K-Pop: Everglow ‘Return of the Girl’

Promotional photo of (from left) Heo Yoorim (Aisha), Jo Serim (Onda), Han Eunji (Mia), Wang Yiren (Yiren), Park Jiwon (E:U), and Kim Sihyeon (Sihyeon). Copyright goes to Yuehua Entertainment and Everglow.

Hi! It’s Annie!

Tomorrow is the final day of the BTS concert, and the first one for me! Yep, my sister and I will be there tomorrow! And I have been hyped this entire week, but I also have nothing to talk about regarding BTS since I’ve been trying to keep well away from spoilers. And also, I want to be positive going into it and there are some ARMYs who have been really making me angry. Going after other ARMYs or using the term ‘Baby ARMY’ as a bad thing just because some people don’t know the fan chants or because you can’t hear the fan chants is absolutely atrocious. We’re there to have fun, not put pressure on other people. Especially not after the year we just had. So, in the interest of not absolutely blowing up before the concert, I decided to focus on something positive for my night before concert post. Because yesterday one of my favorite K-Pop groups that deserves more recognition dropped an amazing mini album. Seriously, so many groups have comebacks planned for the next couple months and I am loving it! And while I was more of a fan of their last single, “FIRST”, more than this mini album, I really loved this one too! I feel like there’s so much to talk about here, so I’m going to actually get into it!

Pirate:

The title song of the album. To be completely honest, I was not sold at the teaser for this song that dropped a few days ago. The chorus felt cheesy and overly repetitive to me. I really needed to hear the chorus in the context of the song and I needed to listen to the song a few times before it all settled with me. This wasn’t a song like ATEEZ’s “Deja Vu” where I heard it once and was immediately in love with it. But this song did grow on me after every time I listened to it. Though I still do have some problems with the song. My sister and I listened to the song completely separately and both came back with the exact same initial feedback, which was that the song didn’t feel consistent. There’s the beat drop chorus that features the actual use of the word “pirate”, which feels like a completely different song from the “girls all over the world” portion which has more of the feel of a lighthearted power ballad. As always, I love the messages of their songs. They are one of the major female groups that consistently covers the topic of girl power, and their message that girls can be anything goes right up there with their other inspiration messages towards women in past songs. And while the song does come together more and get more understandable the more you listen to it, there still is that slight tonal discrepancy that doesn’t quite go away. But damn, I have never seen them give Aisha this much to work with. As always Mia and Sihyeon kill all the major vocal parts and Yiren and Onda still don’t seem to be getting too much. But I am surprised how much E:U and Aisha have switched in regards to lines in their singles. E:U really didn’t get much, and Aisha got a massive amount of lines here. I’ve noticed that ever since Sihyeon was made leader, E:U has been getting less focus and I wonder if that’s just coincidence.

Pirate MV:

I always love Everglow’s MVs for subverting the stereotypical girl group concept every single time they come out with an album. Instead of doing a more modern Ariana Grande concept or an overly girly-girl feeling one, they always do something insane. Lately they’ve been going for more sci-fi related concepts and I love them! Instead of doing any of the regular stuff, they spend this video on motorcycles in sci-fi landscapes, doing complicated choreography in all black, and messing around with medieval swords. You know, everything I could possibly want in an MV! Hell yeah, I want to see women with medieval swords in a sci-fi concept! Did they peek at my Christmas list? Anyways, as well as Aisha being given a major chunk of lines for the song, they also had her center for much of the video. I love to see a concept with Aisha center! Of course, Yiren was also centered for much of it and Mia got her own dance moments. We’re still not seeing much dance focus on Onda, which is a shame. But we haven’t seen many of the on-stage performances of this yet and their most prominent one was actually recently pushed back. From what we have seen, it doesn’t look much changed. But they all looked badass in this MV nonetheless. I love Onda’s orange hair in pigtails, Mia’s diamond sci-fi eyepatch was badass and a moment, Aisha on a motorcycle is a power move, Siheyon is always as graceful as her vocals and was giving woman president vibes holding that flag, E:U in that white dress with a bow and arrow is everything I’ve always wanted to be, and Yiren looked elegant in that giant pink dress! The girls were amazing, as usual.

Back Together:

This is the first song on the album, even though this isn’t the promoted single for the album. And there’s a good reason for this. The song is a heartfelt slow ballad about getting back together after everything that’s happened. It’s the welcoming song on the album because it feels like a hug from the girls rejoicing that in some way we can share this space again. This song is beautiful, touching, and hopeful and better than any other way they could have opened their album. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t flaws. Most of the flaws come from line distribution, as usual. Yiren, Onda, and E:U get maybe one line each in this song. This is mostly sung by Sihyeon and Mia with actually quite a lot of lines for Aisha as well. But it feels like this song was only sung by half the group, and that’s because it kind of was. I usually don’t try to point out line distribution as much as I used to, because the freak outs over BTS have gotten way too much and most other groups have actually been getting better at it. But Everglow is not a well established group quite yet and they still struggle from some extremely uneven line distribution. If it wasn’t this extreme, I wouldn’t be mentioning it. Yuehua Entertainment said a while ago that they were going to work more with Yiren and Onda on vocals. But if they have, they aren’t given enough lines in songs to show it. And, as I said before, E:U has been pushed into the background more and more lately. Mia, Sihyeon, and Aisha are amazing all-rounders and complete power houses. They are some of the strongest singers/rappers in the industry in my opinion right now. But it shouldn’t feel like they are the only three people in a six person group.

Don’t Speak:

This song is adorable and possibly my favorite song on the entire album. This is also the other song on this mini album that they’ve started doing actual performances for. And it’s super cute. This is also one of the most surprising on the album in terms of line distribution. Onda actually gets quite a bit in this song and Yiren gets some stuff too! E:U gets the least, but usually she gets more than Yiren and Onda. Still, it isn’t much. But this is one of the songs on the album with the most in the way of even line distribution. When it comes to performance for this song, both Yiren and Sihyeon are focused on most for the dance portion. Mia is also focused on a bit. But you don’t often see Sihyeon get this much when it comes to choreography and she killed it! Can I also say how much Mia’s lower register killed me in this song? The choreography is both adorable and has some hilarious interactions between the girls mixed in. I loved watching their performance and I love the sound of the song. But the message of the song here isn’t my favorite. It’s about falling for a bad boy type and though it’s pretty innocent, sometimes I get a little tired of the romanticizing of “bad boys”. But this song is so cute!!!

Nighty Night:

This is another one that took me a few listens to like, but I do really like it now! The chorus is addicting, as it switched between Mia and Aisha and Aisha’s sweeter vocals really solidify it as an ear worm. This song is one of their ones where most of the lines went to Mia. And I’m already seeing comments complaining about how many lines Mia gets and attacking Mia again. And I’m really annoyed by this now and not here for it. If you actually look at line distribution for literally every other song on the album there’s a pretty even emphasis on Mia, Sihyeon, and Aisha throughout. It is not Mia’s fault that she is getting focused on, nor is it Sihyeon or Aisha’s faults. They don’t decide line distribution anyways. We’re just not getting a lot for Onda, Yiren, and E:U. Onda and Yiren do get a couple lines each in this song, but E:U doesn’t even get a full line. Besides all of that, I do like this song as well. It really has a badass feel to it and it’s already stuck in my head! There’s not really a message to this song, it’s just a fun sci-fi chase song lyrically. Which sounds confusing, but that’s what it is. It’s fun!

Company:

This has another badass theme with a pretty great message. The song addresses everything from how women are trapped in societies meant to hold them back to people only valuing celebrities for their status. This is another one that focuses on Mia, Sihyeon, and Aisha again where the other three don’t get much. Musically this song can get a bit too repetitive to me, but I still like it though it isn’t one of my favorites on the album. I immediately downloaded this entire mini album as soon as I listened to it because there’s not one song on this album that I didn’t think was good. And though I may have more to say about some of the other songs, this one is still a highlight to me!

So, I think I can sum up my general thoughts on this album pretty simply. Every song was a bop. Mia, Sihyeon, and Aisha absolutely killed it. And Yuehua needs to stop treating Yiren, Onda, and E:U like they aren’t part of the group. When people told them to stop giving so many lines to Mia, they didn’t mean that they only had to even up the lines with Sihyeon and Aisha. And I’m still really sick of people singling out Mia with all of this anyways. But right now it feels a bit like E:U, Yiren, and Onda are back-up singers. They seem to be trusting Yiren more with choreography, but not much else is happening. I understand that Onda and Yiren are still working on vocals, but I think they sound great. And E:U is an amazing rapper, so I don’t know why they keep pushing her back. I want this group to feel like it’s a group of six rather than feeling like it’s a group of three. All that aside though, this mini album and comeback are amazing! They all look so happy and there’s not one song on this album that I dislike! They prove to me once again why I love them so much with every comeback! If you haven’t checked this one out, I highly recommend it! Everglow does not disappoint! And now I will go back to hyperventilating over the BTS concert!

See you across the pond!

Sincerely, Annie

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