Release Date: June 5, 2023
- In The Mirror
- Don’t Care
- Prom Night
- Bring It On
- What I Want
- My Night Routine
- Eye Contact
fromis_9 have finally released their first full-length studio album called Unlock My World five years into their time as a group. They hit this milestone minus one member as Jang Gyuri left to pursue an acting career at the end of 2022.
Unlock My World‘s title track #menow gives a few hints at what to expect from fromis_9 with its matured sound compared to their typical a-side. It’s not a complete 180 turn like other songs on this album. Many of the charms of past fromis songs are retained so as to not scare away too many flovers right away.
It isn’t until you dig into the album cuts that you start to notice this isn’t the same fromis_9.
The b-side that pops out immediately is a duet between Jiwon and Chaeyoung called Wishlist. It has a nice, chilled groove, and its lyrics (penned by Jiwon) about showing yourself without conforming to others’ expectations fit the mood the music creates perfectly.
My Night Routine, again has fromis_9 performing over an R&B-influenced track. This mid-tempo song reminds me much of what one would hear from slower Clazziquai songs. So for those of you who are familiar with them, this song might interest you.
Other standout tracks include:
- Don’t Care – funky, rhythmic dance-pop.
- Prom Night – fromis_9 gets taken into the world of UK Garage with great success.
- Bring It On – another R&B song, this time upbeat and groovy.
After giving the album a few spins, I can say that most of Unlock My World detours from what fans are accustomed to with fromis_9. The only exception might be the album closer Eye Contact, which is more like the fromis_9 style of yore.
As with all things in life, change comes. And with this album, the group departs from their bubbly brand of pop and dives into a more refined combination of dance and urban pop. The idea of fromis_9 following the path of TWICE, going from girly pop songs to a more sophisticated sound, might be bothersome to some listeners.
However, it’s only on this album that they have strongly deviated from their formula. Those who are worried they are abandoning the style of music they have been known for can probably relax.
Overall, Unlock My World is an intriguing listening experience that shows what future musical directions fromis_9 could follow. As I said, this album might not be a complete crowd-pleaser. Those more open to hearing fromis_9 try a few new things will probably get more mileage out of it.