Happy Halloween! With the summer behind us and fall well underway, it's time once again to catch up with the latest from the girl groups of K-pop: new debuts and long-awaited comebacks from big names and nugus alike. Let's get right into it...
BLACKPINK - LOVESICK GIRLS
Proving the haters wrong, YG has finally blessed Blackpink with a "full album" consisting of not 12, not 10, but... 8 whole tracks! After pre-release singles "How You Like That" and "Ice Cream," BP are back with the album's lead single "Lovesick Girls," eschewing their usual cheeky hip-hop sound for a softer, guitar-driven pop song. Fans of 2NE1 singles such as "Go Away" and "Ugly," or just Western radio pop in general, may enjoy this. The music video is a typical high-budget, high-fashion YG affair; lots of wide open vistas, smashing guitars, splashing paint, etc. Notably absent is a scene featuring sexualized nurse uniforms after Korean nurses spoke out against it. Because no YG release is complete without a controversy!
sciencebottle: This is the BP that I've wanted for so!! long!!!
ohlookshiny: it is super dated, still i’m just grateful it has an actual chorus and no bekuh boom rap
BLACKSWAN - TONIGHT
Remember Rania? The first K-pop girl group to add a non-Asian, Black member to their lineup and exploit her presence for fan buzz while the company sidelined her in their releases and promotions? Yeah, they're back with a new name and a new Black member, and in case you'd forgotten their history, their album is helpfully titled "Goodbye Rania." Blackswan's name is also frequently shortened to "B.S." Here's hoping that Senegalese member Fatou is treated better than her predecessor, Alex Reid. At least "Tonight" is a pretty good song; it's got a nice pop-rock beat and an... interesting aesthetic in the M/V, and Fatou's English/Korean rap is quite enjoyable.
blck_ink: the song isn't anything special but i enjoyed it. i was actually surprised they gave fatou lines and screentime so i'm happy for her. however, i'll still pray for the girl cause we know how kpop can get!
frequency: well that's 3 minutes of my life i'll never get back. that was awful. why are they wearing men's underwear?
CIGNATURE - ARISONG
Love them or hate them, you can't ignore Cignature. They're breaking new ground in K-pop, pushing the boundaries of pleasure and pain with their high-pitched, sonically confusing brand of high-octane aegyo-pop. Listening to "Arisong" is like snorting a line of Pixy Stix; it's not for everyone, or even for most people, but it's an experience that you will not forget.
benihime99: It's bad meaning bad
CLC - HELICOPTER
After a hiatus of about a year, CLC are back with "Helicopter," a song that draws from the most popular trends in the boy-group world. It's loud, braggadocious, and sprinkled with humorous English lines. (There's also a fully English version.) It's got that slick, polished look, icy synths and booming beat that defines so much of K-pop today. So yes, it does feel somewhat generic... but CLC pull it off better than most male idols out there.
magicpineapple: did y’all seE THAT MOVE SEUNGYEON DID WALKING UP THAT BACKUP DANCER’S BACK?!
mycorrhizoid: I really appreciate the fact that the song is about improving and being better and doesn't talk about relationships, there's just too few songs on this topic in kpop.
EVERGLOW - LA DI DA
If you felt that Everglow's sound was getting a bit stale, get on board with "La Di Da." This is pure, unfiltered '80s synth-pop nostalgia. Sleek black bodysuits? Facial glitter? Superheroes in a cyberpunk City Noir? The video really has everything, and references to "haters" aside, so does the song. Fads may come and go, but I have yet to see a girl group discography that wasn't improved by a heaping helping of '80s.
dallinferno: Oh I absolutely love this! I love this kinda sorta 80s sound and vogueing in their choreography. Excellent.
nefertitii: finally they dropped the uninspired blackpink lite tracks. lets hope they dont revert because im on board again.
FROMIS_9 - FEEL GOOD (SECRET CODE)
Speaking of nostalgia, fromis_9 decided to turn the clock back a little bit more with "Feel Good (Secret Code)," a catchy if understated disco-pop tune. It feels more mature than their previous output. The group's previous release was in June 2019; who knows how much cutesy Fromis we missed out on during that time? But their youthful identity still shines through, particularly in the aegyo-fied rap segments. It makes me curious as to where the group's sound will go from here, and hopeful that we won't have to wait a year and a half to find out.
lolknope: It’s adorable and I love it, but come on now I waited a year for this?
1100003: I really liked most parts of it, but something (the nanana part maybe?) was too repetitive.
HINT - EH-OH
I wish I had interns to help me write these blurbs. There's only so much to say about nugu releases like this; blend up the girl group releases of the past 10 years and spread the resulting paste onto a low-budget music video, and you have a fairly catchy yet extremely generic song like "Eh-Oh." Hint have been around in some form or another since 2013, but they'll need to step up the originality if they want to make an impact. Actually, the M/V is the most interesting part here; it looks like a TV advertisement for a local strip club/cocktail bar that's about to get shut down due to fire hazard. A low budget, some nice eye candy, lots of glare and sparkly light effects. And candles. Lots of candles.
tsubaki874: why does the song sound like it's playing from a cell phone speaker??
daynr: at least it's overt.
IZ*ONE - BEWARE
The difference between IZ*ONE's Korean and Japanese releases is striking; true to their AKB48-related roots, they fully embrace a strangely produced J-pop sound beneath their shiny pastel K-pop aesthetic. The vocal mixing is a stumbling block for most listeners. If you can get past that, you'll find a highly saccharine, cheery electro-pop tune. At least the girls are super cute?
volume1995: jesus christ
lightframes: I'm not too bothered by this, actually! The instrumental isn't bad.
K/DA - MORE
Behold, the virtual superstars that keep Lee Soo-man up at night. League of Legends ladies K/DA, two of whom are voiced by (G)I-DLE's Soyeon and Miyeon, are back with "More." True to the name, it's more of what they've already put out: swaggering, futuristic pop with a hip-hop edge. K-pop for Gamerz, I guess. The song isn't really anything new, but the CGI visuals are colorful, flashy, and a bit freaky. It's definitely worth watching the M/V; I'm sure Aespa are taking notes.
hippoponic: the dancing and rapping movements are even more off than last time but other than that the animation is pretty damn solid.
garnetstar38: I mean it’s a good song but is no one going to mention all of KDA’s songs sound pretty much the same?
LOONA - WHY NOT?
Speaking of SM, his adopted children Loona are back with another album produced by the Soo-man himself. Like their previous single, "Why Not?" is soaked in the experimental-EDM sound that SM groups like EXO and NCT have made famous, and the M/V is full of allusions to Loona's signature Lore. Orbits are eating it up as always, whereas casual or non-fans will find it very polarizing. At the very least, I think we can all agree that Loona are never boring.
lil_poisonfrog: Not feeling it. I hate that SM Reject Track is their sound now
thatchicksaywha: the drop is so so catchy, mv is beautiful & the girls are gorgeous! can't ask for anything more tbh!
LOVELYZ - OBLIVIATE
Lovelyz have been iterating on their cute, bubbly electronica concept since their debut in 2014, leaving many fans (and even the members themselves) hungry for something darker. With "Obliviate," they've finally gotten their wish. It's nothing shocking, but it's a welcome change that fits nicely into Lovelyz' discography. Fans of WJSN's and Apink's recent output might also enjoy this. An elegant, magically charged breakup song.
gathyou: You know a kpop girl group is going into a ~sexier~ concept when there's a lace blindfold
chiives: it's an interesting evolution for them, but it's just short of something that would make it a lot better.
LUNARSOLAR - OH YA YA YA
Freshly debuted girl group Lunarsolar are here to show you how to make the most of your budget! Although they're from an unknown company, "Oh Ya Ya Ya" looks and sounds like premium K-pop. The Korean title translates to "I love having fun," which is definitely the vibe here. The song is super-catchy and would be a great addition to next year's summer playlist. I wish I could breathe fire and/or do a flip like that circus dude.
dior_chic: I love their high energy and just the fun vibe the song and MV gives. I like the use of colors in the MV a lot, for a nugu group this MV is quite lovely.
xoxkenzxox: Song is fun. Girls look fun. A solid debut.Is it my favorite? no. Will i listen to it again? Let me add it to my spotify playlist.
MAMAMOO - WANNA BE MYSELF & DINGGA
Mamamoo are kind of a deliberate blind spot for me, so forgive me for this lackluster description. "I'm original," they say in "Wanna Be Myself," yet it's a fairly generic-sounding, sleek pop song that doesn't show too much of the group's signature personality. But apparently it's a clothing brand partnership, so the soft, commercial-esque look of the M/V and the overall inoffensiveness is starting to make sense. I could definitely see this playing on the in-store radio at H&M.
fritterish: I neither like nor hate the song but they look cute.
snowphone: i actually really like the song??? oop at me
Returning to their retro roots, Mamamoo released "Dingga" as a precursor to their upcoming album. It's got a funky little '70s groove and the lyris are obviously about all the partying and socializing that COVID-19 has taken from us. The members even don some sparkly facemasks to go with their cute roller-skating ensembles. It's a fun song.
allsugarfree: It's super fun! But why does Solar remind me of my one attention seeking friend at every party lol?
tsukino: Fun song. It sounds a bit more like them (for better or for worse) than their last couple releases.
PRECIOUS - BEBE
Nugu group Precious made their debut in September with "Bebe," a try-hard hip-hop song with a martial arts film parody for an M/V. I love that they're not taking themselves too seriously. It's got all the corny freeze-frames and fantasy tropes you'd expect. The song is nothing too memorable, but the M/V is worth a watch for sure.
paige_nevaeh: Who doesn’t enjoy a good action mv 😅 I quite liked it actually... who are they?
camouflagecat: That MV was doing a lot lol
PRISMA - BREAKOUT
The latest nugu group to try drumming up attention with the inclusion of non-Asian members, Prisma are here with "Breakout," a pretty humdrum debut. The girls seem decently talented, but with a generic song and a bland, minimal M/V, this is far from a breakout hit. Uhh... that's all I got. Best of luck to these girls!
lydzi: The budget is abysmal like... did they even put money on this ?
electric_mole_x: If you and your friends filmed this on an iphone for the talent show in HS, it'd be pretty impressive. But it feels kind of unpolished for an official debut.
REFUND SISTERS - DON'T TOUCH ME
A spinoff of co-ed supergroup SSAK3, Refund Sisters were formed after Lee Hyori expressed a desire to team up with fellow "strong image" singers Uhm Jung-hwa, Jessi, and Hwasa. Their debut, "Don't Touch Me," blends mid-2000s dance-pop with some trot influence and lots of tongue-in-cheek bad-girl posturing. It's corny fun, and apparently all the proceeds from their promotions are going to charity, so I see no need to return these sisters for store credit.
rennehollic: I actually liked it. I'm surprised. Hwasa please, let me fix your eyebrows. Please!!!
thomaswilmoore: the song has a nice 00s feel to it, reminds me a little of Buttons
TWICE - I CAN'T STOP ME
Another group dipping their toes in the refreshing waters of '80s synth-pop, Twice are back with "I Can't Stop Me." Having just celebrated their five-year anniversary, they're still branching out and diversifying their sound while staying true to their colorful, feminine aesthetic. The M/V is a visual feast as always. Lots of gorgeous fashions and fancy CGI landscapes. It makes sense as a next step for the group, but it also feels to some fans like the first Twice single that isn't completely, uniquely Twice.
kimbafierce: DIDN'T GO AS I EXPECTED. STILL LOVE IT
suggestivepeach: More & More found dead in a DITCH
WEEEKLY - ZIG ZAG
There's an oddly nostalgic feeling to Weeekly's first comeback, "Zig Zag," and I also kind of feel like I'm dreaming when I watch the M/V. Maybe it's the swirling effect in the letterbox hypnotizing me. It's got a quaint, peppy pop-rock sound that definitely goes against current K-pop trends, and almost sounds like a cartoon theme song. An interesting follow-up to their debut. This probably won't be one of their most memorable comebacks in the long run, but it's definitely a breath of fresh air.
timetobegin: I missed cute pop rock songs in Kpop and I'm glad they're bringing it back.
ginger_star: The song itself is alright. I think I'll enjoy it more without the MV.
WEKI MEKI - COOL
Three Weki Meki comebacks in one year? Cool. The "teen crush" girl group continues to evolve in a more mature direction, and they've gone for a very Loona-esque sound with this one. They've fully shed their playful, quirky cocoon and metamorphosed into shiny EDM starlets. The minimalist yet fancy-looking sets, oddball outfits, and Lua's super-short haircut make for a very luxe aesthetic. It's an interesting change for the group, although it does kind of blend in with other recent K-pop releases.
cxxl: They are very consistent if nothing else. I wish the chorus was stronger.
kyungwons: i love it! it's noise but chic noise.
WIZ N - BETWEEN US
Wiz N are not so much a girl group as a cheerleading team that happened to record a song. "Between Us" is a completely unremarkable low-budget pop song, but it gives the girls something original to perform at events, so that's cool. They donned a few different outfits, filmed the M/V out on the field, and called it a day. I think the amount of time it took to write this song is shorter than the song itself. Na na na na pretty, na na na na sexy... damn it.
xoxkenzxox: Keep your day jobs ladies.
paige_nevaeh: It’s terrible but nana nana pretty nana nana sexy will be permanently ingrained in my mind for eons to come.
WJSN CHOCOME - HMPH!
Finally, the Orange Caramel era of K-pop is coming back! WJSN's first subunit (to actually release something) is Chocome, consisting of members Luda, Dayoung, Soobin, and Yeoreum. They pay a loving homage to OC's candy-coated aesthetic and quirky sound, and you can tell that the members are really into it. "Hmph!" is ridiculously infectious, and it's no wonder considering the team behind OC's hits also produced this song. They really went for the 2nd-gen girl group fans' throats.
scribblyness_x: this is the splash of brightness and levity i NEED right now both the song and the mv.
mad_nux: i'm 2nd gen biased so i really liked this on the first listen
XUM - DDALALA
Consisting of 3 former members of NeonPunch, XUM are bringing sexy back with their debut, "Ddalala." Wet hair, satin sheets, chainlink fences and thrusting butts... these are some things you don't see much in K-pop anymore, outside of a very specific niche. It seems like XUM have a concept that goes beyond mere titillation; the song is pretty interesting when it gets to the chorus, with a garbled vocal drop and a changing tempo that makes for a catchy listen. But this sexed-up version of 3YE may not have the brightest future due to their murky past. Racially insensitive comments and a non-apology. Yeah, no thanks.
benihime99: What happened to chorus? Does no one like them anymore? Is it a conspiracy?
uledy: Level up, level up, levelupleveluplevelup
CHOOSE YOUR WINNER!
Source: YouTube: 1theK (1, 2, 3, 4), BLACKPINK, DanalEntertainment (1, 2), FLEXWAG, GENIE MUSIC, JYP Entertainment, League of Legends, MAMAMOO (1, 2), official IZ*ONE, starshipTV, Stone Music Entertainment (1, 2), SUPER SOUND Bugs! (1, 2), UnionWave Entertainment, XUM, GIF: Tumblr: femaleidols
What did you think of these releases, Omona?
If you haven't already, don't forget to check out the previous Battle! There may be a 3-way tie that needs breaking...
@mods, could you kindly pin this post?