‘I’m a queen like a lion’: (G)I-DLE’s ‘I Trust’ sits atop K-pop’s Pride Rock

(G)I-DLE's concept is light vs. dark, purity vs. sinfulness, easily shown in the storms we've had the last few days.

Jacqueline Sumida

(G)I-DLE’s concept is light vs. dark, purity vs. sinfulness, easily shown in the storms we’ve had the last few days.

On Apr. 6, 2020, six angels fell from heaven as (G)I-DLE released their new mini-album “I Trust.” As the first 2020 release from the group as well as being the first album completely written by their leader Soyeon, the general public was trusting “I Trust” to be an amazing success.

(G)I-DLE (pronounced as idle) debuted in May 2018 with their smash hit “Latata” and continued to churn out hits including “Hann (Alone),” “Seniorita” and “Uh-Oh.” The six-member group including leader/producer Soyeon, main vocalist Miyeon, main vocalist Minnie, main dancer Soojin, vocalist Yuqi and maknae Shuhua had their popularity soar farther with their appearance on “Queendom,” a competition show pitting five girl groups and one soloist against each other. Although they didn’t win, competitive juices obviously run through their veins.

Leader Soyeon has been around the block from placing 20th on the first season of “Produce 101” and third on the survival rap show “Unpretty Rapstar 3.” All of the group’s title tracks are produced and written by Soyeon who has also written songs for boy group JBJ and a comeback for fellow girl group CLC. However, what came next for the self-sufficient group was unprecedented– an entirely self-produced, self-written release.

As compared to (G)I-DLE’s established discography, full of Latin influence and independent instrumentation, this release keeps those core values in mind while adding more electronic elements to the mix. This addition is obvious in their latest title track, the rightfully named “Oh My God.”

From its ominous bells and Minnie’s distorted vocal opening, this track sets itself up to be disturbing from the start. Its verses are lighter as the pre-chorus is full of rushing guitars building up to a broken down chorus, picking itself up to repeat the process over and over again.

“Oh My God” itself is a war between light and dark as it’s lyrics unfurl a lover addicted to their partner as if they’ve been condemned to the underworld.

“I’ve lost my mind, just confused/ Can’t control myself, it’s like sugarcoated poison/ If I’ve committed a sin, I’ll willingly take the punishment.”

The release itself is centered around dangerous love as it’s other new songs “Luv U” and “Maybe.” Starting with “Luv U,” its key point is it’s pounding bass throughout alongside the distorted electronics in the chorus, making this love seem more toxic than pure. It’s repetitive “I luv u” feels more like a lie as it continues, trying to hypnotize the listener than be meaningful.

“Maybe” is its meaningful counterpart, as its building energy emphasized by hard percussion leads to its supersonic electronic chorus breakdown. Each girl’s voice fits comfortably in this devilish world that it feels like they’re trying to send you to hell themselves.

Wrapping up the album is their “Queendom” finale song “LION,” a track miles away from the dissertation and seduction of “I Trust.” “LION” is fearless as its commanding lyrics are accented by steady drums and literal lion roars. The song shows the powerful (G)I-DLE in all their glory, standing on top, relentless for victory.

“I create a new path no one has attempted before/ All those condescending people will click their tongues/ But the applause I receive after breaking that prejudice is thrilling/ I’ve had a taste, now I can’t deny it/ I’m a queen.”

(G)I-DLE has a sound all their own and after listening to this amazing release, their presence on the global music stage is imminent. The group will embark on their world tour “I-LAND” at an unknown date due to the recent pandemic. However things end up shaking out, “I Trust” these six girls to make my virus playlists a little less “eh” and a little more “Oh My God.”