It’s been an incredibly long year for LOONA, after BlockBerry Creative announced on November 25th, 2022, that member Chuu had been removed from the group under false accusations, it’s been a series of lawsuit after lawsuit that has resulted in all 12 members being granted injunctions for their contracts with the company.
We look at where the 12 members are now – Heejin, Haseul, Kim Lip, Jinsoul and Choerry under Modhaus as ARTMS. Hyunjin, Yeojin, ViVi, Gowon & Hyeju under CTDENM as Loossemble. Chuu under ATRP and Yves are currently unsigned and the future of LOONA can be unsure, but the members, even though all under different companies, have reassured and shown fans time and time again that LOONA is going nowhere anytime soon.
In LOONA’s earlier times, they debuted three subunits under their former company before joining together as a full group, one of those being the famously known ODD EYE CIRCLE. Formly, LOONA, they’ve now taken back their name and debuted as such, ODD EYE CIRCLE. The company they’re under, Modhaus, was founded by former BlockBerry Creative employee and producer, Jaden Jeong, the creator of the LOONA sound so many fans love. He worked together with the unit to bring fans back the classic sound they love, while giving a set of fresh, amazing songs with their 2nd mini album <Version Up>.
With an incredibly powerful move, they open the album with ‘Did You Wait?’ A track which samples three of some of their most popular songs, ‘Uncover,’ ‘LOONATIC’ and ‘Sweet Crazy Love.’ This instrumental song symbolizes the bond they have with their fans, the ones who stuck around and waited for them to rebut as ODD EYE CIRCLE. The track also gives an insight for all of the amazing sounds ahead in the album, so let’s get into it!
Air Force One is the title track of this album, a track that is honestly so much different than what I was expecting at the time of the announcement of <Version Up>, but a track I can give so much praise towards. It brought back long-time adored producer G-High of MonoTree, who has been producing for LOONA since the release of the Heejin’s pre-debut solo album, and even writing from their own member, Kim Lip. It’s a powerful track to highlight their iconic sound, keeping the iconic LOONAVERSE, but also marks a new beginning of LOONA, post-freedom from their company. With a catchy, shouty chorus, it’s competing as one of my favorite title tracks from LOONA.
The next track off this album, is their promoted b-side track, Je Ne Sais Quoi. A soft, synth focused dream pop track, the name of the track being French, meaning a quality that cannot be described or named easily. It’s a fan favorite from the album being compared to previous songs from their discography- my personal top three from the album. As a lot of people like to say, it scratches that itch in my brain just right. If anyone has caught it too, Park SoHyun of tripleS participated in the writing of this track.
Up next on this journey, is the track Lucid. This track has been dedicated by the members to their fans that have stuck with them throughout the adventure that has brought them to ARTMS. The dreamy ballad song, and my favorite song on the project. The track brings a message of this world that you can enter into, a dreamlike world, where your dreams are reality and you can be who you are without being judged. You can put a lot of meaning to this especially when thinking of everything LOONA has gone through in the past year. When I listen to this track, I kind of embody the spirit of the lo-fi girl, an easy listening homework, study, or just straight up chillin’ track. If there was now any ODD EYE CIRCLE song I would first recommend to somebody, it would be this one. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a listen!
Love Me Like, the fifth track of this album, takes such a crazy turn away from Lucid. It’s the actual first love-esc song on the album, which makes me very excited. The lyrics kind of seem like putting yourself in the shoes of someone who’s irritated that their crush doesn’t see what they’re trying to do, which is flirting, telling them to love them like a dream. I really like the instrumental behind the pre-chorus, I really think it’s what makes the song the most memorable from the entire album, separate from my favorite tracks, for its catchy beats.
The final track of the incredible project is My Secret Playlist, which is a track that has one of my absolute favorite elements of the entire min-album. The song plays on the name of the track, having a literal secret playlist incorporated in the track, referencing songs like OOPS! by LOONA, Paris in the Rain by Lauv, Best Part by Daniel Caesar & H.E.R, High and Dry by Radiohead and Say So by Doja Cat. A super cool gem in the song, literally giving fans a secret playlist full of songs from the members of ODD EYE CIRCLE. Speaking of the track itself, it takes quite a twist from a majority of the album, bringing us back those powerful, shouty instrumentals, ending the album on a high note.
All together <Version Up> by ODD EYE CIRCLE is an incredible comeback of the amazing unit, and an album that you should absolutely check out! I’m excited to see what comes out of the ARTMS project as a whole, and with its members separate projects within the company. <Version Up> is available for streaming everywhere, including sites like Spotify, Apple Music & YouTube and available for purchase online.
Recommended If You Like: fromis_9, Red Velvet, LOONA, Billlie, tripleS
Recommended Tracks: Je Ne Sais Quoi, Lucid, Love Me Like, My Secret Playlist