To slay or not to slay? That should not even be a question! But lately, with girl group releases, it seems to be a legitimate question to pose. We've been trapped in a wave of mediocrity since maybe 4Minute's "Crazy" but hope is on the horizon, Hope that came in this weekend's major releases. But did any of our favorite girl groups make a deep impression? Did any of them actually Slay ? Let's take a look!
This is what we tweeted after watching AOA's "Heart Attack" for the first time:
And we stand by this tweet. We were really that excited to see AOA back with a fun summer song and a (cute) bad-80's-teen-comedy concept. But does it slay? Well...the music here is a bit overpowering over AOA's lovely vocals, although AOA is not exactly known for their singing anyway (beyond maybe Choa and Jimin's trademark voice).It's finally here. We're dying, we're dead. Slayed on 6/21/15. https://t.co/pWLE7gLQad- Critical Kpop (CriticalKpop) June 21, 2015
But what still excites us is AOA reminding us of early SNSD - the SNSD / 2PM "Caribbean Bay" CF comes to mind especially - with the lovesick characters and extensive training for a goal wherein the stakes are beyond the viewer's understanding (but we root for them anyway!), sprinkling a strange wholesomeness ontop a bevy of fan service. The girls use their feminine wiles to win the game, which seems about twenty years outdated, at least, but Kpop. And, again, AOA is more SNSD than 4Minute or 2NE1, in sound and in gender dynamics.
Does it Slay? We've always considered AOA the true successors of SNSD, and they've taken a large step to fulfilling that destiny with this release. But this song does not slay, it just misses the mark.
Shake it, already! We've already detailed some of Sistar's problems right here, friends, and how they are trapped in summer: they're hitting peak summer saturation! So let's talk about something else, shall we? Let's talk about how, despite our reservations, for what it is, and despite its similarities to summer song's past, this is a fun song that will probably do well enough to keep Sistar in summer for a few more years (God help us all) . And visually, the video is stunning - and we're not just talking about these gorgeous women - the colors onscreen just jump out at you, with a metallic edge that leaps into your eyeballs.
There's enough cheesecake and curves here to make Wa$$up blush, and though the video has a similar school setting as AOA, the goals of our dear Sistar are a little less ambitious, with their devotion only to "shaking it" and tormenting their poor teacher and a perv who happens to be the quintessential perv in Kpop now (though there happens to be a lot of pervs in Kpop this year). There's a lot of gawking in this video, as there was in AOA's. Which is odd - it's almost as if all these agencies are not confident that we'll find these idols breathtakingly attractive, they feel as though they have to teach the audience to feel this way. But they really don't.
Does it Slay? Summer is great and all, but it's time for Sistar to find another season. They're getting a bit too comfortable shaking it instead of slaying it .
THE WILD CARD
We LOVE Mamamoo. After AKMU, they may have been the best rookies of 2014 . Their raw talent is unparalleled, Their charisma electric, and their music videos are usually nothing short of spectacular. Except with this video and this release. Yes, we've been seeing Mamamoo embrace their inner-zaniness in behind-the-scenes footage and clips, so this release isn't exactly a surprise. And, to Mamamoo's credit, this is easily the best song out of the new girl group releases, and a song that has gotten more attention out of the gate then any of their previous releases.
We prefer the Live Performances though, where Mamamoo really Shines. The video involves gender-swapping that could, with more thought, be used to say something beyond the gropiness of the characters. But it's all done for laughs and slapstick, which only goes so far in our book. By the end, with a handful of flat jokes and a "surprise twist" that, again, feels about twenty years outdated, the video does more harm than good in Mamamoo's ability to slay.
Does it Slay? Sorry Mamamoo, we'll take slick and cool over slapstick any day. We still love you though, promise.
Alternate Universe SNSD Invades from Earth 2, Internet is Destroyed Forever
All jokes aside, watching the leaked "Catch Me If You Can" video with Jessica in the group is tantamount to stepping into an alternate universe. A kinder, safer universe, where "OT8" is not a part of the SNSD vernacular. We'd post the video here, but by the time this goes up, it'd get taken down again. You can surely go on Reddit to find it, friends, the very same Kpop subreddit that, for a time, had this video and the discussion surrounding it ranking above all of these new releases. Do we have an unlikely winner here?
While the rest of these girl group releases fall away from memory, this leak is the stuff of legend. It was legend even before anyone knew about it.
Just having Jessica sing the song absentmindedly on a variety show (we were going to post the video here but even that was taken down) made SONES imagine what could have been. Then came some leaked pictures. Then some audio. Then ... the fabled video came into existence and fans realized that their hearts were still broken, still reeling. Slaying does not always have to be a positive thing.
Does it Slay? Seeing Jessica as part of SNSD again has slayed us all.
This leak getting this much buzz is saying something, surely, about this open, festering wound but also these new girl group releases. If there's one unifying factor that ties all of them together, it may just be how unremarkable they ultimately are. They get our attention but do not keep it for long. It's summer but it's also troubling. Seeing a glimpse of Alternate Universe SNSD is the only "release" here that elicits any genuine emotion. Our heartbreak.
Timothy Moore writes from Chicago. He blogs at Read My Blog Please, and edits at Ghost Ocean Magazine. His biases are T-ara, Block B, Nine Muses, Brown Eyed Girls, and Girl's Day.