As sad as it is, the second generation of K-Pop is slowly ending. For almost two years now, we’ve been constantly peppered with breaking news of the latest disbandment or lineup change. Sometimes it’s not surprising, like Choa parting ways with AOA after a hiatus and months of rumors. Sometimes it’s completely out of the blue, like when Hoya left Infinite. In any case, you’d think we’d be used to all the change by now. But this latest development concerns Girls’ Generation: the biggest girl group in K-Pop and legends in their own right. And the K-Pop community’s shocked reaction shows just how much we’ll never truly be ready.
These are turbulent times for K-pop’s second generation, especially for female idols. In the past year, we’ve seen so many iconic girl groups disband: Kara, 4minute, 2NE1, Wonder Girls, and my personal favorite Sistar (*sobs*). With all these unexpected goodbyes, it’s kind of a miracle Girls’ Generation made it to the ten year mark. The revelation that they’re negotiating their contracts ruined it a bit, and I think we’re all still better about that one week of promotions. Nonetheless, we still got to celebrate with their first album in two years. And though many agree this comeback wasn’t up to par for such a special anniversary, both songs are still fun.
Sometimes I feel like I have a love-hate relationship with Twice. I really like them, but I get frustrated because I think JYP isn’t using them to their full potential (the agency, not the person). They have catchy songs, appealing personalities, and stunning visuals – but we all know that by now. I wanted to see them try something new, and it seemed like JYP was more and more determined to stick to what works. “Signal” isn’t exactly the radical change I was hoping for, but it’s different enough from their previous hits that I’ll take it. It’s not their best song so far, but it’s super cute and pretty darn fun.
I’m a little on the fence with EXID. I like the group themselves (Hani is one of my top biases), and I like their music. But none of their songs have really grabbed at me. The only one was “Up and Down,” which I definitely overplayed to death. I was slightly skeptical when they announced a new concept, because their image is so solid. But I was pleasantly surprised to find that “Night Rather Than Day” is a great fit for them. And on top of that, it’s my new favorite song!
Dreamcatcher has definitely gotten a lot of interest from the international community in the past few months. The girls are clearly going all in on the dark horror aesthetic, and so far it looks like it’s paying off. While “Chase Me” already ventured into the supernatural, “Good Night” goes full-on occult – and I’m happy to go along for the ride.
I have such a soft spot for Oh My Girl. There’s just something about them that’s so endearing. Anything they do puts a big smile on my face, so I was heavily anticipating “Coloring Book.” I think that this comeback has been a little divisive; either you love it or hate it. I happen to love it. It’s so vibrant and fun!
It took me forever to check out Girl’s Day because of their hiatus. Now I totally wish that I had discovered them sooner, because I absolutely love them. They have great music, great moves, and great style. Hiatuses can be tough on a group’s relevancy, so they must be top tier girl if they’re still making waves after a year and a half. I know I’m making this post just as they’re finishing promotions, but I decided to go ahead because I truly loved everything about this comeback. If you haven’t listened to “I’ll Be Yours,” you definitely should.
Pristin has a lot of recognition for a rookie group that just debuted a few weeks ago. Most of them competed on Produce 101, and they got two members into I.O.I. The remaining ones held a series of concerts last summer to introduce themselves to the public. Plus they’re the sister group to Seventeen, who is becoming very popular these days. Anticipation for them was definitely high. For all of these expectations, I think that “Wee Woo” is a pretty solid debut. It might not be ground-breaking or innovative, but it shows that they’ve clearly mastered the basics. If they play their cards right, they could become a force to be reckoned with.
Normally, I avoid teasers because I find them misleading. But GFriend’s teasers got me so hyped. The Awakening, indeed. The popular girl group is clearly ready to their expand their horizons, and this comeback is supposed to signal a big turning point. It turns out that “Fingertip” isn’t that different from their previous work, but it’s a solid step in a new direction.
Love her or hate her, Taeyeon is undeniably a major force in the K-pop industry. Her album is charting well, and she got both an all-kill and a certified all-kill only a few days after the release – after the major changes to the chart, no less. Her new album shows her at her best and proves her versatility. “Fine” is another strong addition to her already impressive discography and helps solidify who she is as an artist.