Oh My Girl Returns to Their Roots with “SSFWL”
Eight months after the release of experimental track “Remember Me,” Oh My Girl has not only returned to the Korean music scene with their first full album THE FIFTH SEASON and title track “SSFWL,” but also to their musical roots.
The Title: “SSFWL”
Musically, “SSFWL” returns back to the sound of “Secret Garden,” with an airy and bright melody that enchants the listener. While the song may seem like a generic, cute girl group song at first listen, there are a lot of different elements to unpack in the melody that make it unique. While the opening sounds like something we’d hear from GFRIEND, the shift from a traditional vocal route to a deeper, mysterious tone in Mimi’s rap—which is cut in between Hyojung and Seunghee’s verses—adds a distinctive style to the track.
Visually, “SSFWL” is absolutely stunning. The girls first appear in dark blue, shining dresses that remind the viewer of the stars, with each member looking breathtaking in her individual shot. The colors are bright to match the style of the song, with most scenes shot in pure white backgrounds or pink and yellow hues. In addition to each season being represented in one of the shots, each member has an ode to a previous comeback, adding a meaningful element to the visual message overall.
Four years after their debut, Oh My Girl has finally released a full album in THE FIFTH SEASON. With 10 tracks in total, the tone of the album is set with the title as the first track, followed by the equally as bright and airy “소나기.” “미제” introduces a new, more jazzy vibe that has a distinct shift in sound, while keeping the bright mood at the forefront. “Tic Toc” follows this pattern as well, with a bouncier feel that maintains the tone of the album overall. “Gravity” marks the halfway point of the album and shifts the tone to a smoother R&B sound that fits very well with Oh My Girl’s vocal line and makes for a nice mixup on the album.
“Crime Scene” is a unique track, to say the least. It’s difficult to peg what genre it exactly fits in other than eccentric EDM, and it’s definitely a surprise on the album that thus far has had a fairly cohesive sound all around. “심해” follows, slowing down the tempo of the album and re-introducing the R&B melody, this time in the form of a softer ballad that really highlights the vocal line. “Vogue” picks the energy back up with its electro-pop beat. That energy remains high and driving for “Checkmate,” another jazzy track that adds a new musical dimension to the album. Closing everything out is the usual instrumental version of the title song, giving listeners a better chance to hear the musical elements that compose the full comeback.
All in all, THE FIFTH SEASON is a very musically diverse album, to the point that it was surprising. I was more or less expecting a musically static album, with all tracks focused on the usual electro-pop sound that we hear from most girl groups these days, so the album’s diversity was pleasantly surprising. This release really shows what Oh My Girl is capable of, and does a great job highlighting both the strong vocals and rap talents in the group. I’m looking forward to seeing what Oh My Girl has in store going forward.