A Pink: Can They Make it to the Top?


A Pink. They are quite a popular group now, aren’t they? Their old-school dance moves, girly songs, and prime money-maker (Jung Eunji, of course) made this group the success that they are today. Their concept is reminiscent of the old girl groups like S.E.S., Fin.K.L, and Baby V.O.X, who made money with their innocent and cute image. A Pink’s songs are actually pretty good, filled with sugary sweetness and catchy hooks that won’t get out of your head. Their latest single, "Luv," immediately reached #1 on all of the music charts in Korea on the day of its release. There is just one problem in A Pink’s ascent to success: their concept.


Their image is both a good thing and a bad thing - while it is what catapulted them from behind the shadows of Big Three girl groups, it is now hindering their shot at greater success. A Pink’s songs must stay true to their concept (which hasn’t changed at all since 2011) or risk losing popularity from fans. All of their lead singles, while doing well (and being super catchy) are pretty much the same. Their songs are predictable - their music videos will contain the members of A Pink engaged in stereotypical girly activities, Eunji will be given the most solos, and there will be a dance sequence shoe horned in, just because (fans also find those dance sequences convenient for fan chants).

One might argue that having a signature sound and concept is important in the oversaturated Kpop industry, but A Pink’s songs, while being frilly and girly fun, aren’t exactly the most original - almost every girl group has done a cute concept and song once in their career. Compare A Pink to all the other girl groups out there - Girls' Generation, Spica, f(x) - and you’ll see that all of them have variety between their concepts and music.


I’m not saying that A Pink should go the sexy route like lots of other groups this past year - far from it. A Pink is standing out for remaining devoted to their concept of innocence and girly-ness. But can’t they experiment a bit? Making a drastic concept change worthy of Girls' Generation need not happen, but fans will start getting restless. However, I understand their position right now - Kpop as an industry is in a precarious position right now, and their winning formula for a perfect comeback is making them gain popularity. But playing it safe can lose fans too, and people will get bored of what A Pink has to offer.


I still think that 2015 is the right year to make a change - after three years of establishing their “signature” sound that they own, they can take a risk or two, like their seniors f(x) did. If you can recall, all of f(x)’s singles after LaChaTa sounded the same, and so they established their “sound.” However, many people were alienated by f(x)’s songs, saying that they all were the same and so on - the same complaints for A Pink! Granted, f(x)’s sound was more distinct in an industry that loves aegyo. But after a couple of years, f(x) released Pink Tape, which included many familiar f(x) style tracks and experimentation on others.

Some might say that with A Pink, experimentation isn’t possible, since they come from a smaller agency and already have a music show-winning, chart-topping formula for success every comeback. However, have you seen the material Cube has been releasing for their boy groups? No one would say that BTOB or Beast’s songs sound the same, because they don’t. The female acts in Cube Entertainment are getting worse material compared to the boy groups. In one way, this is understandable - there are more female Kpop fans in general, and boy groups sell where girl groups don’t. That isn’t the best excuse out there, compared to the material other girl groups are getting.


A Pink has so much going for it, and their popularity is rising. However, in order to reach the level of success that other top-tier groups have, they’ll have to take a risk instead of playing it safe. Otherwise the fans will get bored, and there is so much more Kpop has to offer.


Poonam S. lives in the suburbs of Massachusetts, and got into kpop in the summer of 2014. She is a full time student, and has been interested in the more critical aspects of music from a very young age. Her biases include f(x), Infinite, Big Bang, and AKMU.

3 comments:

  1. I agree that A Pink is a difficult position, concept-wise. While they are the recognized Queen's of Aegyo and the cutesy/girly concept, will they be able to transition into something more fitting for their age?

    From looking at "Luv", I would say that we are starting to see a bit of that transition, albeit very slowly. This was really their first MV that had them in age appropriate clothing and acting in a mature manner. A sudden change in concept for them would be too jarring, given what they've established over the past 3 years.

    For me personally, and with a Westerner's cultural attitude, I often find many of the girl group ageyo concepts very uncomfortable, almost to the point of them coming across as creepy. A perfect example was Secret's "Woo Hoo" MV. It was extremely juvenile and silly to see young ladies in their 20's acting like pre-pubescent girls. And the MV and song both were flops because of it.

    Do I think A Pink will become another 4Minute - another of Cube's girl groups? No. But they have the opportunity to slowly mature into more of a Girls Generation style in the coming years.

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    1. Jack, it was uncanny what you said in that paragraph about a Westerner's cultural attitude. Not only do I have the same issue, I also had that same reaction about Secret's 'YooHoo' - which you misremembered as 'Woo Hoo' but I don't blame you in the slightest! A mind-numbing destruction of identity, it ended my interest in Secret, who I'd taken to be a serious mature group, having come to my attention with Poison. This wasn't the only case of regression which made me despair, but I think it was especially notable because of Hyoseong's sexy image, making it all the more ludicrous and wasteful to transform her into something akin to a little girl.

      As for A Pink, I'm unfamiliar with them but I clicked on the 'Luv' movie link here and actually recognized the music, having heard it in fancams of the Rose Queen dance group. I hadn't known its identity. Nice song, but there were way too many moping teary-eyed looks for my liking - almost comically so. A lot of the clothing seemed quite cutesy (e.g. bows in hair and lots of frills), so I don't think I'd fully go along with your verdict of "age appropriate", but in places, yes. Perhaps the half-and-half nature of the clothing was a way of softening a transition into a more mature look.

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  2. I thought I'd pop back to add another comment. Since my last one two months ago, I can say that I've become quite a fan of A Pink. What really drew me in were two fancams of Hayoung in an event on March 2nd 2015 - at Kwandong University I gather. Exhibit A: Hayoung doing NoNoNo. She looks gorgeous and moves beautifully, and that signature side-step move is an especially cute part of the dance. NoNoNo is such a great track - definitely one of my all-time K-pop faves - and very addictive too. Exhibit B: Hayoung doing Luv. Again a great track, very lovely, and with beautiful dance moves. I really like these dances.

    My attention was also taken by Eunji at the same event, courtesy of another fancam uploader. Exhibits C and D: Eunji doing NoNoNo and Eunji doing Luv. She's quite something, and that oufit is hot! I was surprised to learn that she's not the leader - because from these videos it seems like she sure ought to be!

    I hadn't really noticed A Pink before, but with their recent more mature appearance I can enjoy them a lot. Those fancams have even been diverting my attention from Tahiti, which is really saying something! A Pink certainly don't need to "go the sexy route" as you put it, to hold my interest. They're already sexy in an appealing and natural way, in performances such as those I mentioned. I'd be happy to see lots more!

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