As SM entertainments newest girl group, Aespa have a monolith of expectations to live up to. Their aggressive and instantly memorable debut Black Mamba acted as a strong introduction to the girls and while I personally didn’t think much of it, there’s no denying its success. But as successful as a debut may be, a follow up is equally as important. And in classic SM fashion, new single Forever is a rendition of an older Yoo Young-jin produced classic, refitted for modern musical tastes. However, unlike either Girls Generation or Be Natural, Forever is an absolute bore from start to finish.
I understand the need for groups to showcase their various strengths and ability to adapt to different soundscapes but surely they can be done through more engaging material. SNSD’s Girls Generation was a dynamite dance track and Red Velvet’s Be Natural was a faithful cover that perfectly showcased their velvet side through a sleek, sexy RnB soundscape. But Forever doesn’t do anything to actually further Aespa’s image, harnessing a Christmassy soundscape and visual for an instantly forgettable comeback effort. Forever isn’t a bad song but it lacks any real spark, bouncing along on a delicate yet generic string and percussion based instrumental. It’s more lullaby than song, adequate as a side project or b-side but severely out of its element as a single. Especially as a followup to one of 2020’s most anticipated and popular debuts. And at just under 5 minutes long, Forever is easily a minute too long. It’s fitting to its name, as listening to the track feels as though it just won’t end.
This could have been worth it if the track had a few surprises up its belt or a killer climax but the monotonous central hook and rather unambitious arrangement do little to stir any excitement from the listener. The girls sound fantastic but that’s a given considering the company they hail from. NingNing and Winter continue to showcase their immense talent and both Gisselle and Karina show that they’re no slouches in the vocal department either. It goes to show that the girls are immensely talented in multiple departments and just need the right song to really showcase those talents. But unfortunately, Forever just isn’t that song.
Final Rating: 6.5 / 10