‘I burn‘ is the first K-pop release in 2021 for me, crafted by CUBE Entertainment girl group (G)I-DLE. Continuing on the trend of focusing on ‘I’, (G)I-DLE, pronounced I-DLE, kicks off 2021 with a mini album that could potentially melt the woes and wintry cold of the end of 2020 (and what a year that was). Having come off a summer comeback with ‘DUMDi DUMDi’, can the girls bring back the heat to keep us warm in January? Will this album burn with pleasure or is it too painful to keep moving forward?
I will continue my LOONA project series, but I’ll be reviewing other releases in the meantime! Read on for my review of (G)I-DLE’s ‘I burn‘!
HANN (Alone in winter)
Romanization: Hann (Hán)
‘I burn‘ begins with the heavy hits of a piano off-key, indicating the mood for the mini and for the prelude track “HANN (Alone in winter)“. Sharing the name to their second release as a group, this version of “HANN” is an introductory track that is orchestral and theatrical. It feels raw and full of emotion, with each of the girls portraying an element of pain in their vocals. There’s a cold burn with this track that feels opposite to their first comeback, and you can really feel a sense of what direction the album will take with this. The more I listen to this, the more immersed I’m in. Released at the right time, when the cold of winter burns, I am alone with the beautiful darkness of this song and I can’t wait to move forward. ⬛
Romanization: Hwaa (Huǒhuā)
‘I burn‘ then flips itself from the burns of the ice cold to intense heat with “HWAA“, an initially haunting but overall fiery Arabic-tinged title track. What is very refreshing about this track is its complete disregard of their usual formula, opting for smoother verse-to-chorus transition without any need for a drop. The beats are subtle, the line distributions aren’t wholly terrible, and it feels quintessential (G)I-DLE. Soyeon’s rap continues to bite with every line that flickers like a flame, and with a great overlay of fire crackling in the background, “HWAA” is a contrast to the icy melody of its predecessor track. Let the HWAA burn on. ⬛
‘I burn‘ continues the burning sensations with “MOON“, a track that begs the moon to ‘turn off the moonlight’. This is a fantastic B-side, with its staccato-like nature that is complimented so well by the girls’ vocals, especially Minnie’s. It is a song fitting just for her, considering she was responsible for the track’s composition. Containing a pulsing synth beat to compliment a slick guitar melody, on top of a catchy vocalization, “MOON” may not feel like title-track material, but it is certainly one of replay value. Minnie should make more songs for (G)I-DLE, as her songs feel fresh in their catalog. If I have to turn off the moonlight, I will for “MOON”. ⬛
‘I burn‘ asks a new burning question in the form of “Where is love“, which takes every song you heard and tosses it out the window for a funky dance track. This feels more like some of the typical K-pop songs you would hear on a general basis, with a funky guitar, some snaps, and EDM elements in the background merging together to lead up to the chorus. However, the chorus feels more subdued in comparison, and it doesn’t quite have any oomph to really make this an enjoyable dance track. The vocals in the chorus are also grating, giving the girls more of a ‘yell’ rather than a ‘high note’. The song is not terrible, but I think I’m still on the lookout for love for this song… ⬛
‘I burn‘ continues to display more hidden talent from the girls, as this track was composed by member Yuqi. “LOST” is lower in tempo than the rest of the upbeat tracks on the mini album, going for a slight ballad effort all while merging a darkly guitar and bass beat. It has a similar tone to CLC’s ‘Distance’, but here, things feel slightly lighter. Its beat follows a slow metronome-like sound with pop elements and rap to give it a bit of edge. There’s also a strange nostalgic feel I get from the track, almost like it gives off T-ARA vibes. I enjoy it; though, I find there may be no replay value to the track. Regardless, I don’t think I’m lost on this song, and props to Yuqi for a great effort! ⬛
‘I burn’ ends with a fantastic bang in the Minnie-produced “DAHLIA“. It is my favorite track on the album, with the girls tackling a euphoric deep house sound meshed with trap elements. The song’s melody just feels really serene, and there’s so much room for the girls to display their vocals here. I’m not really sure what more I have to say about the track other than it is a suitable end to the burning of this mini. “DAHLIA”, being a flower, displays growth from the ashes. Perhaps I’m looking in too deep (and when I’m I never, lol), but my love for (G)I-DLE is definitely in “DAHLIA”. ⬛
‘I burn‘ is a fantastic mini from (G)I-DLE, and it is another testament to the girls’ constant growing popularity and talents. They really do deserve all the recognition they get from each comeback. Here, more of the girls are making efforts to create material, and it no longer feels like the Soyeon Show. ‘I burn’ feels diverse, and there’s a little bit of something here for everyone, even if only some of the tracks were to my liking. The title track alone is a great addition to their growing inventory of popular title tracks, and I have no doubt that they’ll be releasing more fiery material for 2021. I recommend ‘I burn’, but instead of burning this to a blank CD, go and purchase the mini!
MUST-LISTEN: DAHLIA, 화(火花), MOON
For more (G)I-DLE reviews, visit the archive!