Reviews

ODD EYE CIRCLE “ODD EYE CIRCLE” EP Review

ODD EYE CIRCLE – EP

LOONA / ODD EYE CIRCLE

  • Genre: K-Pop
  • Date: 12 Jul, 2023
  • Content: Not-explicit
  • Track(s): 6
  • ℗ 2023 MODHAUS,under license to Kakao Entertainment

Cover Artwork

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A former LOONA sub-unit, Odd Eye Circle+ is a South Korean girl group known by its stylized name, Odd Eye Circle+. All three members of the Odd Eye Circle—Kim Lip, Jinsoul, and Choerry—and Heejin, another LOONA member, made up the unit. On 8 Sept 2022, they released their single, Sick Love. All participants joined the ARTMS project after signing under the label MODHAUS.

The trio debuted on 21 Sept 2017 with the EP Mix & Match. The group was initially created as the second sub-unit of the girl group Loona through their pre-debut project “Girl of the Month.” It was revealed in January 2023 that the members of Odd Eye Circle had terminated their contracts after winning their legal battles with their former label, Blockberry Creative. Shortly after, it was made public in March that they and former bandmate HeeJin had signed exclusive contracts with Modhaus. With the release of their second EP, Version Up, on 12 Jul 2023, Odd Eye Circle will resume their trio-only endeavours.

After almost six years with a new brand and their former creative director, Odd Eye Circle has just released “Version Up” as their latest work. One of the best K-pop albums, Max and Match, contained classic songs like Girl Front, which is still used on social media today. Now, as heard in songs like Air Force One and My Secret Playlist, they have made a comeback with a more substantial Jersey/Baltimore club influence.

Album Art

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The Album Art features the portrait image of the trio from the group as they pose for the camera in matching black and white outfits. The background is a simple yet elegant white, focusing on the trio’s striking poses and stylish attire. The use of black and white outfits adds a timeless and classic touch to the overall aesthetic of the album art.

Tracks And Features

Most of these songs are growers; they don’t impress on the first listen but require a second to stick in your head. The opening track “?” (translation of the title into English: Did You Wait?) The intro of “Sweet Crazy Love” from 0:03-0:06, part of the chorus of “LOONATIC” from 0:07-0:10, and part of the outro of “Uncover” from 0:12-0:19, and from there onwards, it contains sounds not borrowed from other songs, but it doesn’t do all that much with the remaining 51 seconds of the duration.

The refrain sung by JinSoul, Kim Lip, and Choerry in “Air Force One” has a chorus that sounds quite lazy because it uses the word “Da-ra” too frequently and sounds like a song that a company has sponsored. The short length of these songs—only Lucid surpasses the three-minute mark—does not help. If these songs had been given more time to develop, some would probably have been much better. But they won’t let go once the songs get stuck in your head. Je Ne Sais Quoi is unquestionably the best despite being a brief song.

The French expression “Je Ne Sais Quoi,” which roughly translates to “I don’t know what” in English, explains a problematic quality to name or describe. Similar to the previous track, this one’s lyrics aren’t particularly daring; they have a slightly dreamy vibe, but not as much as “LOONATIC” did.

The use of very predictable rhymes in “Lucid,” such as “through” and “too,” in the post-chorus and the repetition of “thrillin'” gives the impression that the song is just going through the motions. The chorus’s three “dreaming” repetitions don’t feel, particularly imaginative lyrically—very soothing, non-offensive music. The opening of “Love Like Me” has an excellent Nu-disco influence, which is more interesting than the one in “Lucid,” but the lyrics are once again uninteresting, and the song ends with a meaningless line.

With sharp vocals that are more artificial than those in “Lucid” and a chant-like chorus, “My Secret Playlist” returns to the same kind of trite lyrics that you hear in most songs on the project.

The last line of the closing track and outro, ” prism, mind, mind, mind,” roughly translates to “Spread prism, mind that collides inside, mind, mind,” and can be interpreted by fans as someone wanting to express their love, to ensure that the other person feels the same way about them, and to encourage making that interaction with each other.

Tracklist

NO TITLE TIME
1 Did You Wait? 1:10
2 Air Force One 2:43
3 Je Ne Sais Quoi 2:54
4 Lucid 3:33
5 Love Me Like 2:58
6 My Secret Playlist 2:32

Album Summary

Version Up is a fantastic mini-album with outstanding instrumentals, beats, and vocals that have catchy melodies. Although it falls short of Max & Match in quality, it shouldn’t be much of a concern. Version Up is a mini album, whereas Max and Match is a repackaged version of a mini album with the addition of Add (An utterly new intro), Sweet Crazy Love, Uncover, and Odd Front. (A lengthened rendition of Mix and Match’s intro that functions as an outro using a different version of Girl Front’s instrumental for a different vibe.) It strikes a good balance between upholding its distinctive sound while avoiding repetition and innovating in new genres, leaning less toward r&b, incorporating retro elements in many tracks, and comparing Version Up to Max & Match before its repackaging would be unfair.

Stream

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