for how these individual parts are meant to cohere, musically and otherwise. If “Girl Front” was a beautiful assemblage of the Odd Eye Circle girls’ tracks and sensibilities, “Love4eva” is the opposite: a flattening of the personalities that were able to shine on tracks like “Heart Attack” and “Egoist.”
[4]

Iain Mew: It doesn’t have quite the same wow factor as “Gee” — the second, third, fourth love story doesn’t have the same giddy thrill as the first, whoever is doing that introduction. Doesn’t mean it can’t still be sweet as anything, though.
[8]

Alfred Soto: Pure sucrose in the veins, and so well syncopated that it makes the competition look emptily garish.
[7]

Jessica Doyle: Anyone else creeped out by this video? It’s not just the early-20th-century lesbian tropes — though I do wonder what came first, the video concept or the choice of “Olivia” as a stage name — but the combination of schoolgirl outfits and knee socks with waist-high shots, petal-biting slo-mo, and very red lipstick. (For the curious: Yves is 21, Chuu 18, Go Won 17, and Olivia Hye 16.) Which gets to the disconnect I feel between what I see in LOONA and what LOONA’s fiercest advocates see in the group. A lot of us, when we latch onto groups, want to say that the system is awful but this group is different: so BTS isn’t K-pop, and Twice is actually engaging in subtle critique, and yours truly spent years hoping that Infinite was going to be able to inject something more personal and meaningful into their songs. Which they actually did, with “Begin Again,” but there I go, none of y’all want or need to hear that argument. And on to LOONA: I get that the girls are sweethearts, and that Blockberry Creative has been able to take the money laundered lavished upon the project and emerge with interesting and skilled and compelling songs, and that “Love4eva” takes the “Gee” formula and complicates it just enough with chirps and statics and slight tempo changes to make for a fun listen. But I don’t get magical. I don’t get different.
[5]

Juan F. Carruyo: The “forbidden affairs of the heart” literary genre is classic song fodder and if the closed captions generated by YouTube are even remotely close to the real thing; then the lyrics are pretty good, containing this awesome line: “Even my kidney is pounding.” A fast, cheap beat carries the tune, but the youthful exuberance exhibited by LOONA/yyxy is the clincher.
[7]

Reader average: [8.63] (11 votes)

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23 Responses to “LOONA/yyxy ft. Grimes – Love4eva”

  1. incidentally this is the jukebox’s first mention of grimes’ boyfriend

  2. Personally defer a lot closer to the Joshua & Jessica reviews (even though I’d hesitate to say there was any personality to “Egoist” but hey)

  3. As one of TSJ’s resident LOONA stans, I give this track a late [6]. I’m pretty much with Joshua in that it’s the opposite of “Girl Front.”

  4. …though I guess that thought doesn’t hold up a lot coming from me because I also gave “Girl Front” a [6] and a blurb saying it was equally underwhelming compared to the singles by the individuals.

  5. I’m with Jessica in that I really want LOONA to give me different – like, 2NE1 or f(x) different – but haven’t gotten that yet. They have the resources though (and seemingly better management, and the thawing of the Korea-China THAAD beef) so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the full group debut.

  6. I like this the best of what I’ve heard from Loona, which makes sense because this is basically their Orange Caramel. I am still waiting for something even half as focused as “Likey”, let alone something as mind-blowing as “I am the best”. I’m still struggling to explain the point of Loona to anyone at this point.

  7. Legitimate, sincere question: have any K-pop groups in 2018 done anything ‘different’?

  8. Different from what? Other k-pop groups? Western pop? LOONA’s whole lore-based multi-faceted marketing concept, spending years placing different pieces of the puzzle in front of fans who don’t really know what the end product will be, that’s a pretty different PR strategy for k-pop, regardless of what you think of the songs.

  9. for me the appeal of LOONA is the generally high quality & interesting singles released very rapidly – a constant stream of good music. they had a LOT of standout singles last year – Girl Front, new, Everyday I Love You, Sonatine and Love Cherry Motion are all 8’s to 10’s and with great videos too.

    this year’s been a bit weaker though, Egoist was great but One&Only and love4eva aren’t too exciting and it was a bit disappointing that the Grimes feature turned out to be just a cameo recreating the Gee intro

  10. Yeah personally “regardless what you think of the songs” is the point where it falls apart of me. I appreciate the concept but there hasn’t been anything musically in it for me, but I can accept that maybe they are just not for me (I didn’t like Girl Front either though). In my mind, K-Pop bands could either go in on expressing their personality like in “Likey” which, while musically not overly interesting, at least seems like Twice’s essence distilled, or, alternatively, actually create something that doesn’t sound like anything else (which 2NE1 managed on occasion). So far I have neither a good grip on Loona’s personality/personalities (and based on the musical material, I’m not inclined to deep dive here) nor have they produced anything I haven’t heard before.

  11. Yeah I can’t say I’m ready to get excited over a PR strategy when then music (to me) has been so lackluster. I’m happy people got so invested over the marketing, but I either need to get a better handle on who they are personality-wise (like Twice did for me in “Likey” which led to me enjoying a lot of their later, even some earlier material) or they need to really come up with an interesting sound. I mean we haven’t even heard the actual debut yet?

  12. Jessica I’m really interested in the fact that you called out the video for love4eva and then…. proceeded to link Heart Attack, whose video is a lot more insidious in my opinion.

    That said it’s interesting to me that this song scored a lot lower than a lot of LOONA singles that IMO were … not as good, but there you go.

  13. I don’t think people get invested over the marketing, it’s just part of the package, their singles have been very well liked.

  14. their songs are good though

  15. @JMK: musically I haven’t heard anything new — weirdly, the first potential counterexample that comes to mind is the Moonbyul/Seulgi duet “Selfish,” though that may be that I’ve been following K-pop for so long that a low-key duet about non-romantic Feelings comes across as “different.”

    @Anna: fair. The video for “Heart Attack” deserves a separate conversation about K-pop videos about girl-attracted-to-girl themes, where there sprang up this whole series of fan conversations reading the video in a positive, queer-friendly light. (Example. No idea how widespread this was; I can only speak to what crossed my radar.) Something similar happened with the video for “What Is Love?”, although there the Twice-gives-the-gays-what-they-want memes were more obviously memes.

  16. Weirded out by this assumption the gold standard is 2NE1 who spent most of their career making forgettable singles besides a distorted BEP-rehash.

    Also personally for me I feel like Go Won’s single (and B-Side) have been the only really enjoyable LOONA released efforts this year compared to Olivia & the yyxy releases. In any case however I think the more interesting aspect is that as a group they are not a real group as of yet? You can argue that this is “marketing” but considering most groups are built around the immediate debut and the fracturing to capitalize on favoritism of individuals, the fact that this group is built on solo releases to present them as characters (who will potentially either fit into a grand narrative or just be weird little exposures until they become a conventional group) is certainly unconventional albeit not wholly radical as fans might say.

    It’s weird as well that TWICE come up because whereas I obviously read to a hideously intense degree on singles, I just think they’re a traditional group and while their singles are great pop I recognize they’re not like REDEFINING POP. This demand for freshness all over in the tunes escapes me as it comes from… what? Even some of the records I love in K-Pop don’t strike me as imperative game changers but interesting sort of occurrences that usually reflect greater trends and come up with a deviating path that may or may not be followed up on (Hyuna’s “Roll Deep” taking DJ Mustard into electro boogie or Big Bang’s “Bae Bae” making a Young Thug influenced pop ballad long before “Pick Up The Phone” occurred.) With this in mind, IDK why LOONA are burdened with the expectation to live up to this aspect just because they might be doing it in other directions.

  17. @Joshua. Not different but the melodic approach of iKon’s Love Scenario and Pentagon’s Shine seems to be the new trend. Which I personally love. By the way you guys should blurb Shine. A fantastic song!

  18. “A lot of us, when we latch onto groups, want to say that the system is awful but this group is different”

    This seems like an oddly rockist stance to default to? Like, a Kpop group can have brilliant music and still be under horrible slave contracts and have gone through hellish training. So a group being musically different has nothing to do with the awfulness of the system, unless the scenario is a genius producer/songwriter being forced to hand their works over to prettier faces and getting cut out of the royalties (because they attribute the creative contributions to a designate Arteest member to get those sweet sweet Arteest Authenticity points), which, then the groups that are musically different should be side-eyed even more?
    So, then, the most obvious interpretation of the statement is that “Kpop” cannot be authentic enough to be Real Music, aka the rockist position.

    Even an interpretation that the “awful system” is about how it promotes warped sexualized aesthetics (via creepy MVs) makes the assumption that somehow more creative music would be divorced from such visuals, or that a forcefully sincere yet non-critical articulation of the theme can still never be valid?

    What drives the impulse to rationalize that a preferred group is different?

  19. I should’ve been clearer in my language: by “different” I didn’t mean solely, or even primarily, musically, and by “the system” I meant more the horrible slave contracts / hellish training bit. I may be projecting some but I think it’s harder to get interested in, let alone devoted to, a group if you can’t shake the fear that what they’re presenting to you, up to and including their expressions of gratitude for the fans’ support, is the thin, desperate cover for financial and/or physical and/or sexual exploitation.

  20. Is the connection here the belief that a group desperately trying to cover for exploitation will not be able to give an artistically moving performance? Because I don’t see how if Loona was indeed magical or different, how that would signal whether or not Blockberry Creative was exploiting them.
    But I’m thinking that I have the cause-effect here in the reverse order: the implication of your blurb is that you’re having issues appreciating Loona’s music, because their iffy aesthetics signal to you that the group isn’t genuine in their presentation?

    As for how much that is a priority for most fans, considering the popularity of pop music with iffy content and aesthetics, as well as fanbases for artists who are themselves the perpetrators of exploitation, it doesn’t seem to be a thing for the mainstream. And given the support for Kpop artists that sue to leave their agencies, to reveal that a group is being exploited seems to increase fan sympathies.

  21. This song is soooooo deeply boring, I’m honestly shocked it scored higher than “Love Scenario.” Y’all are nuts tbh.

  22. Rmxbb’s comment made me remember that iKon had a song called Bling Bling too. If it wasn’t clear, the Bling Bling I mentioned in my blurb was the one by Dal Shabet.

    And yes, Love Scenario is wonderful.

  23. I mean only two of the people who blurbed on this blurbed on the iKon song, and Korean singles don’t seem to get as high of a writer turnout as some things on the site, so…

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