Because I have an insatiable love for my Korean idol groups, I’ve decided that it’s about time I started blogging about them. For the month of August, I want to talk about three new groups in particular:
YG finally debuted their newest girl group, and I’m very excited and also very nervous. Following the departure of 2ne1’s Minzy, it feels a lot like the agency is turning its attention to its next edgy girl group. Because of the easy parallels to draw between the two groups, it’s especially important that BLACKPINK make their sound and image unique.
With that said, I’m very excited. Their two singles, “Boombayah” and “Whistle,” complement each other in style and are both catchy as heck. And so far, they’ve done a good job of standing out as individuals – Lisa especially has a powerful stage presence, and Jennie has been on YG fans’ radar for a while now.
At this point, I do think their rappers are stronger than their singers. But if they continue to develop their sound and musical ability, then they could really be unstoppable. They’re already off to a good start.
I managed to miss any teasers that 4-member girl group I-REN put out before their debut, so I didn’t know what to expect when I started watching “butt.” In hindsight, it seems pretty obvious: “butt” is an unimaginative and unenthusiastic jab at the ever-popular sexy concept.
The debut seems to make an attempt at something more gritty and visceral than the typical polished girl group. Instead, the atmosphere is thick with discomfort.
That discomfort comes in no small part from the girls themselves (watch the “I wanna be sexy” lyric and try not to cringe),but the seedy lighting and unflattering outfits do their part, as well.
More importantly, though, is the fact that the members haven’t had an opportunity to come into their own.This concept has been been done before, and better (see 9MUSES or Stellar), and the members of I-REN have brought nothing new to it.
Lackluster music, obtrusive camera work, and an unimaginative title all point back to the fact that this is not an experience about idols – it’s pretty much just about butts. But at least you know what you’re getting.
I’m still a little confused about NCT and the related subgroups, but this adorable debut by the group’s baby-unit might convince me to pay a little more attention to them. “Chewing Gum” is obnoxiously colorful, sickeningly saccharine, and unapologetically fun.
The members of NCT Dream have a great presence, both in the MV and on stage (and they performed on hoverboards). “Chewing Gum” reminded me of some of SHINee’s sunnier concepts with a hint of endearingly tacky 90s aesthetic. This song, and its accompanying video, would have probably been average if not for the energy the boys brought to it. It’s genuine and tangible and infectious, and it’s everything that I love about bubbly Korean pop.
My only concern is in regards to their long-term appeal. Even during their teaser period, SM Entertainment seemed to be pushing them as “that really young group.” Their debut was largely dependent on that youth, so I just hope they plan to make a transformation once they, you know, hit puberty.
So those are the three groups (all new debuts) that I wanted to discuss for my first purely K-pop post. With time, I’m hoping to provide a little more information about the groups I write about so people unfamiliar with this music can learn a thing or two. In the meantime, check out the groups above and let me know what you think!