EXID’s Night Rather Than Day is a soft but dynamic return

EXID are the group that have a tenuous but positive relationship with. While I have liked a majority of their releases, I have never truly committed myself to the group as a fan would. Instead I eagerly await for their return with hopes that this would be the one. Their last song LIE, left me befuddled and not amused, and only at the last minute did I find the song anywhere near charming. For 2017 they come back with a switch once again.

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NiNaNo is a mild intro for Minzy the soloist

Minzy has finally debuted as a soloist with her debut track NiNaNo, which serves as the lead single of her EP Minzy Work 01 Uno. As a relatively high profile act coming from one of the biggest K pop acts, and having started opening herself up to the masses proper, there was a bit of excitement for Minzy’s debut. In the last…three or four months, her company has managed to create an image for an idol that spent a majority of her career strategically out of arms reach (for better and worse). With most of the work settled in, all that was needed was for the actual debut…and here it is.

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Pristin’s Wee Woo is mix bag of a debut

Pristin are the latest girl group to debut. Teasing of the group came last year, in the midst of two of their members succeeding in finding fame in K Pop with the MNET super group IOI. Making sure to multi task the efforts, Pledis put in work to get the group ready for debut doing concerts, fan releases, and a pre release to get the group ready. Finally in March, Pristin debuted with Wee Woo.

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GFriend’s Fingertips explores the group’s dynamic concept

Gfriend have made it two years into the industry, and have become one of the more popular idol groups of their generation. Known for their exciting dance, acceptably cute imagery, and rather big songs. Still as time ticks forward, the fans of k pop seem to get impatient with concepts. Gfriend as a group have made a killing with the theory “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. While some groups have the ability to hop around from concept to concept, there are others who pride themselves on consistency in sound, image, and brand. Gfriend is one of those groups. They have made their coin by pushing this above average, high energy girl group that rock the pastel lcolored imagery on top of heavy guitar riffs that feel almost epic.

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Red Velvet’s Rookie is a nice addition to their predictable nature

2017-2014=3 years. Well for Red Velvet its been 2 years and some change, but right now I am just gonna go with three years. Anyway, Red Velvet has been around since 2014, almost three years, which for some doesn’t seem like a long time. Still we have moved through several albums now, which means several comebacks…and…a lot of them feel the same.

This isn’t going to be a long or thorough review.

Rookie sounds like Red Velvet. That’s about as much as I can say really.

(Of Course there is more)

 

The song fits Red Velvet’s brand of cute offbeat pop while not coming off weird or strange. It’s a very average K pop song, and the group handles it well. I do like the beat and it swings hard. It’s funky and fun. It’s on par with what the group has released,lining up with Dumb Dumb in several ways.

Overall I can’t think of a reason to not like this song, after so long. The video is strange, but to be honest fits the group in their strange ways. The video reminds me of Happiness with the random and very noticable sets. However here the group leans heavily on the fourth wall with the opening and ending scenes indicating that is not their reality. Once again…something the group has done before.

Rookie is Red Velvet in the most comfortable, and frankly too familiar setting. While it doesn’t excel like Dumb Dumb or is as catchy as Russian Roulette, it is a passable track.

2ne1 say Goodbye one last time

Last year saw the death of quite a few groups, and this is likely not going to end anytime soon. One group to come to an end was the heavy weight 2ne1. With a long standing hiatus after the unfortunate Bom scandal, and the departure of Minzy in May of last year, it felt like the end of the group. Still YG insisted that was not the case, and they would continue as three. Turns out that was a lie (a lie that I am sad to hear many believed).

The group was disbanded in December with the news that Bom had not signed back in May as we were led to believe (although some are saying this is false?).

So here we are…Late January of 2017, almost three years since the group’s last release…with Goodbye.

I’ve always believed that 2ne1’s best efforts have been their ballads. The lack of pretense and allowing  the group to just move with the music has been their best part. Goodbye is a throwaway from CL’s US work, and here it comes off as such. CL feels very prominent in the song, with Dara and Bom feeling inserted. Of course CL sounds at her best here, her voice having always been one of my favorites. She also has a way of playing up sadness that isn’t the typical drab way most Korean idols tend to sing. Dara doesn’t feel so necessary songwise, but it is nice to hear her. The real part of anticipation was Bom, who had been on hiatus since 2014. I was worried that she would just be a voice, but we get to see her in the video. I’ve always liked Bom.

Overall I can’t say much against the song. It is a nice track, and was well done. Simple, and feels like the end to a chapter. Hopefully the careers of the members (including Minzy) take off and success comes their ways.

CLC reinvent themselves with (Hob)Goblin

Cube is fucked. But that doesn’t mean they can’t release new content for their acts. The first to make an official comeback for the company is heir girl group CLC, who are still looking for their big break in.

Okay…well…let’s get the elephant out of the room.

4Minute-Crazy

It should be pretty obvious that Cube Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V 4Minute’s 2014 effort down to several parts. The major differences being the fashion choices (the colorful/unique CLC vs the more mature but unified monochromatic 4Minute), more filter choices (various colors, vibrancies CLC vs once again, monochromatic 4Minute), and the choreo. Still everything else feels a play by play of what the disbanded group already did. Song starts with the chorus, rapped verse, small sung part, prechorus, chanting chorus, repeat, bridge (Admittedly better than Crazy’s), final chorus. Now you can argue

Getting away from the far too obvious comparison, on first listen I wished the song was just…a little bigger. Like it had something, but not enough of it. I liked the chorus from the jump, but I kind of didn’t see it for the verses northe pre-chorus. Sorn and Seunghee lacked a lot of force needed. They sound very new to the style, which harks back to the whole 4MINUTE comparison.

Things I did like: the song is different for now. A lot of groups have been very much on the cute train, and while it has given many success, it is obviously about to run its course. That being said, the options for concepts are limited. CLC returning as the edged up bad girls is fun. I do think that the group could be a little more invested, as some seem to be more into it than others, but overall, the niche is empty and Cube rarely upsets me like that. Also some of the ladies do stand out, namely Sorn (although I am not impressed with her parts, she has the look), Seungyeon, Yeeun, and Yujin (who oddly enough is still cute).

Goblin hopefully starts a new journey for CLC. While some of their early songs were nice, Goblin definitely gives the group a new space to work from. With time, they can work out the kinks, and unify the sound while also carving their own niche in it. However will it last for the group is what I worry about. This could very well be a flash in the pan for them, and if so…well at least it happened.