Reviewing all of Loona (이달의 소녀), Part 1 – Loona 1/3

This post will be a comprehensive review of all musical output Loona has ever published in chronological order. The reason for listing and grading everything is that I often have a very deep urge to organize lists with a lot of “items”, and Loona has a lot of output with varying quality. I will rate every song with a number out of ten. Also, I will give little “reviews” to all of the actual albums as a whole. This assessment is subject to change, of course. I might not have these opinions anymore in a months time. Disclaimer: I am not a musician, nor a music critic or anything else with any sort of qualification. I just listen to music in my free time.

I decided to break this list into several parts because 1) it’s a lot of stuff to organize, and 2) it might be too much for a single browser page. Part 1 will consist of everything that has to do with Loona 1/3, basically. It will end with the “Love & Evil” mini album. The next parts will follow in due time and can be found here should they already be uploaded:

Part 2 – Loona Odd Eye Circle and yyxy
Part 3 – From [+ +] to #
Part 4 – 12:00 and & (Finale)

Everyone thinks differently about what an “8/10” really means: Is it “quite nice” or “pretty damn good”? I want to give you a key to understand what I mean when I assign a certain number to a song. If you look at the following, you can find that I divide the array 1~10 into 5 “tiers” depending on whether or not I actively seek out a song to listen to it:

TIER 1 (0) – I get angry when I hear it.
0 – utter garbage, there are not just no redeeming qualities, it feels actually insulting in how bad it is

TIER 2 (1~3) – I would never think of ever listening to it.
1 – really fucking bad, no redeeming qualities about it, I very much hate it
2 – really bad, almost no redeeming qualities, but there may be some small saving grace; I dislike it a lot
3 – quite bad, nothing good about it, but at least no trainwreck; I dislike it

TIER 3 (4~6) – I don’t mind listening to it, but probably wouldn’t actively seek it out most of the time
4 – not that good, but still listenable and not particularly bad
5 – neither particularly good or bad
6 – not bad at all, but also not particularly good

TIER 4 (7~9) – I like listening to it, and actively seek out the song in question sometimes
7 – quite good, but it’s held back by something, some (big or small) “mistakes”
8 – good, it doesn’t make any big mistakes, there may be some small ones though
9 – very good, doesn’t make any mistakes at all

TIER 5 (10) – I love the song, and I can listen to it whenever
10 – perfect song, probably I have some sort of emotional connection to it

Specifically, this is to show that a, e.g., 7 isn’t a bad grade at all. I actively like a 7. Also, nothing 4 or higher I would call “bad”. I just wanted to mention that because I had this discussion a lot on Kpop General on 4chans /mu board, where most people seem to think a 7 means you hate the song or something. But anyway, let’s start the list:

Loona – Heejin, Single

1. Heejin – ViViD

The first solo, Heejin’s “ViViD”, is okay, but fails to get me really excited about it. The biggest flaw it has is probably the refrain, which sounds off-putting due to the weird intonation of the English sentences. The verses and pre-chorus are good, and Heejin’s voice suits the whole thing very well. The video is full of imagery and stuff that I don’t really care for. The big problem here is that it is just trying too hard to be metaphorical. Why is she in a bathtub full of glitter? No one knows, and the director failed to give people a “key” to properly work it out with. “Pretty girl with plastic spider on her face” is not sophisticated or intellectual, it’s pretentious. In any way: I don’t mind ViViD at all. It doesn’t do anything really wrong and has some really nice moments, but just fails to excite me as much as other tracks. 7/10

2. Heejin – ViViD (Acoustic Mix)

Heejin has a good voice, but it’s not good enough to carry a song on its own. Especially the sudden “pitch spikes” (like in “많은 색갈로” in the chorus) worked well with the instrumental, but sound just plain bad in this one. You can also hear all the doubles, and they don’t sound good like this. The video is a collection of creepshots they disguised as a “behind the scenes” video from her album photoshoot. Sometimes she also just talks over the song, but the song is too loud to really understand that much of what she’s saying. It’s not good. 2/10

Loona – Hyunjin, Single

1. Hyunjin – Around You (다녀가요)

“Around You” is incredibly boring and forgettable. It sounds like every other ballad in existence and there’s nothing memorable about it. It is not insultingly bad, but insultingly bland. The only memorable thing in the music video is that she suddenly has a big cat head and multiplies. There’s probably also some deep meaning behind that, but until we are given anything else besides that it’s just off-putting. Otherwise the video just consists of Hyunjin being there. There is a “Special Version” of the Music Video as well, and in that one, Hyunjin even does things like expressing any sort of emotion by e.g. smiling, which she doesn’t seem to think was necessary here. 3/10

2. Hyunjin & Heejin – I’ll Be There

This song is fine, but I find the instrumental to be full of some too many annoying noises. It’s really not that notable outside of that. 4/10

Loona – Haseul, Single

1. Haseul – Let Me In (소년, 소녀)

This song is great. From the introduction of the instrumental with just violins and piano, to Haseul’s voice and vocal performance, to the beautiful scenic shots in the video. It is a ballad, but doesn’t sound like every other one in existence: Haseul can put serious energy into her singing, and hold notes beautifully. It sounds orchestral at times, making it feel so “grandiose” that I to this day sometimes take time to specifically listen to this song and treat it as a full “experience”. The almost poetical wordplay at the end (“소녀는 소년의 소녀, 소년은 소녀의 소년, 소녀는 소년의 소원”) is lovely and just gets a smile on my face every time I hear it as a perfect ending to this song. I wouldn’t call the whole song perfect, however. It builds up quite slowly, so I just need to be in the mood for the “full thing”, you know. It’s not something I can put on whenever, and I think that robs it of a perfect score. 9/10

2. Heejin, Hyunjin, Haseul – The Carol

It sounds like, it looks like, it just is a completely ordinary Christmas song. The video is full of forced smiles and smirks that always make me feel uncomfortable, but other than that, there is nothing noteworthy about it. 5/10.

Loona – Yeojin, Single

1. Yeojin – Kiss Later (키스는 다음에)

Yeojin’s solo is a cute little song about promoting consent in a relationship. The chorus is catchy, and the rap part is not annoying. This song does a lot right. Do I think that the part where she plays piano with her bare feet is weird? Absolutely, yes. Also, the three guys courting this 14 year old at the beginning and the frog guy all look very adult, which also gives me some weird vibes. The last frame with the candy strip rolling out of her mouth makes me rather uncomfortable as well. Nonetheless, the song itself is nice. It might just be a bit too “bubbly” or “mindlessly up beat” for me. The song is still nice enough for a 7/10

2. Heejin & Hyunjin – My Sunday

Another rather uninspiring song from these two. Whenever I think back to this one, I fail to properly differentiate it from “I’ll be there” in my mind. Even the music video follows the same concept (“two girls at pretty places”), but they didn’t bother to make them learn a choreography this time. 4/10

3. Yeojin & Haseul – My Melody

So, the difference between Heejin and Hyunjin’s “My Sunday” and Yeojin and Haseul’s “My Melody” is that some of the lyrics changed. But of course it still sounds the exact fucking same. I like “My Sunday” more, though, solely because Heejin and Hyunjin are at prettier places in the video. That doesn’t mean they won’t get the same rating though. 4/10

Loona 1/3 – Love & Live, Mini Album

1. Into the New Heart

This is by far the worst of these “introduction” instrumentals Loona albums always have. It’s quite grating to listen to, honestly. Why the fuck is there something always suuuiiishing around like that with the guitar? Usually, little pieces like this can really shine when they introduce the overall feeling of the album well, but they also need to put in some effort to sound good as standalone pieces of music. Many later Loona albums do this well, they give the whole thing a label, a “purpose”, they bind everything together and make you feel like you are in for a great experience when you listen to the whole album back to front. “Into the New Heart” doesn’t do that for me. 3/10

2. 지금, 좋아해 (Love&Live)

It is absolutely unreasonable that the album is called “Love & Live”, but the title track “Love&Live” without the spaces between the words and the “&” sign. This is actually annoying. Besides that, the song is quite nice. It’s a mindless, bubbly, girly pop song and that is really nothing bad in and of itself. Sure, it’s not very sophisticated in what it does, but it does what it does well. There is no part in this song that I find annoying at all. I’m definitely not always in the mood for something mindlessly happy like this, but when I am, “지금, 좋아해” is just what I want to listen to. Also, Haseul has a lot of airtime here, and that is never bad. A critique that I do have is that is might just be “too sterile”, maybe? Not to an extent that it makes the song bad, by any means. It just doesn’t “hook” me that much if I’m not in the mood for it, you know. Besides all of this, there is something I always thought is interesting about this song: As someone who doesn’t speak Korean as a native language but learns it, it always surprised how easy this song is to understand. The grammar, syntax and words used are, for the most part, very simple. I listened to this song a lot simply because I knew what it means. That can be a quality in and of itself. Maybe it sounds kind of “childish” to a native speaker, but it makes me like the song more. 8/10

3. You and Me Together

The song sounds like a blander version of “Love&Live”, so it’s only fitting that the “Special MV” is just a collection of offcuts of the “Love&Live” video. There is nothing really noteworthy about this. It’s not really “bad” though. 4/10

4. Fairy Tale

This is barely even a song. Just some whispering over mindless clinking. I cannot even make out what is supposed to be a verse, what’s a bridge, a chorus, or anything else, really. 1/10

5. 3월을 기다려 (Valentine Girl)

Other than “You and Me Together”, this is clearly made in the style of “Love&Live”, but still noteworthy enough to be a decent song on its own. It’s kind of catchy, has a nice gleeful feeling to it, but it’s just not as good as it could be. I really don’t mind it, especially in the context of the album, but I don’t ever think “ah, yes, let’s listen to some good ol’ “Valentine Girl” again!”. 6/10

Overall, the first of Loonas three sub unit mini albums is not that good as a whole package. I do like the title track, and “Valentine Girl” has something to it, but the rest is either just not very good or even straight up bad. It is certainly the worst of the sub unit albums.

Loona – Vivi, Single

1. Vivi – Everyday I Love You (feat. Haseul)

The first thing I want to mention here is how great the video looks. The retro style is well done, and I do want to have these Loona cassette tapes too. It’s not “scenic crashed airplane shots” great, but still great. It is rather unique (meaning: it is not just “pretty girl being there”), but also not just full or weird imagery like “ViViD”. The song itself is also good, but a bit “weak”, maybe. I really like the chorus, but the verses just repeat their ideas too much. The second verse is completely useless, and that is something I can’t stand. What makes me go back to this song actively though is Haseul’s rap part. It is not often that I like a rap part in general, but this is one is without any doubt the highlight of the track for me. Maybe just because it is Haseul doing it, who knows. After that, we have a nice bridge and go back to the very good chorus. So, even though I can’t really stand the middle of the song, beginning and especially ending are good. 7/10

2. Vivi – Everyday I Need You (feat. Jinsoul)

Almost the exact same song, just a different featured artist. However, “Everyday I Need You” is a step back from “Everyday I Love You” in several ways. First of, the video is sadly just “pretty girl being there” again. Secondly, the instrumental is just weaker overall. It also pains me that the useless second part is now some seconds longer due to the whole thing just being slower in general. The rap part is also worse, and just doesn’t have the character to it that Haseul brought. It also utilises this terrible “faded out voice” thing for half a verse, which always makes me wince. Jinsoul tries too much to sound like she’s rapping, whereas Haseul just raps, which is the main reason for why I usually dislike the rap parts in Kpop songs. 3/10

Loona 1/3 – Love & Evil, Repackaged Mini Album

(With these repackaged albums, I just list the songs that have not been in the original release.)

1. Love & Evil

So much better of an intro than “Into the New Heart”. This sounds like some Final Fantasy or Kingdom Hearts final stage type stuff. It is actually quite sad that this didn’t get to be a full song. I am quite sure that this would be on par with Haseul’s “Let Me In”, if not even better. I absolutely love stuff like this. It’s not even what you are supposed to do with this kind of track, but I actually listen to it outside of the album. However, it’s not a full song. I can’t give it a perfect score as it’s just not a full piece of music in my mind. Still a 9/10.

2. 알 수 없는 비밀 (Sonatine)

So, this is clearly in the same style as the intro, and it is sadly only okay. There are two problems for me: First, it just doesn’t actually take on the full character of the second half of “Love & Evil”, where the drums set in and everything sounds “heavy”, almost “important” in a way. “Sonatine” stays rather bland in comparison. Secondly, and this is the bigger problem, it is not just Haseul. Haseul could carry this song on her own, “Let Me In” style, but the others are just not as “good”. I don’t mean to say that the others are bad at singing or sound bad or anything, but I think it is obvious that Haseul’s performance in “Let Me In” outclasses the others easily. What Haseul could do on this alone given the opportunity to just do her thing leaves so much to be desired looking at what we actually got in the end. Also, the doubles are just too much here. In this sort of song, I want crisp, clear, intense high notes, not a mash of doubles. Is the song bad? Definitely not, the instrumental is nice, the whole mood is as well. It could have been so, so much better, though. 6/10

3. 비의 목소리 51db (Rain 51db)

The video and song are very reminiscent of Vivi’s “Everyday I Love You”, which is not a bad thing at all. The chorus is just not as good and there is no amazing Haseul rap break. Due to this, it drags on a bit too much without changing anything. 5/10

“Love & Evil” as a repackaging of “Love & Live” is definitely an upgrade. The intro is absolutely amazing this time around and the two added songs are alright. There are sadly no add-ons on a level with the title track, so even though the new tracks make it feel more rounded overall, the whole package still leaves much to be desired.

This was the first part of “Reviewing all of Loona”. Thank you for reading.

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