mini-album review: Billlie “the Billage of perception : chapter one”

New girl group alert!

Billlie is one of the new girls groups formed in 2021, formed under entertainment company Mystic Story. I recall that there was some hype with the group, having been previously known as Mystic Rookies, with anticipated members Moon Sua (well known for being part of ‘Future 2NE1’), Takeuchi Miyu (of both AKB48 and Produce 48 fame), and Produce 101/MIXNINE participants Lee Soo Min and Kim Su Hyeon. Finally, in 2021, its members were revealed, minus Miyu and Soo Min.

Billlie, despite its odd spelling, introduces themselves with a very creepy, almost horror-like concept that could very well be treading into Dreamcatcher territory. One has to wonder if they’ve executed it well with their first mini “the Billage of perception : chapter one“. Is this Billage one with great perception, or are we closing the book on this group at their first attempt? Let’s see!


Billlie
the Billage of perception : chapter one
Released: 2021/11/10

RING X RING
flipp!ng a coin
FLOWERLD
the eleventh day
everybody’s got a SECRET
the rumor


Billlie promoting the Billage of perception : chapter one

RING X RING

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

There’s no marks. Is she dead, dead? No one knows. Can we talk, talk? Not anymore.

Perhaps it’s a thing now for K-pop to go nuts and be experimental with their title tracks’ instrumentals. It’s worked for “Zimzalabim”, with a handful of female acts following suit. And that’s really the case for “RING X RING”.

A frantic melody that’s tinted with ominous ambience that feels fresh and unheard of, “RING X RING” takes the title’s track to heart. It has a melody that rings much like the wild noise of an alarm, and this carries throughout its verses, meshing with heavy techno beats to give it that sort of girl-crush edge that’s dominating the scene. The abrupt change to its speedy chorus puts the melody all over the place, but it feels unique.

At the first few listens, you are likely wondering why the song is structured in this weird, jerky sort of way, but by the last few listens, you find yourself more entranced than put off. It’s quite the off-beat track, and the girls deliver it very well, but dang, it sure has its hold on you the more you keep at it. It’s quite the surprising debut, but with its hypnotic melody rings, it’s a debut that’s worth listening to over time.


flipp!ng a coin

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Whatever you choose, could be good or bad… reveal it. There’s no answer.

“flipp!ng a coin” is the first of the five additional tracks on the debut mini-album, so we are definitely getting fed!

This track is a stark contrast to the creepy, dark tones of “RING X RING”. In fact, it’s more along the lines of the girl-crush concept that had its little peeps in the group’s title track. “flipp!ng a coin” might actually be better than the title track, but perhaps by just a slight margin.

Breaking it down, the track is pure electronica, taking on an EDM melody that matches the fire that is the girls’ vocals. It’s a very fierce track, even if the one slight thing is that the track relies on the usage of anti-drops (which are usually hit or miss). I feel the song would benefit if there was a huge drop somewhere.

It’s not as haphazard as its title track, but make no heads or tails of it, “flipp!ing a coin” is still a fabulous, grand time despite its small shortcomings, and it is one I will most certainly listen to on repeat.


FLOWERLD

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Our growing hearts are pouring down like starlight here in our FLOWERLD.

The tone is significantly changed with the introduction of “FLOWERLD”, which takes the momentum of two upbeat tracks and brings it all the way down for a beautiful ballad that might actually match its appeal to that of Red Velvet’s “One of These Nights”. It also happens to be their fan song.

FLOWERLD” is driven by a piano melody that is followed with the girls’ vocals; let’s make it very clear here: these girls can sing! It’s a track that doesn’t require much, as strings join that piano melody to give the ballad more emphasis. The song picks up closer towards the end, with Suhyeon giving it her all at the high note portion (and she did it well).

I’m not particularly fond of the track merging the words of ‘flower’ and ‘world’ together, as it just looks ridiculous (and sounds ridiculous, as well), but the girls do a fantastic job in delivery, and the track’s overall instrumental is pretty. This ‘flowerld’ is worth a run through.


the eleventh day

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The memories I pulled out from the fog point towards the eleventh…

Up next is “the eleventh day”, which picks up the mini-album’s mood and opts to go for a jazzy R&B route.

the eleventh day” has the feel and vibe of many of K-pop’s indie/alternative R&B scene (examples which include Zion.T, Bumkey, just to name a few). It’s a very sensual vibe here, and the song’s clean, smooth, synth-piano melody that’s got bits and pieces of drum beats and trumpets for best measure is a melody that will have you swaying with your eyes closed.

It’s a fantastic track, one that took me off guard as I was thinking this mini-album was going to go for a more girl-crush sound, with additional ballads to make it even; regardless, I was pleasantly surprised. With its title referencing a number important to the Billlie lore, “the eleventh day” may seem like one of those days, but I don’t think it’s a bad day, at all.


everybody’s got a $ECRET

Rating: 4 out of 5.

It’s all worth it when a secret is a secret.

This might be the Christmas part of the mini-album, especially since the mini-album was released closer to the end of the year, as we’re introduced to the song through the familiar melody of The Nutcracker, until…

We’re thrown for a loop into a hip-pop Billlie cover of The Nutcracker in “everybody’s got a $ECRET“, meshing a trap sound overtop the twinkly but almost ominous melody of The Nutcracker. It’s a remarkably catchy tune, and because it is so familiar, it just feels really fun to hear a different take on it. With snaps and booming beats, “everybody’s got a $ECRET” feels very of its era; it is certainly the girl-crush kind of vibe that one was expecting following the first two songs.

Considering its perfect timing for the Christmas season, this is a secret worth checking out… even if that secret has already made itself known 17 days later (haha). Everybody’s got a secret, and it could very well be that the secret is they’re sleeping on this Christmas banger.


the rumor

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you ever heard about Billlie?

There really is something here for everyone!

This final track on the mini-album is perhaps what could or should have been the introductory track BUT the more I think on it, the more I think this is a great place to have it.

“the rumor” is a Western-flavored pop track that displays the girls’ fierce emotions as they talk about the girl of the group’s lore (which, in essence, is the girls talking about themselves).

Fun, flirty, and very much the kind of track you’d hear from a girl-crush group, “the rumor” is also a fun way to end the mini-album, giving you even more of a taste as to what’s to come from the Mystic Story group. Considering how juicy this rumor is, I cannot wait to hear what’s next from Billlie.


OVERVIEW

Ending off this review, I’m giving “the Billage of perception : chapter one” a recommend!

This is a great debut in K-pop, as most groups would normally only deliver one track for a debut single. However, Billlie pulled out all the stops for their debut, ensuring that there was a larger selection of songs for fans to enjoy, as well as a different type of song to suit your musical tastes:

‘RING X RING’ is for fans of off-beat music, ‘flipp!ng a coin’ is for those who enjoy hard bangers, ‘FLOWERLD’ is for the fans and for ballad lovers, ‘the eleventh day’ is for those who like a little jazz to their R&B, ‘everybody’s got a $ECRET’ is for girl-crush lovers, and ‘the rumor’ is for those who like a little dance to their hop.

This is definitely worth the walk through their Billage, and I have the perception that these girls will do really well in the future.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

MUST-LISTEN: flipp!ng a coin, RING X RING

For more Billlie reviews, visit the archive!

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