Almost a year after an audacious runway-esque debut introduced them to the K-pop world, the women of LE SSERAFIM took another big swing with the 2023 release of UNFORGIVEN, which served not just as their first full-length album but as a career retrospective featuring older and re-recorded material from their previous two EPs—a daring choice. But the girl group’s eclectic output has stood out with its sonic risks and consistent narrative, making UNFORGIVEN a perfect endpoint. Following the group through its biggest singles of that past year tells a story of sleek confidence, defiant toughness, and rebellious passion.  That spirit is reflected in the album’s title track, a dizzying country-rock romp with assists from an iconic Ennio Morricone sample and disco legend Nile Rodgers, who adds dark, steely guitar riffs as the grit beneath LE SSERAFIM’s feathery vocals. Though the girls’ earlier singles lack the same guest star power, “FEARLESS (2023 Version)” and “ANTIFRAGILE” equally stand on their own—the suave debut single gets a refresh with the group’s now five-member lineup, while the latter is an exhilarating collaboration with reggaetón music that shows just how much the two global genres can play off each other. Likewise, earlier B-sides “Blue Flame (2023 Version)” and “Impurities” characterize the girls’ more delicate touch—confidence doesn’t need to be braggadocio.  But it’s on UNFORGIVEN’s new tracks that LE SSERAFIM’s future pursuits truly come to light. On “Burn the Bridge,” the members alternate spoken lines in Korean, Japanese, and English over a skittering drumbeat, wishing to journey beyond what is normally forbidden. The pulsing Jersey club track “Eve, Psyche & The Bluebeard’s wife” takes those wants even farther, channeling the will of three mythical figures who dared to break taboos. While some songs stick to sounds the group has done well previously (the Latin-flavored “Fire in the belly” and the soulful “Flash Forward”), others break new musical-repertoire ground, like the funky “No-Return (Into the unknown).” And a more hidden, but no less important, new occurrence is on LE SSERAFIM’s first song dedicated to their fans: the wistful ballad “FEARNOT (Between you, me and the lamppost),” co-written with all five members and co-produced by singer-songwriter member Yunjin.

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