(G)I-DLE is kicking off 2021 with a statement: Don't let anything get you down — especially not a breakup. Their fourth EP, I burn, which dropped on Jan. 11, takes listeners through all the mixed emotions of a devastating split, like sadness, frustration, confusion, and finally, finding the will to move on. Instead of letting the end of a relationship dampen spirits, they liken the experience to a blooming flower — an opportunity to begin again. (G)I-DLE's I burn is the breakup album everyone needs to hear because it's a reminder something beautiful can emerge from darkness.
After singing about the experience of catching feelings on their 2018 debut EP, I am, and finding love on their follow-up projects I made and I trust, the girls are telling a very different story with I burn. Now, they're exploring the uglier side of love. MINNIE tells Elite Daily the message behind the EP is about being strong enough to overcome anything. "[I burn] depicts the story that although these scars may hurt me, they make me glow and bloom a red flower," she says.
Beginning with the emotional track "HANN (Alone In Winter)" — a callback to their 2018 song "HANN" — (G)I-DLE sings about feeling lost without an ex. Their EP's lead single "HWAA" is just as raw. In it, the girls compare their loneliness to winter. "The cold wind, and the heart covered in white snow/ May it please melt completely when morning comes/ Light up a fire," they sing.
Since winter is often associated with loneliness, (G)I-DLE waited until January to drop their album. "The title track was actually made a year ago. We were just waiting for the right time, and the right time happened to be this time," YUQI reveals, with SOOJIN adding, "We aimed to release music that suits the cold weather."
(G)I-DLE makes sure they're involved deeply in all of their projects as one of the few self-producing girl groups in K-Pop. "We get to do the kind of music we want to do and say the things we want to say," SOYEON says.
At least one member helped write each song on I burn. SOYEON contributed to "HANN(Alone in winter)," "HWAA," and "Where Is Love," while MINNIE had a hand on "MOON" and "DAHLIA." "LOST" also marks YUQI's first self-written track. Since some artists in the music industry fall back on trendy hooks and lyrics over authenticity, SHUHUA stresses the girls have always taken pride in keeping it real. "Since pre-debut, we've always thought we should do what we want to do," she says.
The girls even put immense thought into their tracklist. "We try to arrange the order of tracks based on the stories in the lyrics, [so] there is a sense of connectivity from the first track through the last track," MINNIE explains. That's why the story of getting burned by a breakup and then growing into something stronger is easy to follow throughout I burn. It begins with "HANN (Alone in winter)" — a song about separation — and ends with "DAHLIA" — an uplifting track named after a flower.
Putting their personal touch on their albums result in the most relatable project possible for fans. "I tend to write my songs based on something I empathized with when I was working on the song or my emotions at the moment," MINNIE says. SOYEON agrees genuine stories make the best songs. She says, "I wanted to talk about a real breakup. Not the very moment a relationship ends, but the moment both lovers completely forget each other."
While fans may never know exactly who or what inspired (G)I-DLE to write their searing breakup lyrics, just the fact that fans are listening to and finding strength in them is therapeutic for the girls. MIYEON feels like (G)I-DLE can get through anything because they have their fans by their side. She says, "Beloved NEVERLAND! Thanks to your love and support, I feel warm in this cold winter."