It seems as though a HYBE girl group has been on the horizon for years now. A concept shrouded in uncertainty and one tainted by past failures. But with after the mixture with Source Music, it allowed the company to expand their horizons in exciting new ways. LE SSERAFIM come as a response to years of controversy and speculation, fitted with a star studded roster and an incredible amount of pre debut hype. And with a debut titled Fearless, expectations were raised for a potentially boundary pushing debut that would shake up the industry in unexpected ways. However, for better or worse, Fearless is a completely different beast.
Produced by one of 2021’s most consistent producers, SCORE and Megatone, Fearless harnesses an incredibly sleek and instantly effective atmosphere that manages to expertly convey the chic image the group had been peddling with their debut teasers. I adore the opening and oft repeated ‘bum ba ba bum bum’ hook. It works in perfect symbiosis with the slinky bass-line, echoing the percussive arrangement with a suitably catchy vocal hook that’s bound to get stuck in your head off the first repetition. It’s not the most original of calling cards but it’s one that works very well here. The rest of the verses are similarly very strong, tightly constructed and pulsing with bucketloads of charisma. The girls perform the hell out of this track, furthering the notion that there isn’t a single weak link present within the groups incredibly tight set of performers. Chaewon and Sakura are great as expected and Eunchae, Garam and Kazuha are equally as magnetic. But for me, it was Yunjin who stole the show. She was a real presence within both the mv and the recording, imbuing each and every moment with an incredible amount of charisma and showmanship.
However, Fearless falls short during its anti drop chorus, which opts for a much more trendy approach than I would have liked. It’s a hard left from the dramatic pre-chorus, which brings in some dynamic guitar and sky high vocals to craft an excellent sense of build. An approach which should readily set up for a dynamic, melodic chorus. Instead, Fearless‘ centrepiece feels disjointed, coming across as a collection of disparate catchphrases rather than a strong, cohesive melody. It’s not bad and does actually work the first time but it’s repetition and unimaginative lyrics do border on grating. On first listen I was hoping that this would then blossom into something bigger and more meaty down the line but it just kind of stayed the same. As such, there’s quite little for me to actually grab onto. It also kind of ends abrubtly which can work given the right arrangement but it just feels a little odd here. Which is a shame since I really enjoy almost everything else in this song quite a bit.
But when the vibes are this strong, I’m willing to give a song like Fearless the benefit of the doubt. This is a solid debut and one that signals a bright future for the girls. (Just please give me a killer chorus next time)
Final Rating: 8.5 / 10