Reviewing all of Loona (이달의 소녀), Part 3 – from [+ +] to #

This is part 3 of my excessive reviewing exercise of all musical output from Loona. The last part has finally concluded all the solo and sub unit activities before the full group debut and we will now start looking at the albums with the whole group combined. To see the other parts, please refer to this list:

Part 1 – Loona 1/3
Part 2 – Loona Odd Eye Circle and yyxy
Part 4 – 12:00 and & (Finale)

Please take a look into part 1 for an explanation of the grading and more general information. Let us now start with Loona’s first mini album with all members present:

Loona – [+ +], Mini Album

(I am aware that “favOuriTe” was seperately released as a single before [+ +], but in these cases I will just glance over that. I am, however, looking at all albums seperately from their repackaged version as I have done before since the normal, original version is a different experience than the repackaged one. It can be a better or worse experience depending on the add-ons. Just for clarification.)

1. + +

This sounds quite peaceful and does get me in the mood for the whole thing. I am fairly certain that the “보고 싶어” in the second half is just copied from the intro of Loona 1/3’s “Love&Live”. There’s really not thay much to say about it. It’s a tranquil, nice little instrumental piece, but not really anything more than that. 6/10

2. Hi High

This song is energetic and upbeat from beginning to end. Before the track even begins, it builds up anticipation and goes straight in with a good pace and a nice first verse. The chorus is absolutely lovely and stuck around in my head for a long time. The short rap break is not shit, good even, and luckily instantly goes back to giving us the pace it shortly interrupted. After the slow anticipation building bridge after the second chorus we are hit with Chuu’s lively high notes and a perfect finale. Sadly, the perfect finale is not actually the end, because they scream their lungs out one last time continuously shouting “High, high, high,…” and so on. This is a bit too much energy. I never quite liked the ending, because, for me at least, the song already ended perfectly with the third refrain where it already started to slow down. I think they very well could’ve stopped there, but decided to go on. I couldn’t say that it “drags on” since it’s bursting with energy, but it’s still somewhat of a shortcoming. I very much like the song outside of that. The video looks nice as well, matches the pace and energetic feeling the song gives off. However, it is full of pervy butt scenes and you even get a look under Heejin’s skirt. Was that necessary? Absolutely not. No amount of lore and metaphors can excuse that. I won’t pretend for a second that I don’t like butts, but if your lore is built on showing butts in various positions, maybe your writing is just not that good. Anyway, the song is great. 9/10

3. favOriTe

“favOriTe” reminds me a lot of EXO’s “Growl”, which was mediocre at best. This does a lot right, has a good “groove” if you will, a stylish video (without creepshots this time, they even cut to a wider angle when some of the girls spread their legs in the choreography), builds up a lot of expectation in the first verse for a great chorus…that sadly never comes. This is its big shortcoming: The chorus is incredibly weak, and I struggle to get “caught” by it like I was with “Hi High”. The second verse is nice again, and breaks down into a slower part, slowly building up pace for the chorus – that feels even more underwhelming this time. The bridge is a bit boring and the final chorus is just more of the same. I really like parts of it, but just can’t really get excited by it with a chorus this weak. “favOriTe” is the most forgettable Loona single for me, even though I wouldn’t call it the worst (we will see more on that in the future). I never really think “I’m in the mood for some favOriTe right now”. It’s still not bad at all, but sadly just a 6/10.

4. 열기

This is the only track in Loona’s discography that does not have at least an English translation to it. The names are usually in English, sometimes English or Korean with an equivalent translation provided. “열기” is the sole exception. It means “heat”, just so you know. I do not like the instrumental at all, especially the weird vuvuzela-esque tooting in the chorus. I guess that this is basically tropical house in its genre? In any way: It’s not very good. As I listen to it again right now, I am contemplating whether or not I can call it “passable” still, like as in “I wouldn’t mind it in a random playlist”, but then the tooting comes back, and…no, just no. It’s not insultingly terrible, but I just don’t want to hear it again. 2/10

5. Perfect Love

This is a boringly uninspiring B-side if I ever saw one. 4/10.

6. Stylish

This has some interesting ideas to it, but fails to really produce anything really catching. I really cannot say much about it, just like with the last one. There just is not that much to talk about. 4/10

[+ +] suffers from the exact same problem all previous Loona releases have suffered from: There is an amazing single, another passable to good song, and the rest is either terribly uninspiring and forgettable or just kind of bad. It is so sad to see this because Loona’s later albums, as we will soon see, have some amazing B-sides, and writing about one specific B-side was my inspiration for writing about all of their musical output in the first place. “Hi High” is a good song, but the rest sadly doesn’t deliver on that level, not even close.

Loona – Orbit 1.0

Loona gave an exclusive release to the people that purchased their first “Orbit Kit”. This means there is no official upload I can link, but rest assured: that is not necessary.

1. Loona 1/3 & Choerry – 지금 더 좋아해 (I Like You More Now)

This is just 지금, 좋아해 (Love&Live) from Loona 1/3, but with Choerry instead of Hyunjin and with a few different lyrics. It sounds the exact same, and there is nothing noteworthy about it. There is a special choreography video for it in which … well Choerry dances Hyunjin’s part. Riveting.

2. Olivia Hye – Egoist (feat. Jinsoul) (English Rap Version)

It is the exact same song, but Jinsoul raps in English. The rap part has been bad in the original, but this is even worse, just because the writing is terrible. Here are the lyrics:

Hey, nothing ever matters, you know?
I don’t understand what you’re doing, oh.
Think of all the things, little things you did.
I heard you’re coming back, now baby turn around.
On and on, we on this cycle on and off.
I never fall for you again, that’s it, ima lose my mind.
I don’t know, don’t matter, what we had, it’s over now.
Reminiscent of the past, that’s it, we’re over now.

This is garbage. They couldn’t even be bothered to really rhyme anything. I know it’s fanservice and all, but, my God, put some fucking effort into it, please.

3. Loona – Hi High (Remix)

As the name implies, it’s just a remix, but it is sadly not a good one. The fast paced energetic beat from the original got swaped to some half-assed copy that doesn’t even properly start until half of the first verse is already over, and is then just the tiniest bit too loud on top of that. The song did not need to be fucked with like that.

Loona – [X X], (“[+ +]” Repackaged Mini Album)

1. X X

It has the DJ Mustard “Hey!”s in it, which immediately drowngrades it to “I never want to listen to it ever again.” Sad thing, considering the instrumental up until these things came along wasn’t all too bad. 1/10

2. Butterfly

The cinematography of the video is really fucking good. Everyone knows that the foreigners are just in there to pander to their foreign audiences, but if the result still looks this fucking good, I really do not care. I also want to mention how incredible everything looks when they start cutting in scenes of them dancing with the red rays of the sunset falling in from the side. This is fucking gorgeous. The song itself is okay. I never really cared for it much, although it does have its moments. It (I guess it’s “EDM”?) is just generally not my type of music, and the signature “Fly like a butterfly” in the chorus is just a bit too high for me to really enjoy. And, you know, we got Gowon rapping, but I just can’t really make her voice out in this at all. Generally, everyone in there sounds so similar. Genuinely, when I first heard this song (it was soon after I initially got into Loona), I was completely unable to differentiate any of the members. I knew how they looked and all, that wasn’t the problem – the problem was that at least half of them sound like Chuu in this, just so high-pitched. It’s really a pity how little I like the actual song with the video being this pretty. They’re choreography is kino, the outfits are mesmerising, and the cinematography I already said is insanely good. The song, though, is just not my thing. If I keep the video in mind I would probably would give it a 7, but the song itself is just a 6/10.

3. 위성 (Satelite)

Jinsoul’s rap part doesn’t suck ass and is rather short. That’s good. The verses are generally rather forgettable, but the chorus is actually quite nice. I am saddened that Gowon’s main part in this is just saying “Satellite” a bunch of times in the bridge, though. I don’t know, it’s a standard, not exceedingly interesting B-side, I guess. 5/10

4. Curiousity

This sounds like “Butterfly” in busy. 5/10

5. 색깔 (Colors)

I really don’t know what to say about it. The refrain is kind of catchy and the break is cool, but it’s still not very memorable or interesting. 5/10

6. Where You At

I forgot it existed before making this, and will have forgotten it when I conclude this review. These songs sound so much alike that they even reuse the drums I talked about in “Colors” in this one. You can hear them in the pre-chorus. That’s the most interesting thing about it. 5/10

Everything the repackaged version added sounds more or less the same, really. Not even the big single is really that interesting to me, it’s just saved by the amazing video. Nothing here makes me wince or anything, it’s just that nothing is really that good. It does make [+ +] better overall, just because all B-sides of [+ +] were subpar or bad, but that cannot be the goal, can it? What I can say is that [X X] feels much more like a coherent album than its predecessors. Many of the songs follow a similar style, or are much more alike each other than it has been the case in earlier releases. Still, not very good as a whole package.

Loona – #, Mini Album

1. #

Messy, tries be a grandiose, “intimidating” sort of hard hitting thing, I guess. Doesn’t really do that, but has some flow to it. 5/10

2. So What

I hate it, I very much hate it. It is by far the worst Loona single there is. I am so repulsed by this 2NE1 or Blackpink-esque “I’m such a bad girl”-bullshit. Ever since this single, Heejin is always the one that has to lower her voice and try to sound cool. It makes me fucking wince every.single.time. These goddamn cringy “””fierce””” or whatever looks into the camera they do are so fucking dumb. I get agitated by shit like this. These girls aren’t “bad”, they sung about how much they want to be by your side LITERALLY IN THE ALBUM BEFORE THAT. Heejin smiled into the camera for a jolly merry happy Christmas song, how the fuck am I supposed to take this seriously? Now, the good I do see in it is that the production, especially in the refrain, is very good, and the bridge is nice. Also, the rap part –Jinsouls lines included – sound good? Why didn’t they do that before? Still – the video and lyrics make me angry. The K-pop scene is full of shit like this, and people (mostly teenage girls) love it for some reason. The only “bad” thing here is the song, sadly. 1/10

3. Number 1

Loona continues to have uninteresting B-sides I see. Besides that: WHAT DO YOU MEAN “MY NUMBER 1”? In the last track you were bad girls that didn’t care about anything, how come you go back to innocent love songs again? Fucking hell. 5/10

4. Oh (Yes I Am)

Nice and up-beat. It has a nice pace in the refrain, and the rap part is actually quite good, especially Olivia Hye’s faster paced lines. It’s nothing I would go back for specifically or would seek out to listen to, but it is, especially in the context of the album, suprisingly enjoyable. 6/10

5. 땡땡땡 (Ding Ding Dong)

I literally just listened to it, and I fail to remember anything about it besides: Gowon got lines, and I like them. Sadly, this alone doesn’t make a good song. Gowon got lines/10

6. 365

This, like “favOriTe”, was seperatly released as a single before the album. It is a slow ballad, piano, violin and all. Towards the middle of the track, some slow drums set in, but they don’t really do anything. I don’t know what to say, it’s a terribly boring love ballad and sounds like every other ballad in existence. I don’t know why these bad girls are singing about stuff like “You are my only one, yeah”, trying to sound all soulful and shit when they wanted to hammer the fact into your brain that they are very bad girls just some tracks before. At least it doesn’t make me angry. 2/10

“#” is bad. The best song on it is a decent B-side, the rest is either utterly forgettable or utter garbage. I am so, so glad they don’t go down this “I’m so bad” route this much anymore, but sadly the success of it did influence later releases to an extent. These later releases, luckily, have been much, much better than this shit, though. What makes me sad is that this is what brought a bigger audience to Loona, when there have been so, so many good songs before that. The solos are full of high quality tracks and the sub units all have good songs with a unique style to offer that it just pains me that this is what Loona got known for. Why did this get them their first win, when literally the second single they released was a orchestra-style masterpiece with a cinematic gem of a music video (Let Me In)? For the life of me, I cannot understand this.

Anyway, this was the third part of the series. The next part will be released in due time, and contain much better songs, this much I can already say. Thank you for reading.

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