This Week in Kpop: January 31-February 6, 2016

AOA Cream

This Week in Kpop was the true start of 2016 - with big releases from the likes of 4Minute, Winner, and Taeyeon, and teases from a subgroup that we've never expected. Let's stop stalling and get started already!

AOA Cream

When we heard news that AOA was forming another subgroup to accompany AOA Black, we were thinking they might be mirroring Girl's Generation's TTS, with AOA being primed as their immediate heirs. But the teasers suggest something far more poppy, sweet, and salacious, a mix of bubble gum, Sailor Moon, and, as the fellow says, legs for days.

This is a surprising, almost counter-intuitive subgroup to begin with, as Hyejeong, Yuna and Chanmi are clearly the least popular members of AOA. While more careful companies would probably bring together their most popular members (Think: Sistar19), or even their most vocally talented (Think: TTS). FNC, on the other hand, is giving these three a chance to shine where they wouldn't have been able to in their loaded group, while the other members can be busy with their acting and variety shows, and, at least for Choa, some time to rest (we hope).

Which is ingenious, really - keeping the AOA name out there while their more popular idols are building their careers ensures the strengthening of the AOA brand. This is an unexpected group with a surprising concept, and these girls are so talented that they really have a chance to make a splash here. While we're not so sure about the "Pretty Princess" style concept - that might even work in their favor, as girl groups seem to be shifting to the more sweet and bright with their concepts (Think: G-Friend). We're excited to see the results!

Taeyeon's Rain

We love Taeyeon, we do. We thought "I" was an iconic release last year, and really one the best of 2015. A perfect introduction to Taeyeon as a solo superstar. We didn't have many expectations because "Rain" was such a surprise to begin with - we had no idea that this was even coming out until a few weeks ago! But, it's here, friends. And our low expectations were definitely met - because "Rain" is just a boring snoozefest of a release.

Don't get us wrong - this is not a "bad" release. It's just forgettable and doesn't really hold our attention as either a song or a music video. Taeyeon is on point here, as always, with powerful vocals and killer charisma, but the song itself feels lacking, and the video is mostly her sitting or standing or looking at things in her flooded apartment. Which, to us, is all sorts of meh.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know your views here.

Review: Winner Returns with "E," First of Four Albums in 2016

Winner came back this week with the first of four albums of 2016! All of us are super excited for this new release, but perhaps none more than our very own Zander Stachniak! He give his review of "E" right here!

Give "Hate" a Chance: A Look at 4Minute's Audacious New Release

Winner wasn't the only one to grab the headlines this week! 4Minute came back with the ultimate of drops with "Hate." Some people were alarmed by the drop, but Timothy Moore says that you should give "Hate" a chance. Agree? Disagree? See what he has to say, first, right here!

Critical Kpop Podcast - Episode 23: HATE vs. EXIT

Now that we got the two big releases out of the way, Zander and Tim go head to head to decide, once and for all, what group really has had the better release here: 4Minute or Winner? Hear the sparks fly in the latest episode of the Critical Kpop Podcast! Listen Harder right here!

January 31-February 6, 2016

And that was This week in Kpop! And, like we expected, it was the most noteworthy week of the year by far! Will next week be able to top it? We'd love to see it try! Until then, have fun and be safe!


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