Gidle have started off 2021 with their longest EP to date and the album can be summed up in 2 words, dark and emotional. The themes of crippling loneliness and heartbreak, and the struggles of overcoming the endless questions of what if? that plague the mind after an abandoned love are woven throughout and delivered through their beautifully self-written lyrics and the mature sounding, heartfelt vocals of the 6 members.
Disclaimer: I am not an expert, just a music lover who wishes to share their opinions so others a more then welcome to disagree with my assessments of the songs.
Album Ranking: 9.5/10
Hann (Alone in Winter, Soyeon Producing and Lyrics): A powerful start to the album, 'Hann' begins with an intense dissonant piano that immediatly pulls you into the bleak landscape Gidle is trapped in as Soyeon begins the song with "There is no end, the cold season is so long". A song to describe the chilling emptiness of a forgotten promise, an abandoned love, conveyed through mournful vocals that ask "is it my greed to wait for your spring?" A question answered only by the uncaring winds of winter that howl throught the instrumental as the song reachs it's end. 10/10
Hwa (Title, Soyeon Producing and Lyrics): A direct continuation from the previous track, Hwa sees the girls still trapped in the frozen wastes of winter's apathy but they are no longer hoping for the spring of another. Instead, they are seeking their own spring as they release the resentment of broken promises and begin to walk along the withered flower path. "I will build a fire, a bigger fire, to bring back the spring that I've lost." The mix of soft and powerful vocals combined with Soyeon's new flow and the rising/falling instrumental makes this song Gidle's most refined title track to date. 10/10
Moon (Minnie Producing and Soyeon Lyrics): My favorite bside from the album, Moon sees the girls begging for it to turn off its light, so that their tears may remain hidden in the night. The soulful crowning of the chorus paired with the delicate plucking of strings helps deliver their plea "So you can hide this star in your dark universe". 10/10
Where is Love (Soyeon Producing and Lyrics): The only edm track that brings some nice diversity to the soundscape of the album while maintaining the heavy themes. WIL describes their journey of self-rediscovery "I let go of you and find myself....I forget you and find myself". But recovering from heartbreak takes time and often leads to regret and wondering "if it was going to disappear, why did it burn so hot?". And so the girls mournfully ask Where is Love? But they once again find no answer. 8.25/10
Lost (Yuqi Producing and Lyrics): Picking up right where WIL ended Gidle is still "Lost" in their loneliness, struggling to leave behind the memories of a loving relationship filled with warmth now that they are all alone. "I don't wanna think about you, without you" These memories bring nothing but pain and are better off forgotten and they are trying to erase them but "If i cover the sunlight with my hand, will it get dark? Our memories in it, will they resurface again?" How much time is needed for the pain of heartbreak to be Lost? 9/10
Dahlia (Minnie Producing and Lyrics): Dahlia is unlike any of the other I Burn tracks in that it is about a current love, an intoxicating love, a dangerous love they are afraid while consume them and they worry that it hides dark secrets behind a mask. "Your true self hidden behind it, will it be as pretty as it looks?" The flower the song derives its name from has many positive meanings such as inner strength and commitment, but it also has negative associations with betrayal and dishonesty. Both sides are reflected in the songs lyrics "Hope this flower stays beautiful forever... Don't believe it Dahlia, it's dangerous Darling", they are afraid of potential heartbreak yet they cannot hold themselves back from falling deeper and deeper in love. Will the person who holds their heart misplace it or will it bloom eternal? Regardless of the possibilities of the future Gidle promises to "choose to love you anyway". 9.5/10
Overall Review: I Burn is Gidle's best album yet, the themes and storytelling are consistent throughout without feeling redundant and they really got to showcase their unique vocals. I am beyond impressed by their ability to write emotional and poetic lyrics, and its nice to see Minnie and Yuqi taking larger roles in Korean releases. I know they have done previous work but it feels like we can start expecting them to be regular producers for Gidle's albums after their work for I Burn, and Soyeon once again proved she is an ace producer and lyricist.