«I Love» (G)I-DLE
(G)I-DLE are epic. MIYEON, MINNIE, SOYEON, YUQI, and SHUHUA: the girl group under Cube Entertainment is approaching its fifth year in the K-pop industry (in May 2023) with three huge milestones. First, they surpassed Brave Girls and are now the girl group with the most perfect all-kill combined in history; second, they completed a successful world tour; and, last but not least, their mini album I Love hit Billboard 200 and became their first work being featured in the chart.
Even their name is epic. (G)I-DLE, in Hangul, translates as (여자)아이들 - yeoja aideul, literally: (girl)idol. The name drew much attention on the six girls since their debut. Yes, you have read it right: despite now being a group of five, (G)I-DLE started walking their path as a group of six before Soojin left in 2021.
And what about their music? Epic as well. (G)I-DLE’s songs were never once sugary or shallow. Since their debut in 2018, they have gifted the audience and their fandom, the Neverland, with a variety of sounds and concepts that never disappoint and compelling lyrics that touch on social issues. Their all-inspiring concepts gain praise from a global audience, breaking stereotypes of how females should be viewed. Their musicality celebrates individuality, as indicated in several of their songs, and they are recognized as self-producing artists. Their powerful performances showcase their versatility, (G)I-DLE stands out as a bold group that dares to explore topics that resonate with today’s audience and are exponentially growing.
I Love is their last work. “Yes I’m nude [...] I was born nude, The pervert is you” is just a hint of their last hit song, Nxde (pronounced Nude), whose music video has surpassed 80 million views. Nxde is an alternative pop song that features the melody of ‘Habanera,’ a popular aria from Georges Bizet’s classic opera, Carmen. Inspired by the iconic Marilyn Monroe and Banksy, the video gained praise for the visuals and concept tied with their theme of baring your true self. The powerful message conveyed in the lyrics and the striking visuals are part of the success of Nxde. In the music video, MIYEON, MINNIE, SOYEON, YUQI, and SHUHUA show a retro Hollywood-ish vibe, with a Marilyn Monroe and pin-up-inspired theme that proclaims that the members are comfortable in their bodies without needing external validation. The lyrics are powerful in telling others that the shame is on them only if they look at them with an objectifying gaze.
Now that the single has been remixed by no other than the 2x GRAMMY-nominated Steve Aoki, Panorama had a brief chat with them.
You completely change the mood once again with this comeback. Can we talk about Nxde? What kind of song is it?
SHUHUA: It is a song about loving me itself. We think the love for the natural self, nudity is real love, so that is the message that the song expresses.
In the MV, there are a lot of reminiscences of old Hollywood divas, from Marilyn to Madonna. Do you have a role model, and if so, who is it?
MIYEON: Personally, my role model has been Beyonce since I was young. It’s different from what I look like now, but she has been my role model and a singer I always like. I think Beyonce’s overflowing energy is charming and amazing.
Which is the message you want to share with your song?
SOYEON: I thought the meaning given to everything seems to come from the perspective. When a person writes a poem, there are various interpretations. However, just as interpretation may not be the correct answer. I didn’t mean to say “pervert is you” in the lyrics but wanted to convey a message to those who say I am a pervert with prejudice from the appearance shown.
In your comeback retro talk show, you told us that the album is all about love and the different kinds of love. Which one is the love you love the most?
MIYEON: All the love is precious and important, but the most precious love right now is the love from the fans. Neverland’s love is something that I’ve never received in my life, this is first time experiencing it since my debut, so it’s always fascinating and am thankful because I feel like it’s a transcendent love.
MINNIE: If you listen to the last track and the title song, there is a story about loving yourself after loving others. After all, loving me, I think that’s the best love. I think in order to love others, loving myself comes first.
YUQI: I think it’s important to love yourself, but I think it’s important to receive love from others. I think I’m the only one from our group who wants to be loved by others. I always say that you should love yourself first, but objectively speaking, sometimes I don’t think I can, so I think I love this album a lot in that way.
You also suggested listening to it starting from the last track, Dark (X-file), to the first one. It’s pretty peculiar. How did you come up with this idea?
SOYEON: Since I tried to explain the process of getting to know real love, I used the reverse order method of the track. I hope that many people can relate to and feel the story of how to end up loving yourself through various love.
Do you have any messages for Neverland?
SHUHUA: Neverland, thank you so much for always supporting us. I can’t say thank you enough, thank you always and we love you.
Who are (G)I-DLE now?
YUQI: Rather than defining (G) I-DLE’s identity in one word, we express the story we want to tell then, then, through our songs. We focus on what we can say during our 20s or what we want to do right now. We focus on these through our songs.