I have conflicting opinions about APRIL’s discography. While I’ve been following them since their debut and have loved a majority of their title tracks, there’s something about their concepts that still doesn’t convince me to become a loyal fan. I’ve enjoyed several of their releases this year, especially “April Story” and “Sting,” but I have to admit that I get slightly disappointed when they go back to doing too much pop, like they did with “MAYDAY.” Through this, I’ve realized that I prefer the group’s more elegant side to their playful side, which doesn’t surprise me as I’m a fan of more mature concepts.
Why It’s Their Best Yet
Now coming back with their third single of the year, APRIL has grown both visually and musically, and truth be told, they are back better than ever, as “Hold My Hand” might be their best effort to date. The execution of this comeback is very smart, as the group maximized the elements they excel in.
They brought back the sound that worked wonders for them in “April Story,” combining it with a concept that’s simple, but fresh and appropriate for the fall.
The best part about this comeback, however, is that they are showing signs of maturing and growing up, which is always a great thing, artistry-wise. With the group being two years old now, it is the perfect time to show the market a new side to them, and without disappointment, the girls delivered. They traded their colorful, youthful outfits for preppy college outfits, showing their growth unlike the typical switch to a sexier concept that a lot of girl groups turn to. That being said, I am ecstatic that DSP Media has successfully led the group in the right direction.
Comparing it musically to “April Story,” “Take My Hand” is a lot harder to digest. “April Story” had a more standard build, making it very easy to follow and sing along to. “Take My Hand,” on the other hand, doesn’t make it too predictable and switches to a higher key during the chorus. E.one made it a lot more entertaining; there are opening strings that convince you that the hook may go along the same route, but instead it surprises you with a completely different section of the song. It took me quite a few listens to get used to the key shift during the chorus, but once you start anticipating it as you listen again, you start to appreciate everything else.
The track itself has a lot of highlights, but my favorite part of the track would definitely be the flavorful string section in the arrangement. The composition itself is very striking, and it does wonders when blended in with the dance beat.
I loved the video accompaniment for this track as well. While I still lean towards their Naive-produced music videos, the video for “Hold My Hand” is still aesthetically satisfying. It has a lot of elements representing the fall season, and it goes perfectly with the modern university setting of the video. I personally loved the choreography shots, as the two locations they used were undoubtedly the best ones of the entire four minutes. You gotta love the hint of blue when the sky comes out in one of the scenes.
Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed this comeback. What worries me, however, is that the group might return to a more sugary sound in the future. Sadly, the track isn’t performing well domestically, so the agency might resort to changing some elements for the next comeback. The fact that they’re doing a more mature concept this time, however, convinces me that the agency knows it’s prime time for the group to grow, and if the management can stick to that objective, then I won’t have to worry.
“Hold My Hand” Title Score – 9.75/10
Music Video Score – 9.0/10