Kicking off the week is LE SSERAFIM, who returns to the stage with their shared titled latest single and 1st studio album – UNFORGIVEN. It is the group’s comeback since the release of ANTIFRAGILE (also a shared title between their single and mini-album release) in October of last year. This release also marks the return of LE SSERAFIM in the very intense competition of female groups from last year, joining the likes of NewJeans and IVE who have already made successful comebacks this year.
UNFORGIVEN felt very LE SSERAFIM to me, but there was a major sequence in the song that I am not exactly keen on. I will explore this a bit more later on. But let’s focus on the strongest and most characteristic aspects of UNFORGIVEN. The first has to be the instrumentation, which samples the theme of The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. While I don’t think this is the first time we heard this particular piece of iconic music in KPOP, I did like how it aids in making UNFORGIVEN appealing and fun. The iconic western cowboy whistle also features in the song, adding to the western theme of the song. There are also additional guitar work and a few extra twangs added into the instrumental, which I take is Nile Rodgers’ contribution to UNFORGIVEN. These felt cool, and builds on the concept the producers of UNFORGIVEN have forged. The second characteristic element of UNFORGIVEN is its repetitive hook. I liked the simple yet subtly expressive delivery of the song’s main hook, and how addictive it has become in the subsequent listens I have given UNFORGIVEN. Now, while it is all very solid, the part that I am most unsure about in UNFORGIVEN is the chorus itself. While I do like the melodic touches to the song and the ring it gives UNFORGIVEN, I did think that the main chorus felt a bit juvenile and felt a bit cutesy. The sing-song delivery doesn’t go well with the rest of the UNFORGIVEN, which felt sassy and attitude-heavy. I think there was a miss opportunity to do something more fitting. But at the same time, I guess the producers didn’t want a continuous churn of the same style for the 3 and a half minute length of the song. But apart from that, UNFORGIVEN is another strong and empowering song from the group, who is unafraid of showing a more confident side of themselves.
The song was all about being themselves whilst also breaking away from social norms. And the video shows this quite well. For me, the most impactful scene was the angel Kahuza, who probably represents the innocent and pure social norm, ripping off her other damaged wing and throwing it aside. Similarly, Yunjin’s scene with her pink dress tearing in the elevator was probably the second most impactful and memorable scene. There are a few other references such as dancing on tables and bright coloured wigs. In addition to all of that, LE SSERAFIM’s visual game is very strong in this comeback, showing off a very confident side to themselves. I also liked how the western theme of the song is also carried through into the music video. It makes the most sense after all.
This entire routine was super cool, and I really enjoyed it all. I liked how there was still an element of fun and a nice bounce to the choreography. The “horns” (I am assuming that is the concept behind the choreography’s main dance move) was an interesting yet easy to follow point of the choreography, while a nice mature side to the choreography works hand-in-hand with the confident vibes that the members put out.
Song – 8/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 9/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10