This Week in Kpop was rather quiet, rather inoffensive, highlighted, perhaps, by rookie group G-Friend's almost unbearably-cute debut. But that didn't stop us from having a full week - where we picked apart A Pink, Hello Venus, Goo Hara, Jonghyun's new release, and even presented the second episode of our fan fiction. Kpop may sleep some weeks, but we're wide awake at Critical Kpop! So let's get started!
G-Friend's "Glass Bead"
G-Friend made their debut and gets our cover story this week with "Glass Bead" getting attention from Kpop fans. While many have compared the rookie group to early SNSD (especially with that high kick in the choreography and the member that looks like Jessica), we're thinking they're more in the vein of the more vintage S.E.S, or with their contemporaries, A Pink and Lovelyz. There's a lot in common with JPOP trends too, the cute femininity and schoolgirl-inspired naivete with songs that could be used for RPGs or epic anime series.
It's no secret that we're not really fans of this brand of Kpop: the girl's cutesy mannerisms and painful smiles aren't really what excite us as fans. We're a bit worried that girl groups are slowly tipping to the extremes - either hyper-sexual or unbearably innocent. But there is a major market for this particular style, as A Pink has proven, and if a group thinks they can tap into that success, more power to them.
"Glass Bead" is actually an enjoyable song, the girls seem to sync well together, and the choreography is impressive, with the girls using their synchronicity to their advantage. They even showed more personality beyond the cute concept, getting in some trouble in the classroom. If G-Friend can keep showing more personality, they might be a hit. Looks like they're well on their way now.
Scandal of the Week: B1A4
You've all heard the story by now. B1A4, giving a fan event in Malaysia, has been highly criticized for embracing some young Malaysian fans, an act that was caught on tape, and, while innocent enough, could lead some of the girls to six months in prison in the strict Muslim country. Now it's being said that if the girls are underage, they may be put through rehabilitation instead, but even that sounds terrible. We're feeling for the girls, and for B1A4, who had no idea what they were getting into. But this may serve as a future example of the possible cultural clash that can accompany Kpop and its expansion. Here, it's gotten some young girls into trouble, and B1A4, a group that we really enjoy, into some damaging controversy. We're hoping for a happy ending here, but scandals always seem to end poorly.
2015 may be starting at a crawl (at least it feels that way for us), but we think it's safe to say that Jonghyun's "Base" may dominate the first few months. You can read more about his first solo album, with our review right here.
Hey, we were just talking about them! Yes, A Pink has proven their dominance as 2014 came to a close, winning music program after music program. But we can't help but wonder - can A Pink really make it to the top? Especially when the keep playing it safe? Poonam weighs in on A Pink's future here.
The Kpopalypse is over. Here's why Hello Venus' Wiggle Wiggle Comeback may just be the first comeback of the new Post-Kpopalyptic landscape.
Soyul's "Y-Shirt" is a cute little song with an adorable video (natch). And while the whole "Y-Shirt" concept has some cultural barriers that prevent us from fully grasping the concept, we like the song and love seeing Soyul getting her chance to shine. The video actually had to be taken down and re-uploaded as a background newspaper article brought up Japanese involvement in WWII. It's strange that yet another music video would pull a Red Velvet here, especially after the controversy that video caused. But unlike Red Velvet, this video's mishap doesn't seem to have caused a big stir. Here's hoping that a possible scandal has been averted!
Tahiti's "Phone Number"
Tahiti came back this week with the catchy "Phone Number," featuring some sultry choreography that attempts to capitalize on EXID and Hello Venus' recent success. We feel for Tahiti, we really do. They're a group that's struggled through an excessive line-up change with an agency that may or may not know what they're doing. And there's talent here. Real talent and charisma. Maybe they can build on something here - it's a light season with far less competition. Why not check out their video? Tell us in the comments if you think Tahiti will get that elusive hit.
JJCC came back this week with this silly "Fire." Our staff writer 'L' is currently bemoaning the lack of boy groups currently promoting (aren't we all?), and maybe JJCC's "Fire" can catch some attention for being the right group at the right time. With shades of 2PM's "Go Crazy," JJCC's "Fire" certainly has the zany fun that can make a song a hit. But the song itself is a discombobulated mess - it sounds like six songs smashed together. Still, it's a fun video that will hold you over until EXO or Big Bang come out of hiding. Well...maybe.
We find Goo Hara to be a captivating figure. So when we heard that she would be getting her own reality show, we knew we had to watch, and write about, what we saw. Now that English subs are slowly rolling out, we'll be watching and writing about "Hara: On & Off" for the next few weeks. Take a look at the first episode here, won't you?
Here it is: the second episode of "King & Queen," Critical Kpop's first fan fiction drama! This week's episode had laughs, tears, and one killer meet-cute! Watch for new episodes every Friday, and definitely check out episode two here!
January 11-17, 2015
And that was This Week in Kpop! Did we miss anything from this week that we should have brought up? Are there any new music videos that we've forgotten about? Let us know in the comments! But if not, we'll see you next week! Be safe!