There is so much going on in this comeback, I barely know where to begin. Popular girl group GFRIEND’s sixth album, “Time for the Moon Night,” is perhaps their most eccentric venture to date. It’s not that the album makes any unconventional stylistic moves—the group has stuck to their signature sweet-but-rockish pop sound—but that the composition is all over the place. Like, in a great way. There’s some wild melodic material here, and while GFRIEND has boasted imaginative composition here and there in the past, I can say without hesitation that “Time for the Moon Night” is their most interesting album yet. As is the case with most K-pop albums, though, it’s not as simple as “good” or “bad.” All this compositional…experimentation, for lack of a better word, is sublime at some points and flat in others. Where it works: “Flower Garden” (wow!), “Tik Tik” (SO awesome), “Bye” (gorgeous), and “You Are My Star” (not as striking as the others, but still lovely). Where it goes a little haywire: “Love Bug” (that modulation in the middle of the chorus? Why??), and—yeah—the title track. “Time for the Moon Night,” which shares its title with the album itself, has a few wonderful moments that actually make it my personal favorite GFRIEND title track ever. Outside of those moments, however, “Time for the Moon Night” drifts too haphazardly to be called one of the album’s better tracks.
The issue with much of “Time for the Moon Night” is that the melody takes so many surprising turns that it ends up directionless. The beat changing in fits and starts doesn’t help much. It reminds me of WJSN’s February track “Dreams Come True,” where the wandering melody didn’t really find a purpose until the second half of the chorus. The same thing happens in “Time for the Moon Night,” where the melody feels flighty and aimless until the “bam, bam bam bam” part of the hook kicks in. The difference is that “Time for the Moon Night” is doubly creative, rendering the erratic parts more intriguing, and also giving the catchy part—the latter hook beginning with “bam, bam bam bam”—so much weight that everything else is worth it. Whatever the song had been lacking in melodic character before that section suddenly all comes together, as if this were what the song had been waiting to become all along. Once you’re hooked on that part, it’s easier to get used to the rest, though it doesn’t exactly stick like past GFRIEND hooks have.
If the title track didn’t convince you to listen to the album, though, I hope I can. As someone who lives to be surprised by music, I can enthusiastically confirm that “Time for the Moon Night” delivers melodic wonders at every turn. The punchy “Flower Garden” with its spinning strings and guitar solo could have blown all past GFRIEND title tracks out of the water. Even “Love Bug,” whose momentum falls apart a bit when its melody jumps all over, has its cool moments. GFRIEND has a reputation for having more robust vocals than many of today’s girl groups, and it’s easy to see why on this album. I hope this comeback is as commercially successful as it deserves to be, because GFRIEND just had one of the best albums of the month.
TIME FOR THE MOON NIGHT: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? It’s a little on the fence, but I’m gonna say “bop.”
Take a look at GFRIEND’s “Time for the Moon Night” MV below: