Red Velvet’s Red Flavor affirms a good year

Red Velvet have been on a meandering path to a single form. In the past the group took to splitting their image between bright and vibrant pop and more demure mid tempo R&B retreads. This has since stop for their last three projects, where they have come back more affirmatively on the bright pop side. Russian Roulette was a standard attempt at the typical cute group look. Rookie was a fun track that was betrayed by SM’s attempts to maintain a weird idea of Red Velvet. With Red Flavor, we see the group return to a modified version of 2014

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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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Cosmic Girls with the brighter but less exciting I Wish

Only a couple of days ago did I proclaim Cosmic Girls’ Secret as my favorite song of 2016. I sang the praises of how good that song was, and even better a spectacular video to accompany it. I criticized the lackluster aspects of their debut in comparison, to just solidify the dreamy pop perfection that their September comeback (and debut proper of Yeonjung).

So I knew…I just knew…that somehow, Cosmic Girls would somehow fuck up the fun.
And they did.

I Wish, which I am tempted to call Tell Me Why, takes all the spacey dream like qualities of Secret, and just says fuck it. Throws all the good in the trash, and ups the tempo slightly. Now this isn’t to say that the song is terrible or is nothing but trash. I Wish would literally have to be Catch Me for that to happen. The song is interesting, and thankfully still has this sound to it that isn’t stuffy. I also hear what I imagine to be Juicy Fruit but I doubt K Pop even know what that song is. The chorus is actually nice, and sweet to listen to. But overall it comes off a little plain. Exy is required to rap each track, and this is the first time she felt like she was just inserted in and not given the spotlight like she normally would.

The music video suffers the same fate as the song. It’s obvious that Starship made sure to involve the same director as last time, as many of the visuals and same motifs still exist. The girls are still in these supernatural, vibrant colored landscapes, and having them in such open looking spaces gives the video such a more epic feel. And like last time there is a lot going on. The girls are set up in different groups of different scenarios. However unlike last time, where everything eventually came together (the summoning on Yeonjung), I Wish can’t quite find its purpose. Ultimately there is a lot of interesting imagery, but left to be chaotic.

I can’t say that I am too happy with I Wish. The song is nice, and kind of catchy. But the sugary quality feels very on the nose for me.