Following their latest viral release, “I Feel,” K-Pop group (G)I-DLE, is back with their first all English EP, “HEAT.” As the group’s first collaboration with 88rising, this EP strays away from their typical concept and appeals to a more American audience.
The album rollout began with the release of “I DO,” a classic pop song about being in love with someone but jealous they aren’t yours. With lyrics like “Don’t you go falling in love / Trust me she’s not the one” making up the chorus, it accurately reflects the feelings of having someone out of reach and not being able to do anything about it. The single was coupled with a long music video portraying an alien girl who falls in love with a human boy. By the end of the music video, the couple finds they cannot be together due to the government actively going after the alien girl. Although it is a bit of a silly concept, this music video draws an effective metaphor for the longing of wanting to be with someone you cannot have. 88rising also released two music videos of love stories following this song alongside the official video. Overall, this single proved to be a great teaser to the album and a powerful American debut for (G)I-DLE.
One unique aspect of (G)I-DLE’s music is that a large majority of it is produced by leader and rapper Jeon So-yeon, with lyrics often being a collaboration between her and the other members. However, this is the first time in the group’s discography since their 2018 debut where they were not involved in the writing or producing of the album. This, of course, has caused the album to sound a bit different than their usual distinct style with interesting names making up the album’s credits. For example, the album’s title track “I Want That” features lyrics written by Ryan Tedder, the frontman of OneRepublic and a well-known writer and producer in the industry. Similarly, the track “Eyes Roll” features lyrics by Meghan and Ryan Trainor, while the closing track, “Tall Trees,” features writing and production by Jon Bellion, an American singer, songwriter and producer who has written and produced songs for big names such as the Jonas Brothers and Maroon 5.
The second track, “I Want That,” has a much more dance and electronic feel to it, something that the group has not explored much with their music. While the song comes in with heavy and explosive beats and a catchy chorus, fans were quite polarized over the song due to how different it is in comparison to the rest of their discography. While some have called it dull, others have praised its lyrics and danceable sound. The single was accompanied with a music video in which the members portray toxic relationships. The music video ends with the murders of the of the men from each relationship. The music video does not seem to have much to do with the song, which is mostly about a desire to have everything they’ve ever wanted. Despite this, the music video and song were both incredibly well done and entertaining to watch.
“I DO” and “I Want That” also follow the group’s pattern of always having a song or album starting with “I,” such as previous albums “I love” or “I NEVER DIE.” In this way, they were able to bring an iconic piece of themselves to an album that does not otherwise have much of their usual involvement.
The rest of the EP follows a similar formula to “I Want That,” with both “Eyes Roll” and “Flip It” having distinct and danceable beats and relatively repetitive lyrics. “Eyes Roll” has a more seductive feel to it, with lyrics like “Keep your eyes on me / Push the start now, go full speed / Lock it, lock it down, baby / You about to fall to your knees” making up the first verse. The chorus repeats “She gon’ make your eyes roll back.” While the group is used to releasing songs that may be controversial for the Kpop genre, this is the furthest they have pushed against the norm. However, it’s been well received by U.S. fans. “Flip It” follows in the confident footsteps of “Eyes Roll” with lyrics like “Designers on my body know / They watchin’ what I wear,” allowing the girls a moment to celebrate their success as a girl group. Although these songs may somewhat stray from the group’s expected sound, they do fit in with previous rap/hip hop heavy songs and they make for quite an iconic American debut.
The final song, “Tall Trees,” is closer in sound to some of (G)I-DLE’s typical ballads and generally has a softer feel to it. The song is about being in love with someone and hoping that they don’t break your heart, using the image of trees being cut down as a metaphor for heartbreak. The softer instrumentals and vocals in this song create a nice closing to the EP and help to complete the spread of genres in the EP.
Overall, (G)I-DLE’s American debut EP, “HEAT” may be a bit unconventional when compared to the group’s usual music, however, it offers a variety of genres and topics so that all listeners can find at least one song that can suit their tastes. This EP provided for a strong and memorable collaboration with 88rising, however, the members’ recognizable style and typical work on the music is missed.