Sunmi has made her first comeback in three years as a soloist. What was she doing? Well between 205-2017, Sunmi had returned to her former idol group Wonder Girls, and helped revitalize their career and image. Of course after giving us two really good releases, the group decides to split up just shy of their 10 year anniversary. With two members have left JYPE, it’s pretty official the group has died, and fans sat in sadness waiting for any indication of comebacks and solo endeavors. Sunmi was the first one to really get that train going, starting late in the summer with her single release Gashina.
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
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.
Laboum have become a steady favorite for me. Since their debut they have released a stream of songs that have been catchy, fun and consistent. While still searching for that affirming throw into super stardom, they trek on with.
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.
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.
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.
SNSD is three members into the whole solo thing. Well technically two, but I’m putting bets on Hyoyeon making a full fledged ep later in the year. Right now however, Seohyun is the one in the midst of a solo debut.
AoA are starting the new year after a rather tepid 2016. Determined to keep it trucking, the group have released their first full album with a double feature.
My thoughts about the group have always been very cordial and positve. Their 2014-2015 releases had been some of my favorites from them. I enjoyed Heart Attack. I didn’t even really hate Good Luck, but the thrill about AoA is that they are kind of that group that is hot, but will likely never break past that barrier. Which is fine, but it leaves them continuing to make songs that are enjoyable, easily digestible, but not at all challenging to them. Which is fine. I don’t want to sit here and pretend I value artistic integrity when I will slam most of those “efforts” more often than not. Instead I value a change of pace. While AoA are limiting their comebacks now (because they can afford to), it makes their pop more valuable, but ultimately I don’t miss it.
With that being said, both Excuse Me and Bing Bing fall into that. Excuse Me is definitely the winner of the two tracks, and I will likely have it some where on the end of year list. Bing Bing unfortunately doesn’t have that such luck.
K Pop elite Jessica Jung has done what very few have done. After being removed from her own group in 2014, she has found her career in thriving form just two years later. At the beginning of the year she released her first ep With Love, J. While not my favorite, and far too cheesy of a song, Jessica did a great job of introducing herself to the Korean public.
Deciding to not let her music career die down, she released her second ep just this morning. A wintery mix called Wonderland, with a single titled the same thing.