It’s not often that a group can define an entire month with a single release. Only the major Kpop players can steal our attention so completely. 2NE1, Super Junior, Girls’ Generation. After “Like a Cat,” add AOA to that list. The women of AOA positively owned the month of November. In the process, they also made a case for themselves to be added to that elite list of Kpop groups. This isn’t just the music video of the month for November, this is the perfect way for AOA to cap off an amazing year.
A Year to Remember
2014 started early for AOA, with the release of “Miniskirt” in January. This sexy single kickstarted their year, propelling them to number 9 on the Gaon album charts. But AOA’s year was just beginning. The group came back in June with “Short Hair,” a more playful summer concept that featured yet another butt dance. “Short Hair” also began to establish AOA as a constant force to be reckoned with. The mini-album topped off at number 4 on the charts, but was a bigger accomplishment than it seems, given stiff competition from the likes of Taeyang, Beast, GOT7, U-Kiss, ZE:A, and even Exo.
Only five months later, “Like a Cat” has already opened at number 3 on the album charts, and is expected to rise. AOA’s massive success in 2014 is more than just luck. It’s a combination of hard work and perfect planning. AOA has tasked themselves with a five-month release cycle that keeps them front-and-center in Kpop. The formula is unchanged: combine a subtle sexiness, an intoxicating song, a fun concept, and a memorable butt dance. And so far, it’s paying dividends. Make no mistake, AOA will release another single in five months time, and this one will open at number 1.
WIth “Like a Cat” it’s clear that AOA has successfully become a top tier girl group. Regardless of the drama surrounding Girls’ Generation, their days of being a significant and consistent participant of the Kpop world are long passed. If anything, they’re more like cultural ambassadors than pop stars, which leaves a big gaping hole in the girl group world. 2NE1 has taken the more EDM-dance-focused route, 4Minute has taken over their own quirky corner. Embracing the pop in Kpop, AOA is primed to be heir apparent to SNSD.
The heist concept is not necessarily new (See: Secret’s “Poison”), but AOA brings their own unique spin. The beautiful thing about this, besides how beautiful the girls are in this video, is that every member in AOA has their own moment to shine here, and shine they do. Jimin gets some impressive whip action, and travelling through an air duct look has never looked more glamorous than when MIna does it, Hyejeong plays the perfect Catwoman, Seolhyun gets to be seductively acrobatic, Chanmi gets time to shine as a hacker, Yuna plays sexy thief playing sexy janitor, Choa just keeps being Choa. The video is essentially ridiculous in the way that the best Kop videos are remembered for: throwing their gorgeous idols into situations that they would absolutely never have a place in. But that’s what makes it so fun.
As a song, “Like a Cat” doesn’t so much break loose as it does master the formula that AOA has perfected all year. The “lalalalala” is simple but catchy and leaves room for audience participation. This song is easy on the ears and, to put it simply, fun. The choreography, highlighted by a butt wiggle and cat pawing, is neither complex nor revolutionary. But put all this together and what do you get? A slick production that knows what it wants to do: entertain. And “Like a Cat” does that, and does that much better than just about any video we’ve seen in a long time. The heist serves as a structural narrative that makes this video run on all cylinders, as Kpop done right.
AOA’s “Like a Cat” is our MV of the month for November. It’s part sexy, part playful, and all fun. “Like a Cat” is the perfect end to a perfect year for AOA. And if you haven’t given these women your attention just yet, it’s only a matter of time before you do.