So after an overall subpar fall so far, save for Kyuhyun’s continuous slayage, November has seen the return of multiple prominent girl groups, as well as some newer faces making their way into relevance. It’s quite welcome, since September and October were both very mediocre in terms of releases. Now that SNSD is on the verge of destruction and floppage due to Queen Jessica being ousted, and 2ne1 is on the backburner for CL trying to happen in America – the rest of the Korean Girl Groups are trying to battle it out for the title of the Nation’s Girl Group.
And, as expected, there have been amazing releases to try to obtain that position.
Laboum came back with a remix of a song off of their first mini. Yawn. Spica released another boring single, which is a shame since they can actually sing…still…Yawn. Wa$$up released another dub-step inspired mess. Yawn.
I have enjoyed HelloVenus since “What Are You Doing Today?”, so I was happy to see they were finally coming back after a year and a half. HelloVenus opted for a Hotter Than Ever Sexy Concept and a generic Brave Brothers song to try to jump on the Sexy Bandwagon. I don’t mind the song overall, despite it being a typical Brave Brother’s song, but it is nowhere close to their glory days of “What Are You Doing Today?” and “Would You Like Some Tea?” The sexy concept also does nothing for the girls, and the stark change between their innocent image in their early days and now was too much for one concept, especially as I enjoyed and supported them during their cute days. While most of the members including newbies Seoyoung and Yeoreum seem comfortable with their new concept, considering the over-saturation of sexy girl groups, changing the concept so harshly makes HelloVenus look like try-hards. Something like Girls’ Day’s “Darling” would have been much more fitting as a debut into the sexy-realm for them. At least the song is a certified flop, so Fantiago may go back to the cute concept next time since it did work better for them.
AOA is still the most generic girl group on the planet. They do nothing for me, Jimin has an annoying voice, and Seolhyun is easily becoming one of the most overhyped idols. Their new song “Like a Cat” is at least better than “Short Hair,” but they’re getting really really boring. I’m sure they’ll work with Brave Brothers yet again for their next comeback, so I have no desire to stan them, let alone listen to their songs more than once. They essentially only get an obligatory mention since they’re a prominent girl group, and the song is still in the top 10 on Instiz. How?
YG decided to put Lee Hi and Soohyun of AKMU in a project group featuring one of their newest Swag Club Members, and the song isn’t actually the worst thing YG has done. While it sounds like a Ariana Grande reject track, the girls’ vocals suit the style well, and it’s better than basically everything YG has done this year aside from AKMU’s debut.
Everyone on OneHallyu is pressed because of a rookie girl group called Pritz. Prtiz are interesting in that they have a very un-K-Pop like style about them. They’re a bit more alternative and almost punk-like. I’m not sure if I like them or not, but the controversy they’ve been creating is interesting for sure. First, they wore arm-bands that ‘bear a similarity to the swastika‘.
The link is to an article by the DailyMail, so slightly relevant. Then they used an image of the Japanese Rising Sun on one of their single covers. While yes, I’m sure it’s not the girls making the decisions, it’s unfortunately reflecting negatively upon them. Considering the history South Korea has with Japan, the Rising Sun imagery is much more offensive. Personally, while I can see why there may be controversy regarding the armbands, it seems as though it was a bit of a stretch. Especially considering Haruhi Suzumiya wears one quite similar to Prtiz’s.
The center of Pritz’s armband is also an ‘x’, which is not the swastika. It seems like this group actually does take a lot of influence from J-Pop, so even going further into animanga culture and Japanese language, I remember as a Bleach fan, Ichigo’s sword had the character for ‘Full’ on it – ‘Ban’ or – ‘卍’ which is actually a swastika in reverse (or, a ‘mirror image’ of it). Other cultures use similar symbols as well. If the girls/their company were going to use something like the armbands that class leaders use in Japan, it’s actually better that they turned it into an ‘x’ instead of sticking with an even closer symbol. Even though this, along with the Rising Sun have been causing controversy for the group, it is at least bringing them some form of recognition that they likely would have never gotten otherwise. They really, really, should not have used the Rising Sun imagery though.
As for their songs, I’m still not sure how I feel. I really love how unique they are in the grand scheme of K-Pop, but it’s not very poppy. Nor are any of their songs something I could see myself listening to on a regular basis.
Woollim’s new girl group Lovelyz officially debuted with “Candy Jelly Love” and honestly, I have to say…after much consideration…..
It is my favorite female group single of the year. I don’t know what it is about this song that makes me love it so much. I don’t know if it’s the 80s’ – particularly Lionel Ritchie’s “All Night Long” – sound the chorus has. I don’t know if it’s the fact that the song is cute, and unapologetically so. I don’t know if it’s because I like each of the member’s voices. I don’t know if it’s because the choreography is like “Into the New World” mixed with every APink dance ever. I don’t know if it’s the fact that one of the members calls herself ‘BabySoul’ – the most ridiculous stage name since ‘Rap Monster’ – that is just begging for ironic stanning. But she’s actually a great singer, so there’s nothing ironic about my stanning. I don’t know if it’s because they’re a contender for Cutest Girl Group. I have no idea what makes me like this group and song so much. One of the members has been accused of some pretty disturbing things, but on the other hand, another one of the members had a solo MV featuring Baro last year. So…
Anyways, the whole album is really great. It’s bubblegum pop full of synth backtracks that are so bubbly you can’t help but smile. There are a few member solos/duets, as well as 4 group tracks. Infinite’s Dongwoo features on one of the tracks, meaning that alone should make you want to listen. Jin is my bias as of now, but that’s likely to change.
Flawless Mamamoo released a flawless MV featuring Flawless Gongchan.
What else is there to say? The song suits them perfectly, and shows off the members amazing vocals. Gongchan is a Super Stud. The only complaints I truly have about “Piano Man” are that:
- They don’t need to be singing “We are Mamamoo” at this point. It’s my biggest pet peeve in K-Pop when groups sing their own name, and I thought Mamamoo would be above it by now.
- Moonbyul’s rap doesn’t fit too much. Mamamoo are the type of group who could do without a rapper. Not that I don’t like Moonbyul, but this song really did not need a rap break.
But I totally loved their connection to “Mr. Ambiguous,” the retro-vibe of the MV, the subdued colors, and that the song wasn’t overly repetitive. Mamamoo have done a nice job of defining their style early and sticking with it. I hope they continue to do so.
APink teamed up with Shinsadong Tiger for “My My” part two, “LUV.” The most disappointing thing about the track is that they (Shinsadong, ACube…) couldn’t be bothered to spell “Love” correctly for the title, but they do spell it correctly in the song. We are past the 2007 Myspace days, so the use of ‘luv’ is really really unnecessary. Even though the song is a ‘mature’ retread of “My My” it actually is really nice.
However, I do think the song takes itself too seriously. I like that they’re taking a step in the mature direction, but I do hope in their next release they bring back a bit of the fun side they were known for. “LUV” is actually dominating the charts right now, so I’m hoping they’ll shut out G-Swaggon and Taeyang’s mess on music shows once Kyuhyun can’t win for his flawless ballad anymore.
The rest of the album is alright. It’s full of ballads, and Kyuhyun’s ballads are really the only ballads I can bring myself to enjoy. “천사가 아냐” is really cute and bubbly and very APink. Cutest Cutie that Ever Cutied Chorong also made her debut as a lyricist with “Wannabe,” which is the third most listen-able song on the album.
Finally, the flawless T-Ara released their remake of “Little Apple” by the Chopsticks Brothers, who feature in the song and video as well. The song is in both Korean and Chinese, and actually only sung by Queen Qri, Eunjung, Hyomin and Jiyeon, which is as someone has already said, the Improved T-Ara N4. I’d actually be fine if this became the new default T-ara lineup since Boram does nothing for me and Soyeon may want to have babies with her boyfriend in the near future, a la Sunye.
While I wish this was more than a digital single, a flopping one at that, it’s good to see T-Ara haven’t lost their ability to slay me with everything they do. They release commercial, fun, music and it’s really sad that people still complain about them being “bullies” instead of streaming their music. At least T-Ara are slaying everyone in China right now, which is a much bigger market than Korea, anyways.
Please note how perfect Qri is in the video. Please note how sexy her legs look at the end while they’re strutting at Incheon Airport. Your faves could literally never.
This is one song you should definitely buy.
In other T-Ara news, their company, whatever they’re calling themselves, has finally realized that all of T-Ara’s perfect videography needed to be officially uploaded on YouTube in HQ. So they finally, after 1000 years, made T-ARA OFFICIAL, where all of T-ara’s MVs have been uploaded, even those from the 2009 dungeon.
Essentially, I would rate the girl group releases of the month in the following order of most listenable to least:
- Candy Jelly Love
- Little Apple
- Piano Man
- Sticky Sticky/Like a Cat since they’re basically the same song
And then all others in various order that I don’t see the need to list out.
Crayon Pop’s company already released the teaser for their company-wide Winter Ballad that sounds nothing like the epic “Lonely Christmas” jam that Crayon Pop released last year, so it’s officially time for the K-Pop Kristmas Karols. May they not bore us all to sleep.