LOONA is one of the most interesting, exciting, and ambitious groups to hit the K-pop scene in years. Just explaining their concept alone can be a bit confusing, but I'll try.
LOONA (a.k.a. Girl of the Month) has twelve members, with one new member unveiled each month for a year, at which point they will officially debut. Each member’s big monthly reveal comes with a solo single and MV, and there's also a number of collaborations and sub-units between the various members.
With such an enterprising roll out, it's no surprise that LOONA cost a staggering 4 billion won ($4,310,000 AUD) to create. And once you've actually seen the group, that number looks low. Everything about LOONA is big budget, from their polished pop tunes to their Digipedi-directed music videos, which are filmed around the world in exotic locations like Paris, London, and Iceland.
The group’s latest release comes in the form of a four-member sub-unit, LOONA ⅓, marking the arrival of new addition Vivi. The quintet have dropped a full EP featuring production from MonoTree; a team that worked under Sweetune before branching out to craft music for the likes of STELLAR and Ladies’ Code. The Sweetune connection is strong in the title track “Love & Live,” a sugary slice of synthpop that sounds almost identical to early KARA B-sides. Anyone that’s a fan of LOVELYZ or KARA’s music (like me!) is basically guaranteed to love this too.
LOONA keep the 2010 era synthpop going on b-sides “Valentine Girl” and the funky “You and Me Together,” while “Fairy Tale” serves as the album’s obligatory ballad. The latter is beautiful, with strings and harmonies that sound straight out of the seventies.
If there’s anything at all to criticise about LOONA, it’s probably their vocals. Out of the five members so far, I’ve not heard one great singer or a particularly memorable one either. With seven members left until debut, I hope at least a couple are great vocalists.
Other than that, LOONA are already one of my favourite new groups. Most of what they’ve put out so far looks and sounds good enough to compete against both rookies and a few established girl groups, too. With so many members and such a unique marketing approach, there’s a Japanese idol quality to LOONA that makes them instant stan attractors. The concept does run the risk of being too ambitious for its own good, but if they pull it off, then LOONA could be huge by next year.
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