K-Pop’s Most-Awaited Comeback
Ok I’ll admit it- I’m pretty new to K-pop. A few years ago when I was still going through my “rock phase” I would have met any suggestions to listen to K-pop with a raised eyebrow and maybe a slightly mocking smirk, while at my current “jazz-loving” phase, just plain indifference would be more than expected. But, I cannot ignore the fact that my base in music will always be pop, and now when I go back to it, the different musical nuances in it gets me excited- and K-pop is no different when you give it a chance.
Why am I telling you this? Well, I need to substantiate that I have nothing against the Wonder Girls, and in this case I am completely neutral and only here for the music. In fact, they were one of the first K-pop groups I had ever heard, and I didn’t like them. Yes, even though “Tell Me” was an earworm of the extreme-est level and it was extremely hard to get out of your head – it was more on the lines of the Tripledent Gum Commercial song from Inside Out rather than for any actual reason to like the song or any of their songs. But, there is no denying the fact that they are indeed one of the biggest influencers in K-pop with achievements like making it into the Billboard Hot 100 and after a 3 year long wait, their album “Reboot” is definitely one of the biggest comebacks this year.
As the first song and video off the new album “I Feel You”, definitely has had more eyes (ears) on it. And, it seems it has already garnered some negativity among the netizens (13k dislikes on a Wonder Girls Youtube video sure was uncalled for). But here are my views on it – for the first time I’ve actually enjoyed a Wonder Girls track.
Getting into more details – there is some major line-up and image overhaul that seems to have worked in favor of the girls at least musically even though it seems to be going against the PR. I like the song being in tune with the album concept of “Reboot” and bringing back the retro vibe. It’s so eighties - right from the synths and the beats to the quintessential 80s music video. It takes me right back to the Bananarama and A-ha days. The line-up now includes Yeeun, Yubin, Hyelim and Sunmi while the song has been penned by J.Y.P himself along with Hyelim and composed by J.Y.P, e.one and Hong JiSang who has previously composed for KARA and 2PM.
It seems the girls are more involved in the production process now and it is refreshing to see them with some instruments even though it only seems right I refrain from commenting on their instruments skills. They are K-pop idols for god sake and their primary job is to look good and they do look flawlessly alluring with those guitars and keytars strapped on. As long as the compositions are strong I’m willing to let it pass. Image-wise it feels like the girls are growing up too (more like the Miley Cyrus rebel phase) and they are all set to overthrow their bubbly-innocent outlook out of the window. They aren’t teens anymore and they seem to be putting a fist down to prove that. Sadly, it’s K-pop we are talking about and the industry thrives much more on the image than anything else at its face value. And, while some fans are ready to stick by their “biases”, the evocative outfits and bold gestures seem to have not gone down too well with a lot of K-pop followers (Wow, I’m even getting a hang of the K-pop lingo!). I sure hope they do get used to it soon though, because this time around the Wonder Girls seem much more fun than they have ever been.