pull up (various); viviz

jan 9 2023

Viviz, a three person group composed of former GFriend members, has recently released their third mini album, Various. I've never been the biggest fans of Viviz for one reason; I think they don't have particularly strong or even interesting vocals. It doesn't help that Eunha and SinB have pretty nasally voices, which leads to a lot of their songs just being unpleasant to listen to. Umji actually has a really pretty voice, but she's not a powerhouse and seems to like dancing more than singing.

Their debut, "Bop Bop," wasn't a bad song, but to me it was just boring. Something is just missing. In a surprising turn of events, their best song yet has been their finale song for Queendom 2, the delightful, fun, and catchy "Red Sun" that feels like a song taken directly out of the GFriend vault. Then they followed that up with the decidedly disappointing in comparison "Loveade." It's not bad, but they're way out of their comfort zones vocally, and you can tell. They spent the majority of the song in this very fluttery, whispery head voice. I have a big problem with overly breathy voices... mostly because that's just the way I was taught by my voice teacher (if you were ever in choir growing up, you're probably picking up a pitchfork right now).

"Pull Up," their most recent title track, brings them solidly back down to Earth and their chest voices, which is welcome. If you're hoping the song does more than that, it doesn't. The song mostly doesn't go anywhere and isn't very exciting. The producers do their best to jazz it up (lol) with a strong brass riff in the chorus, but it sounds so similar to Lee Hyori's U-Go-Girl that it just makes you want to listen to that song instead. None of Viviz, except maybe Umji, have the vocal tone, presence, and timbre that they need to pull off a song like this.

However, I really like all the bsides on this mini album! If the title Various is meant to imply that they want to explore a variety of genres and sounds, I think they really nailed it. Some songs are dark and bass heavy ("Blue Clue" and "Love or Die," which is also vaguely Latin-inspired), some are sugary sweet ("Vanilla Sugar Killer"), some are retro inspired ("Overdrive" and "So Special"). I think they pull all of them off surprisingly well, and the various styles help the bsides feel fun and refreshing without all of them being so drastically different that you start to feel confused at what the album is going for.

So, congrats Viviz, I will finally praise your music! "Overdrive" has been on loop for thirty minutes now. Send help.