If there’s one act that’s engaged and done justice to the concept of “girl crush” in K-pop, it’s EVERGLOW. From their bombastic debut with “Bon Bon Chocolat”, to the breathtaking femme fatale of “Dun Dun”, to the the city of sin-inspired by “La Di Da” – the latter being one of the best tracks of 2020 – EVERGLOW has taken the often island concept of girls’ crush and infused it with a vigor as addictive as their intoxicating, anthemic numbers.
Still, 2021 seemed like a tough one for the sextet. They kicked off the year as âwarriors of the futureâ with âLast Melody,â a three-track single which, despite its ambitious futuristic concept, felt rushed at best and fractured at worst. Coming on the heels of mini-albums like ‘Reminiscence’ and ‘â77.82X â 78.29’ probably didn’t do him a favor either. 2020 had been a fantastic year for EVERGLOW, calling them great potential in this generation of K-pop, so one couldn’t help but think as if âLast Melodyâ had undermined their success.
Rest assured, ‘Return Of The Girl’ puts the world back on its axis once again and comes like a breath of fresh air. The group come to their senses on this one, delivering a sizzling, alluring confidence enveloped in powerful, heavy rhythms and powerful, explosive horns, as if they are literally heralding their arrival. Well, they sure made us sit down and notice.
The flagship track of the album is, of course, the frenzied track “Pirate”. Moving at a breakneck pace from the get-go, the track overlaps with the aforementioned horns and powerful rhythm drops, creating a tremendous synergy with the idea of ââgirls letting go of their inhibitions and raid our hearts. Like the song’s namesake, ‘Pirate’ is where EVERGLOW rampages and breaks free, dodging the responsibilities of the civilized world, “Rowin ‘for the crown, waving the flag”, and have fun in who they are.
If “Pirate” is the one who shatters the doors of our hearts, “Don’t Speak” is what seals the deal – as soon as the summery, shimmering tunes kick in, you’re screwed. At first glance, it’s hard not to make a comparison between âDon’t Speakâ and âUntouchableâ, an excerpt from â77.82X â 78.29â, since the two tracks sit in similar retro spaces.
Where âUntouchableâ charmed us with the devotion it portrays in the lyrics, âDon’t Speakâ brings exciting play and insight to the dynamics of a relationship. It’s as if, a year later, the band took charge of what they wanted and jumped right into it. Confidence is well suited to EVERGLOW, especially when paired with calculated gentleness.
The playfulness of “Don’t Speak” turns into a thrilling thrill on “Nighty Night”, which seems straight out of a fairy tale, where we try to get out of a maze as EVERGLOW cruelly plays with it. we. The horns and powerful beats are back, coupled with measured applause and a deliciously restrained pre-chorus, making the transition to the chorus even more satisfying.
The final track on the album is the bombastic “Company”, or as we call it, the meanest, yet no less confident sister of “Dun Dun”. Between the great orchestration and the rhythmic beats, it’s hard not to make comparisons between the two. Where ‘Dun Dun’ comes with a moderate streak of malevolence – “Even if you run it’s a desert island, ok it’s over” the band says on the song – ‘Company’ comes with guns and targets locked right off the bat. “I yawned, I’m sorry, your jokes aren’t funny, I hate them” they say in what is possibly one of their wildest takedowns of all time.
For this one, however, it’s best to save the most surprising and vulnerable for the last – the opening track ‘Back Together’. While this isn’t the first time that EVERGLOW has opened an album on a softer note, it certainly feels special, mostly due to its personal character. As if speaking directly to their fans, the group explains that no matter where the compass takes them, the True North is always their fans. Coupled with the song’s rising melodies – reminding us of their satisfying balance between powerful vocals and rap – we can’t help but think if this is a homecoming for them too. They might have gotten a bit lost with their previous version, but they’re on the right track with this one.
- Release date: 1st December
- A record company: Yuehua Entertainment