My god, how did it take me this long to listen to LOONA’s new solo? (I know, I’ve been away for a bit—sorry everyone! It’s been hard keeping up with awards season.) Last week, member Yves was revealed in predebut single “new,” and it’s gorgeous. I’ve been in the process of catching up with LOONA’s elaborate predebut projects since hearing the girl group’s recent work with subunit Odd Eye Circle, but Yves’s solo is one of my favorite LOONA tracks yet. That’s saying something—both Odd Eye Circle’s vibrant “Girl Front” and Haseul’s eccentric “Let Me In” are some of the best songs of the year, and the rest of their discography goes deep. Even so, the R&B-dance sound of “new” is powerful, and not one I’ll be forgetting anytime soon.
The impact of “new” is in its straightforwardness. It’s not complicated; it wears its heart on its sleeve. That’s why it hits so strong. “new” is more accessible than much of LOONA’s material so far, with a simple dance beat and a vivid, atmospheric mood, the kind that sticks with you after you stop listening to the song. The composition is unique, not necessarily in regards to the melody (which is surely catchy but otherwise not thrilling) but to the chord progression of the deep synths that form the centerpiece of the instrumental. It’s unpredictable when you first hear it, which reinforces the staying power of the tune after your ear gets used to it. And when I say that the beat is simple, I mean it in comparison to other LOONA songs that toy with rhythm like it’s a rag doll—while the beat of “new” is not experimental or extremely creative, it’s solid and engaging.
There’s one perfect moment in “new,” and it’s something you never hear: Without warning, after a long time spent at the same dynamic level through the second chorus and bridge, the instrumental suddenly drops away and all the listener hears is Yves’s voice. The feel of it is completely different from the occasional a cappella chorus of voices we might get from groups. It has an effect of startling intimacy, like a camera suddenly zooming in close on someone’s face, and contributes enormously to the song’s theme of self-identity and renewal.
The single’s B-side, “D-1,” while quite good, doesn’t quite measure up to “new” or to other slow-jazz songs like “D-1” that LOONA has put out before. On many girl groups’ albums, “D-1” might be the best song, but my standards for LOONA are high at this point. If you still haven’t listened to LOONA’s music, I can’t recommend enough that you do—the intricate concept can be confusing, but the music is worth it. The music videos are stunning and the choreography is no joke either. BlockBerryCreative must be pouring a mountain of money into this group, and it looks like it’s paying off. I cannot wait for the final members of the group to be revealed.
NEW: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? *heart eyes* Bop.
Take a look at Yves’s “new” MV below: