EVERGLOW is a group that I’ve definitely had my eye on for the past couple of years. Their music and aesthetic are both totally my style, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that I live for their comebacks. They reeled me in from the beginning with “Bon Bon Chocolat,” and I’ve been here ever since. While girl crush is trendy in K-pop, there are few groups who are really willing to go all-in on that concept and deliver truly fierce and powerful music. Not only does EVERGLOW eagerly take on that challenge, but they’ve been building their whole discography off of it. Since this is something I very much vibe with, I was definitely intrigued to see what their latest comeback would bring.
EVERGLOW has already given us some hard-hitting songs like “Adios” and “Dun Dun,” but they’re certainly kicking things up a notch for “First.” I didn’t think their music could get much more intense, but I have since discovered I was emphatically wrong. “First” leans heavily into a trap beat and attention-grabbing percussion, and many powerful moments like the rap verses and the dance break at the end make a strong and lasting impact. But what’s nice about it is that it doesn’t go hard all the time and it has some good variety. The hook is kind of down to earth and almost gritty, but other parts have swelling instrumentals and soaring vocals that give the whole song an epic and dramatic quality. It’s an interesting arrangement that definitely keeps the listener on their toes.
As much as I enjoy “First,” I’m not quite as obsessed with it as I have been with EVERGLOW’s four previous singles. I personally feel like there’s something missing, and I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s because EVERGLOW’s songs usually have an addictive hook or chorus that really stands out and gets stuck in my head for days, and I feel like the one in “First” isn’t quite as catchy. It’s certainly not anything major or even a criticism, because it’s still a good song for sure. It’s just that in this case, it seems to make a difference between “like” and “love” for me. But maybe that will change once I spend more time listening to it.
Even though I’m not overly enamored with “First” as a song, there’s still a ton about this comeback that I’m totally here for. As always, my favorite part is the choreography. I love all of EVERGLOW’s dances, but I’m particularly impressed by this one because I can tell they’re really pushing themselves (in a good way). It’s almost nonstop energy from beginning to end, and they’re pouring in so much power I can practically feel the floor vibrate with every stomp. I get exhausted just watching it, so I really respect how they give everything 100% and don’t even look tired. Plus the technique and synchronization are truly excellent. EVERGLOW’s dancing was always good to begin with, but this performance seriously brings them to a whole other level.
Another high point is the stunning music video, which features EVERGLOW as strong and fierce warriors with intriguing elemental powers. They always have excellent production design in their videos, and the sets are particularly eye-catching and interesting. I also enjoy how the costumes emphasize each member’s own unique style and persona, but still make them all look super badass as a team. I’m actually quite taken by how they basically put Yiren in pigtails and a babydoll dress, and she still comes across as a fierce warrior princess. The CGI and effects are another highlight – the quality is seriously amazing, and I feel like I’m watching some kind of sci-fi or fantasy movie. I do think the camerawork is a little too shaky for my tastes, but thankfully it doesn’t really take away from the overall picture.
MY OVERALL INTEREST LEVEL
(NOTE: My options for each category are “Love,” “Like,” “Neutral,” “Not My Style,” or “Dislike.” But I rarely dislike anything, so I’ll mostly be using the other four.)
I know that three “likes” is a good score coming from me, but I still can’t help feeling bad about it. It’s because I fell in love with all of EVERGLOW’s other songs so quickly, and this is the first one that I haven’t immediately clicked with. That being said, I have a feeling “First” will grow on me… so hopefully I’ll have a different opinion later on. In any case, I’m proud of EVERGLOW for delivering another quality comeback that fully showcases their talent and potential. They actually got their first music show win for “First” today, so I hope this will be an era that brings them many great things!
(“Knee Jerk Reaction” is a column I created to talk about comebacks or debuts when I don’t have a lot of time to write in-depth reviews. A knee jerk reaction is like an automatic response, so it’s a post about my initial thoughts on the song, the music video, and the performance if it’s available. Compared to my reviews, everything is more stream of consciousness and less analytical. And everything is 100% my own opinion!)
SOURCES: Music video and featured image belong to Yuehua Entertainment. The music video is distributed by Stone Music Entertainment.