LOONA just came back with a brand new album, which is, from the title alone, quite different from their other releases. Moving on from their strictly symbol-titled albums (+ +, x x, #), this one is called 12:00. Leader Haseul is still sitting out of promotions, needing more time to recover from her anxiety issues. This is disappointing to us Orbits, as when the album name was first revealed, we had hoped that LOONA would make a comeback as a 12 member group again. But that’s okay; as fans, we always want what is best for her.
So without further ado, here is a review of the album from the perspective of two very enthusiastic Orbits. (Orbits = Fandom name of LOONA)
LOONA have the custom of including an intro to every group album, even in subunit albums. Some other groups do this as well, but we both agree that LOONA’s intros are definitely superior. With snippets of news reports and reporters speaking, this intro is a very cinematic one. Unlike other intros, 12:00 has bits of the title track, “Why Not?”, with isolated vocals from the chorus, most likely belonging to Maknae Yeojin. (Note: ‘Maknae’ is a nickname given to the youngest member of the group.)
LOONA has experimented with a lot of different concepts, from a cutesy vibe in ‘Hi High’, an EDM concert with ‘Butterfly’, and their most recent one: a rebellious girl crush concept, with ‘So What’. LOONA brought back that dark side with ‘Why Not?’, a strong, empowering song about doing what they want because, hey, why not? This comeback is a ‘Party’ concept, with the teaser photos showcasing four different scenarios: the first one being a glamourous, fancy party, which features a lot of bejewelled, studded dresses. The second is an outdoorsy, more hands-on party, with more dancing etcetera. The third concept teaser showed them in all-white costumes, which were by far our favourite look. The fourth one is a more traditional look, with interesting patterns, feathers and boots.
Why Not is an era of visuals in my opinion, with all the members looking absolutely stunning. In ‘So What’, the member ViVi barely got 3 seconds of lines in the whole 3-minute song, and so we Orbits were glad to see her shine with over 9 seconds of lines in this comeback. Unfortunately, another member, Gowon, who is one of the lead rappers, barely got any lines in this clearly rap-centred song. My first impressions of the song were slightly underwhelming, especially compared to their previous albums, but it aged extremely well, and I can’t get it out of my head. We hope to see more like this and hopefully a fairer line distribution if the company will do so.
1st listen: “Ah, this is a nice song. Not necessarily catchy though.”
100th listen: “OOH LA LA AH WAE AH WAE AH WAE OOH LA LA AN DWAE AN DWAE AN DWAE x12094714756”
This song has to be one of our favourites in the album with its slightly retro feel and captivating melodies. I have always had an obsession with the word 목소리 (pronounced moksori), and I love the way it sounds. I love how fair this line distribution is as well, and all the members really get their moment to shine. Aside from ‘Why Not?’, LOONA has been promoting this as a sidetrack to their album. The dance is also extremely fun to watch, and you can really see the girls enjoying themselves. We also think that they seem to enjoy performing this song better than the actual title track, so we hope that this album might get a repackage and that this song would be promoted more.
Fall Again (기억해)
This is a sentimental ballad, the lyrics reflect on missing a past lover, thinking you were fine, and that time will fix things, but still getting sentimental at the thought of them. Again, Orbits are quite unsatisfied by the line distribution of this song, as most of the vocal lines are from vocalist Chuu, but we think that vocalist Jinsoul’s tone and range would fit this song best. Still, we’re glad that underrated vocalists Hyunjin, Yeojin and Choerry got to shine in this song.
A calm and soothing song, this song gives off a dreamy vibe, with repeating phrases in the choruses like ‘make it happen to you’ and ‘make it come true’. For us, it is the ‘comfort song’ from the album, as every time we hear it, it gives us solace; Universe has now joined the group of chill songs by LOONA which include Colours (XX), Number 1 (#), and Day & Night (#).
There’s one bad thing about this song though, and that is the faint barking (?) every four bars, starting 30 seconds in. We didn’t notice it at first, but after listening to it attentively, we heard it. Not even at an even beat, it’s at beats 3.75, which is just so frustrating. Just… why?
Hide & Seek (숨바꼭질)
A playful song about teasing someone and playing hide and seek with them, it has a sort of mantra, repeating the phrase ‘I like it like that’ throughout the choruses. It really does remind me of a song that would play at a dance party and is definitely a song that is one to get you up on your feet. This song got stuck in my head quite fast and is definitely one to listen to. Hide and Seek is quite a rap-centred song, with a fiery beat drop, and some powerful vocals in the pre-chorus. However, one of the members (ViVi) got only 1 second throughout the whole song, while another got 15% of the song. BBC entertainment really needs to work on their line distribution, a fact orbits all agree on, but aside from that, this song is a real head-bopper -- a song you can’t help but nod your head along to.
A rap-heavy song, even though the main vocalist Chuu has some lines near the end that showcase her amazing vocal skills, fans were very excited to hear what rapper Gowon had in store. But with a measly 4.1 seconds of lines in the song, suffice to say, we were quite disappointed by the results. Cue angry shouts of BBC WHY??!!? in the background. BBC, BlockBerry Creative, is LOONA’s agency. BBC has been mistreating the same members, not giving them enough lines and not promoting them enough, but that’s another story, maybe for another time. This song has nods to TWICE’s Don’t Call Me Again from their 2020 album More & More, with repetitions of the phrase ‘why you call me again’. It also has some self-love elements, with the girls shouting ‘I love myself’ at the end of every chorus. This is what classifies as ‘noise music’, which I am personally a big fan of and it is a genre that you see in a lot of Stray Kids and ATEEZ’s songs, but this felt a bit hectic and all over the place.
Star (‘Voice’ Eng. Ver)
An English version of Voice released specifically for LOONA’s overseas fans, this song hits differently as we can actually understand it. International K-pop fans have always had the barrier of language, apart from the dedicated fans who learn fluent Korean of course. This song, however, is in full English and has especially meaningful lyrics. I have noticed with other English versions of songs, that they don’t make as much sense, and I tend to prefer the Korean version, even though I do not understand it as much. However, in this case, I have been playing both songs equally as much, because they both are so unique in their own ways.
As this is an English version of a Korean song, we as Orbits would like an actual English song, such as BTS’s Dynamite, Dreamcatcher’s Can’t get you out of my mind and CLC’s I Need U. This would be great as the girls can definitely rock a fully English song as we have seen in Star. I love the way they pronounce all the words, and that really makes it an addicting listen.
And that’s it for this article! Hope you enjoyed our review and do check out LOONA (only if you want to, of course)!
Comeback - where a group or soloist releases a new single or album and promotes it on music platforms for a period of time
BBC - BlockBerry Creative, LOONA’s agency
Orbits - LOONA’s fandom name
Maknae - the youngest in a group