The unique and driven K-pop group (G)I-DLE is back and starting 2021 off by reminding us about the depth of their talent. The brand new mini-album I Burn follows the highly successful debut album I Trust, with two of the group’s previous singles reaching a combined total of 200 million views on YouTube. (G)I-DLE has committed to more pop-centric sounds like the addictive 2020 summer anthem “DUMDi DUMDi,” but tracks like “Oh My God” showed an edgier side to the K-pop sensations that have helped them genuinely connect with people around the world.
The group’s new mini-album thematically follows their previous work and now explores heavy elements of breakups, pain, and the deception that is tethered to fractured love. With a mini-album (or EP) comes an opportunity to tell a contained story, or a display of different musical avenues, and (G)I-DLE manages to do both in six tracks.
The EP has strong notes of emotional reflection on pain, and it’s expressed through the slow ballad-like tracks, to the heavier dance-pop songs demonstrating lyrics about fear of vulnerability through heartbreak. The EP has true consistency with the ideas behind the raw transparency of the group’s music, and each track consciously breaks down a difficult time in the form of a harsh winter. So now that I Burn has officially dropped, it’s time to break down the group’s admirable comeback.
“HANN (Alone in Winter)”: This song essentially revisits a beautiful concept that bonds “HANN (Alone)” and “HWAA” with an emotionally rooted ballad style track. The song enlists a mesmerizing piano arrangement accompanying beautiful melodies that reveals a gentler side of the group — and it is the first to introduce winter as a symbol of the “cold” loneliness that comes shortly after a breakup. “HANN (Alone in Winter)” is a bittersweet song that misses the highs of love, but very clearly remembers the devastating lows.
“HWAA”: Arranged and composed by Soyeon and Pop Time, “HWAA” is a song that relishes in the pain of a breakup, another emotional winter-themed track that the group has said utilizes eastern instrumental influences as a Moombahton track. In doing so, we get an undoubtedly strong beat, with a build-up into a harmonious chorus that showcases the group’s effortless vocal chemistry. (One of the best songs on the mini-album.)
“MOON”: “Moon” was composed by the group’s own Minnie and has a vibey synthesizer spin that blends with bass and expresses desires to be free of putting on a front to the world. The song is almost a plea to simply live through the pain and emotions without restrictions. It acknowledges the desire to build a facade for others, but the utmost importance of being able to show honest, true grief over love — and a memorable side story to their tale of heartbreak.
“Where Is Love”: A pop/electronic dance track that has a strong bass line, a festival or outdoor arena-worthy sound, and adds a fun atmospheric spin on the idea of positive memories being jaded after the clarity of pain — thus making it easier to move on. A fun standout track that maintains good energy and feels like a different way to follow the story that I Burn introduces and still finds that experimental energy that the group is known to have.
“LOST”: Described as an R&B song with lyrics by YUQI, “LOST” plays with synth loop and guitar laced inclusions that accompany the recurring breakup theme. The track showcases a strong rap addition from the group’s leader that fits with the haunting vocals to a moody mid-tempo song on the album. “LOST” knows moving on is imminent and comes from that feeling of being on the brink of change but needing a slight push.
“DAHLIA”: This song in particular was composed by the group’s own Minnie and BreadBeat with lyrics by Minnie, Soyeon, and BreadBeat. Another Moombahton-inspired song that they describe as expressing an almost observant track about admiration while wanting to keep someone to themselves out of that sense of intrigue. The song ends the album with less focus on what was and seems more drawn to what the future might hold. An interesting transition to end the album, and a great conclusion to an already strong showing from the group.
From this EP, we have really gotten to see (G)I-DLE artistically flourish, and this musical depiction of heartbreak is something that feels very in the moment, and extremely personal.