Release Date: March 28, 2023
- enchanted night ~white night
- lionheart (the real me)
- various and precious (moment of inertia)
Billlie is a seven-member group under the MYSTIC Story label. They debuted with six members in November 2021 with their first mini-album, the Billage of Perception: chapter one and its title track RING X RING.
One month later, former Girls Planet 999 contestant Kim Suyeon was added to the group and the digital single The Collective Soul and Unconcious: Snowy Night was released.
Since then, Billlie has released two more mini-albums, two OST albums and a re-make of Yoon Jong Shin’s Patbingsu.
Fast forward to 2023, and Billlie has returned with their fourth mini-album, the Billage of Perception: chapter three and their Japanese debut GingMingaYo (the strange world) – Japanese ver.- The former is what I will be looking at in this review.
Billlie is a group that I have mixed feelings for. Their a-sides generally tend to do nothing for me. Yet their b-sides grab my attention.
On their debut EP, I was not fond of RING X RING, but everything else was solid, so I didn’t entirely write them off immediately. But I wasn’t exactly looking forward to their future releases either.
By the time their second EP came out, they had gone a bit weird with GingaMingaYo (the strange world). The song grew on me eventually, but I wouldn’t say I liked it at first. But, again, the b-sides were more fitting to my tastes.
Wash, rinse and repeat with their third EP. Although I can say that this album had the first a-side I liked from the start. So yay, RING ma Bell (what a wonderful world).
You can probably sense a pattern by now, right? So the question going into their fourth EP is, would it be more of the same? Or would this bring something unexpected?
The album’s title track EUNOIA was a surprise. This funky R&B/Synth Pop throwback is something that I would expect to be used as a b-side, as this type of music has popped up on their previous albums for supplementary tracks.
To hear this kind of music on the lead song from the album? Well, that was incredibly pleasing to my ears. Fans of this style of R&B will undoubtedly be singing the praises of EUNOIA to the heavens. However, those who like the more unique aspects of Billie’s previous a-sides may be a little less enthused.
I expected the style of EUNOIA to be a bit of a one-off, and the rest of the album would continue to blend some radio-friendly pop and experimental tracks similar to their previous albums. But I was wrong. The entirety of the Billage of perception: chapter three has an R&B/Pop base.
This shift in sound has Billlie crossing into some of the same musical territories as newer groups like FIFTY FIFTY, tripleS and, to a lesser extent, NewJeans. In these songs, you can also hear much of the “Velvet” side of Red Velvet and some of the more chill parts of LOONA.
So if any of that fits within the lanes you occupy, then the rest of the Billage of perception: chapter three will be an enjoyable journey.
Usually, a group doing a 180 like this will not be a perfect transition. However, I feel that this album is an exception since each song fits the overall structure set by the title track in one way or another.
The b-sides that stood out to me are the final two tracks on the album, extra-ordinary and nevertheless. For some reason, I kept returning to those two when running the album on repeat. I guess this is because they had that much impact after the songs were over.
As I mentioned earlier, Billlie’s change in sound will not please everyone. But I believe the album is strong enough to at least sway detractors into giving it at least one listen to see if anything else changes their minds.
And if you still don’t like this album, at least acknowledge that Billlie is keeping things fresh by changing their game plan with every release. Sometimes being unpredictable is a good thing.