Since their unexpected smash debut at the top of 2015, GFriend has solidified themselves as one of the top K-pop girl groups to watch with their latest release marking the nostalgic act’s best chart showing to-date.
The sextet’s new EP The Awakening debuts at No. 5 on Billboard‘s World Albums chart, which is the group’s best-ever showing and scores GFriend the biggest K-pop album in America this week.
The girls have been slowly making their way up the chart, first bowing with 2016’s Snowflake EP, which peaked at No. 10, and followed by their full-length album LOL that topped out at No. 7 that summer. The Awakening is also the highest debut on World Albums this week.
The Awakening is led by the single “Fingertip,” which starts at No. 13 on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart. That’s just below GFriend’s best showing on the tally when 2016’s “Navillera” peaked at No. 12.
While GFriend has primarily been focused on a bubblegum sound that recalls the ’90s and ’00s era of K-pop, The Awakening elevates these elements for the group’s most powerful sonic statement yet. Lead single “Fingertip” sees longtime producers Iggy and Seo Yongbae blending the ladies’ emotional vocal delivery with powerful guitar chords, blasts of funk horns, and synthpop beats that sound snatched from another era. Albums cuts like “Hear the Wind Sing,” “Rain in the Spring Time” and “Contrail” also make the beats and production more prominent with “Hear the Wind Sing” even seeing the girls dip into a bit of an part-house-part-disco sound to brilliant results. While it’s not a full sonic departure for the act, overall the EP indicates exciting new places where GFriend could venture.
So far, the group has released four EPs and one full LP. With their first U.S. performance this past August at KCON Los Angeles, the charts indicate that a supportive fanbase could be naturally growing stateside and their next release could see them hitting even higher chart heights.