GWSN - Puzzle Moon
GWSN is a brand new, seven-member girl group under Kiwi Pop. Prior to this debut, I really hadn't learned too much about them apart from their name, which really is a bit too similar to WJSN (not that I'm saying they can't have this name, just that it's a bit confusing at a glance.) I didn't manage to catch any teasers for this debut, either, so I just went in blind and hoped for something that wasn't nugu levels of typical or awful.
Whatever one might consider "Puzzle Moon" to be, I don't think that awful is going to be a valid descriptor. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not the biggest fan of this song, but it's definitely more than I was expecting out of a smaller label, and it wasn't what I was expecting in the least. That being said, however, this track felt a little lacking in a few areas.
In particular, it felt like this entire track opted to go down the increasingly popular route of not delivering any single part of it with any real punch. Instead, the whole song kind of feels like it hits just a little too softly, and I think had it been balanced out just a little differently this would have been a real 'banger' as the kids say. Instead, however, we're just left with feeling like we needed just that extra bit of oomph for every section of this song with the single exception being the rap portion and the following, final refrain thereafter. If the song had just used more energetic and contrasted bits like that, I think I would have been floored with this as a debut track.
If you think that I don't like this song after reading that gripe, you're wrong. I actually have been clamoring for a girl group to use exactly this type of track as a title song for a while. I've heard several fun, bass-grooving tracks with house influences like this as b-sides on countless albums, and I never understood why a group wouldn't attempt to use it as a title track, so I'm over the moon (no pun intended) with this track being a title. Much less a title track at that. While I do think that the song has its few issues, I think that this is incredibly public-friendly, though it may end up being more popular with a more international audience than a Korean base.
I think I actually take more issue with this video than I do with the song itself. The director seems to have taken several notes from other girl group videos and just tossed so many things into this video that remind me of other videos that I can't find a singular identity. While it does struggle with finding and keeping that from the point of view of direction, the concept itself is actually a lot more coherent, revolving around the moon and lunar cycles. And most of the imagery does seem to reflect that, even down to the simple white dresses the girls wear. In fact, the different lengths and stylings of their outfits has me believing that each girl represents a different phase of the moon, with the eighth being notably absent as it would be a new moon. Perhaps even this debut could be seen as that phase, if you wish to take that idea to that level of extremes.
Quality-wise, this video is actually pretty well done and I love how much each girl got their own moment to shine, though one noticeably never even sang so that was a bit odd. The choreography looked solid with a mix of both softer moves and intricate ones, though I did have a minor gripe with the hands over their heads being used as imagery for the moon. We've seen for Dreamcatcher's "Full Moon" as well as GFRIEND's "Time For The Moon Night" choreography, so I'm just a little tired of it at this moment, especially for this year.
Overall, I think the video does serve the song and group well. I wish that there would have been more of a chance to learn the girls names through the video itself rather than just a simple notation at the end of the video that doesn't even pair the names with their faces, but I guess I'll just have to learn about them on my own time.
"Puzzle Moon" is an odd choice for a debut track, but one that I think is the right kind of odd that will bring positive attention to the group. It's unfortunate that they debuted the same day as Girls' Generation's new subunit, but hopefully that doesn't put them too far into the shadows and we can see a lot more of these girls in the near future.