In a month crowded with female solo debuts, G.NA made her comeback this week. And sadly, we’re disappointed. G.NA should be showing new solo acts like Hyoseong and Jiyeon how it’s done. But with Hyoseong’s blistering “Goodnight Kiss,” G.NA’s “Secret” has been overshadowed from the start. Just on Youtube alone, Hyoseong already has over 200,000 more views than G.NA’s latest. While that isn’t startling considering Hyoseong’s talent and popularity, her stealing the limelight from the established G.NA shouldn’t be so easy, nor so dramatic. Here’s where this comeback went wrong.
Go Big Or Go Home
“Secret” is not a bad song, it’s a safe song. An easy song, vocally. It’s sweet and so is the choreography. The chorus is lighthearted and capitalizes on a late spring/early summer comeback. Make no mistake, this is definitely a summer song, meant to be listened to on long drives to the beach or while shopping for sundresses at the local promenade.
Besides summer bliss, it’s a bit hard to understand what the video is going for: G.NA falling for her handsome stranger, buying lingerie to impress him, having a party thrown for her by a friendly and never-seen-again bunny, being leered at by an SNL Korea comedian that has been in maybe too many Kpop videos already...it all has the makings of something uninspiringly haphazard.
In going for easy, Cube Entertainment seems to be avoiding risk, but at the same time it denies a chance for their star idol to shine. G.NA can shine, and should shine, with every single release. She just needs the right material. Think: “2HOT.” It’s a massively absurd video, everything that’s so amazing about Kpop. “Secret” has a video that is similar: multiple dancers, locations, outfit changes, but it downsizes everything in scale. Why should Cube lower the stakes for G.NA with each accompanying video? Why should G.NA’s most memorable comeback be two years ago?
What’s most worrying about “Secret” is how passive G.NA is throughout the video. A creep peeking at her as she tries on lingerie? She smiles it off. A stranger in a bunny suit gives her a flier that says that there’s a party at HER house, and she nods and goes with it. We understand that G.NA is going for a more naive, sweet concept to compliment her sexiness, but that doesn’t have to mean losing all agency like she does in this video. Even the lyrics reveal passivity, and a desperate eagerness to please: “Sometimes I wanna be sexy and noticeable to you. I think of you all day long. I think about it, try to look prettier for you.” With “Secret,” G.NA is not only giving up her power, she’s handing over her strong personality too.
Where’s the Top Girl we were so enamored with? Was “2HOT” really too hot? Looking back at that video, where she literally pushes over loving admirers lavishing her with gifts, is a sad contrast from her passively accepting perverted leers. In “2HOT,” her sexual power literally starts a fire. And who can forget the iconic image of G.NA being carried off by mega buff firemen, like a modern day Cleopatra?
That’s a far cry from G.NA staring longingly at her crush from afar. Yes, there are different sides of G.NA that Cube wants to show here, but this certainly feels like a continued regression.
We wonder how a company that has done so well with HyunA could have done so poorly, as of late, with G.NA. While often focusing too much on their superstar, they’re still able to keep 4minute as perennial favorites. There’s no reason G.NA can’t get similar treatment. Unfortunately, “Secret” is not a killer comeback that will build on G.NA’s success. It’s forgettable, which is almost worse than being bad. At least a “bad” comeback would have been memorable.
Cube needs to rethink their business model. Why not trust G.NA with the next big hit instead of handing it over to HyunA? Why not team her in a Troublemaker-type duo or have her at least cameo in other idols’ videos? G.NA has a following already. She just needs the right resources to reach another level of stardom.
In “Secret,” G.NA’s cute sexuality is no longer empowering, and what we’re left with makes us feel numb. G.NA should be controlling the room, pushing men over, starting fires, not falling prey to the fickle male gaze.