SF9 'First Collections' review: All the makings of a K-pop classic

Following a series of mini-albums, the South Korean boy band's full-length debut is a near-faultless effort

Chris Gillett |

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'First Collections' was one of the most hotly-anticipated debut albums of the month.

First Collection has arguably been the most-anticipated K-pop release in January, following a plethora of K-pop and J-pop mini-albums from SF9 over the past couple of years. SF9’s debut full-length may have felt like a long time coming, and this set of songs is sure to send the nine-piece catastrophic, offering a near faultless effort.

Straight out the gate, opener Good Guy is a playful mix of thumping house piano chords and switched-up Eurobeat and dance groove choruses, which shift seamlessly around the main hook. Shh and Lulla Lalla are equally fun, as the former centres around a Stevie Wonder-esque synth-bass line, before Lulla Lalla’s twee, but infectious, synth-pop explosion, containing all the optimism of a young band ready to take on the world. One Love maintains this bright aesthetic with funky guitar chords and a steady, disco beat which at times verge on their J-pop sensibilities, as they deliver the repeated melodic phrases, “One love/Baby it’s you!”

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Finger picked classical guitar changes their sound once more on the ethereal Like The Hands Held Tight, partnered perfectly with reflective, reverberated R’n’B vocal stylings, before Fire unleashes a Middle Eastern-tinged reggaeton anthem, arguably the album’s highlight.

Although Stop It Now and Dance With Us are a little too restrained, and a little too repetitive, closer Beautiful Light alters between dreamy-but-sombre EDM verses to a bombastic J-pop chorus, belting out, “You’re the only one I needed!” which finishes the album on a high.

For SF9, it seems First Collections might have all the right ingredients to become a K-pop classic.