This Week in Kpop: December 27, 2015-January 2, 2016

This Week in Kpop brings in the New Year with a bang - or at least the threat of one! Dal Shabet unveiled teasers for their upcoming release, "Someone Like U," and they may just be the right idols to kick off 2016. Want to know why? Then read on!

Dal Shabet is Making a Statement, but Will You Listen? 

Some time ago, we asked the simple but caustic question: Why not Dal Shabet? With their crazy concepts and catchy singles, why wouldn't Dal Shabet gain some notoriety already when similarly teared groups like EXID and Girl's Day have found success? Well, this is their chance.

Why's that?

Because 2016 may just position many middling groups, and especially girl groups, just right, friends. Groups like 2NE1 and SNSD may be a long ways off from another big comeback. Kara may be disbanding (read more of that below), and who knows when we'll see After School again. Which is to say, the girl group landscape will look very uncertain in 2016, and every group has a chance to make a statement - especially the ones that have seemingly been on the verge for years now. Think: Nine Muses, Rainbow, Fiestar, BESTie, Rania, Sunny Hill, and, yes, Dal Shabet.

We're not saying it's a given. The vengeful-gun-toting-lover in Kpop is an all too familiar trope, one that Dal Shabet themselves have used to maximum violence.

They've also lost two members, and worse yet, two popular members, with Kaeun and Jiyul departing. But groups have found success whilst becoming foured (here's looking at you, Girl's Day), so why not Dal Shabet?

That's a question we keep pondering: Why Not Dal Shabet? With so much room to rise in this year's girl group paradigm, we may just get our answer. But, hopefully, Dal Shabet will provide us with the first surprise of the new year. Cross all of your fingers already.

Jun.K's Love Letter

How cool is this solo release from 2pm's Jun.K? Originally a Japanese release, JYP has finally brought us a Korean MV for "Love Letter," that nearly slipped under our radar - as probably the only holiday release (technically) that we can get behind. It's a beautiful, yearning song, and Jun.K really shines as a solo artist here. We love the music video too, as it hearkens back classic silent films, specifically Georges Méliès' A Trip to the Moon.

We wonder how this release almost slipped by unnoticed (at least by us), and then remember that this is a member of 2pm we're talking about here, JYP's red-headed stepchild (as the saying goes). This wasn't even given a proper release for Christmas, and one wonders if this song could have caught more attention if it was released both earlier and with more enthusiasm in Korea.

But, alas, it's here, and that's something to be thankful for, as we shed the holiday baggage and embrace the new year!  

Is THIS the End of Kara?

Twitter and Reddit went ablaze this week with rumors of Kara's termination. While we don't usually give much stock into rumors (especially of the gossip kind), we think there could be a strong possibility that this one turns out true. For one, contracts are up for Gyuri, Hara, and Seungyeon, and considering the issues DSP has had in the past with securing their most popular idols, and considering Kara's loss of prominence (and, perhaps, leverage), all bets would be off even without the rumors.

And, quite honestly, maybe it's time. Kara hasn't been relevant for years, friends. And despite some success with "Mama Mia" and "Cupid," these releases pale in comparison to the Misters and Step Ups of yore (Look into your heart - you know this to be true). They've clearly lost some fire and their agency, DSP, has slowly lost their nerve, with safer and tamer releases (look at Goo Hara's solo release for more evidence).

So why not disband? Move onto other projects? See what other agencies can offer? Keep in mind that Kara, in some form, has been around since 2007. That's nearing a decade, folks. That's a long time for anyone to do anything, and in Kpop years that's approaching a centennial. Kara has brought us many iconic releases, and may be able to bring us a few more too. But it feels like it's time to move on, so if they move on, fans should only be thankful for the years they've been given.

Our Kpop Predictions for 2016

This week saw the planet spin into a new year, friends, and we couldn't be more excited! To mark the new year, our writers and editors at Critical Kpop unveiled their oracles and summoned their predictive powers. Check out our 2016 Kpop predictions here!

Critical Kpop Podcast - Episode 18: The Miss A Compendium

Miss A is one of our favorite groups at Critical Kpop, girl group or otherwise, so it's no surprise that we often compare them to other idols. But why not talk about Miss A directly? Why not indeed! Zander and Tim do just that in the latest episode of the Critical Kpop Podcast, which you can listen here.

December 27, 2015-January 2, 2016

And that was This Week in Kpop! We hope the new year started nicely and hope that 2016 will be an amazing year for everyone. We're still here, which is nice, and we'll see you next week, so, until then, have fun and be safe!


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