twinkle twinkle (a dream of ily:1); ily:1

feb 9 2023

ILY:1 recently released their new EP,A Dream of ILY:1, and I really enjoyed it! While I had listened to ILY:1's previous songs, I didn't really connect with either of them. I didn't think they were bad songs, but "Love in Bloom" was just not a genre I love (tropical house made a comeback in summer 2022 and I was just a little over it). While I liked "Que Sera Sera" more, it was a little too saccharine for me and got overshadowed by a host of other excellent summer releases. "Twinkle Twinkle" hits the sweet spot in between sweet and innocent to make it absolutely addictive to me.

There's been a lot of happiness lately at the return of the "Gfriend sound" (sometimes referred to as "Christian horse girl K-pop music"). What I think a lot of people don't realize is that what makes peak Gfriend so great is the mix of innocence and melancholy their songs portray. Some of Gfriend's early music is just sweet, cute pop, and those songs are good, but their best songs have this underlying current of slight sadness. "Time for the Moon Night," "Sunrise," and "Rough" are all pretty sad songs, or at least have this feeling of longing and melancholy associated with them, even when you don't understand the lyrics. I think it helps take the sting out of a cutesy song and keep it from sounding overly sweet.

I also think it's just a most realistic way to portray innocence and youth, which a lot of Kpop groups love to do. Teenagers are acutely aware of the fact that they won't be young forever. Especially for high school girls, which a lot of Kpop is aimed at (and sung by), there is this sense of running out of time. And when you think about how a lot of Kpop companies essentially steal these girls' youth, it just feels appropriate, if a little darkly ironic.

"Twinkle Twinkle" isn't really a sad song, but it takes itself seriously enough to really stand out and have it stick in your mind. However, the bsides are a bit too cutesy and happy for me, although I do like "Secret Recipe." I'm definitely interested in seeing what ILY:1 puts out next, because their releases just keep getting better and better!