Right now, Lovelyz is in the same spot that the Infinite Agency seniors were in 2016: about a year after the contract renewal date and plagued by a rare release schedule. That is not to say that the individual members were not busy. Kei and Sujeong have each released solo albums, and the irresistible extra Mijoo has become a variety star. But it's been almost sixteen months since we heard a comeback for all groups. This follows Lovelyz's participation in Queendom last year, which for her… had mixed results. Perhaps that experience influenced Obliviate's change in sound.
Song for song, Lovelyz are one of my favorite K-pop girl groups. Much of this is due to their consistent sound and musical identity. You've turned things upside down here and there, but you can always count on a Lovelyz single to deliver classic pop melody and satisfying arrangements. Obliviate retains some of that charm, but also takes some frustrating turns.
As the group's first real “dark” title track, Obliviate begins with a plucked guitar over a driving beat that quickly dissolves into a more minimalist, trapped verse. While this verse offers a lot of atmosphere, the melody never really hits it. I like the way Babysoul's dramatic voice pulls us into the pre-chorus, but the whole arrangement feels a little unfocused – a hurdle that Obliviate continues to struggle with as it progresses.
In contrast, the choir of the song is structured almost too tightly. The catchy deep house beat works well, but the hooks repeat to a point where they almost rub. Rather than offering a variety of structural approaches, Obliviate delivers one repeated phrase after another. "Obliviate, obliviate" is quickly followed by "down down stop it, down down stop it". Only one of these segments might have been powerful, but taken together they quickly become monotonous. The bewitching vibe of Obliviate makes up for this a bit, but I think this track could have been a lot more dynamic.