If there is a single, currently active K-pop group that has defined their image the strongest, LE SSERAFIM would be a strong contender. Since their debut ago nearly to the date, the group has established that they are all about serving high fashion model looks, and empowerment. So it’s no surprise that the lead single from their newest album, UNFORGIVEN, would follow down that well-beaten path.
This time around, the girls of LE SSERAFIM take to the wild, wild west with their sound, including a sample of the legendary film composer Ennio Morricone’s theme for the classic spaghetti western film, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. It’s a nice little touch, bringing a fresh element and something different to the group. Morricone wasn’t the only legend the group tapped for this song; Nile Rodgers is technically a feature on this song, but you would be forgiven for not hearing that. There is a Western-influenced riff that reappears throughout the song, and that’s pretty much the extent of Rodgers’ involvement. He’s not even credited as a writer or producer for the track, and honestly, this was such a missed opportunity to make this a true collaboration between a sensation like LE SSERAFIM and a legend in the industry. The track as a whole feels like a group’s debut single “FEARLESS” and their last comeback single “ANTIFRAGILE”, mashed together with touches of the Old West.
Going back to their established image, the lyrics of “UNFORGIVEN” are something we’ve seen plenty of from LE SSERAFIM; Declarations of how strong they are and how nothing will get in their way. They sing of how they’re proudly embracing becoming the villain by not apologizing for who they are, and rejecting what society expects of them. Now, I’m not saying that songs that empower the artist and the listeners are bad at all, it’s just that LE SSERAFIM keep saying it in the same, surface-level way. The repetition and the mantra-like way their lyrics aren’t as memorable and seem to just serve the purpose of being catchy, which is fine if they are going for that, but I don’t think they are. While they sing of breaking molds, they are unfortunately trapping themselves in one of their own creation. The comparisons to their previous singles are valid here too, with the title of the song being repeated so many times, instead of being catchy, it feels redundant.
It is great that LE SSERAFIM has such a strong sense of who they are as a group, as it can take a while for a group to get their footing. In their case however, it feels like they’ve trapped themselves in a cycle of suave and stylish, but same-sounding releases, and with the massive amount of talent each member of this group has, it would be an absolute shame to not showcase that to it’s fullest potential, and also let the group get below the surface and show listeners more of who they truly are.