K-Pop Girl Roundup: Lovelyz, Twice, and G-Friend

I just finished my latest fantasy story, so I can get back to pretending to be a k-pop music critic! The last k-pop post was more of an experiment as I try to find things worth writing about on a regular basis. But I find myself with the time and desire to do another one. So here we go!

Last time, I talked about the trinity rookie war that I think only I continue to acknowledge: GFriend, Oh My Girl, and Lovely.

Well, Lovelyz have made their comeback, and GFriend pulled some Beyonce stepping on Amerie, Kelly, and Tinashe ish by releasing some song for American Tourister, a luggage brand that’s supposedly “high end” (I don’t see it). God, I love pop music. And in Korea, pop is actually good which makes it all the more fun.

Anyway, Lovelyz have taken their status as the heiresses of APink the most seriously, adopting that matronly style from APink’s wonderful “LUV” and giving them a disco twirl. The results are stunning, even if destined to be underappreciated.

Overall, I would say this places above GFriend’s increasingly too much “Rough” and below OMG’s instant masterpiece “Liar Liar”.

In other girl pop news, Twice had a comeback. This group is still quite new and already faces major backlash. And it’s the worst kind. It’s when people act like their haterade is tea, criticisms that seem sound in logic but are really just overblown and sneaky attempts to take down a group while appearing rational. Criticism of dancing and vocals are ridiculous because…

This is objectively on point (and not a live vocal in earshot):

I didn’t even like “CHUR UP BABY, CHUR UP BABY!” that much. (“Touchdown” is better.) “Cheer Up” is okay. The verses I like. The chorus is meh. And the prechorus bridges are glorious until that garish vocal at the end. I can understand issues with the vocals at times feeling very loud and forced, but that’s really what the song calls for. It’s not an issue of lack of training, which is what I keep reading about.

“Cheer Up” is okay. It’s another installment of k-pop’s maximalist, bridges-as-song legacy. It’s not that stand out at the end of the day. But it’s not that bad. It’s more distinct than “Heart Attack”, but it’s still in the same league of middling.

I’m happy JYP has a big hit girl group on his hands. I like the label. But Twice is about a notch above AOA. Throwing in ten b-listers to make one a-list group is the new post EXO template. It’s not a coincidence that the true masters of pop (Taemin, Yunho) are in smaller groups. And for all of the backlash against Girl’s Day “Ring My Bell,” that song has clearly had its influence (along with “I Got A Boy” it’s superior predecessor).

Finally, there is GFriend’s travel song, called “Wave”. They finally take it down a notch, and end up releasing a song for a commercial that’s better than most group releases. And we all know this is nothing new in k-pop. Cleansing Cream is still objectively the greatest ballad of the twenty-first century, and it took me weeks to even listen to it because it was called CLEANSING CREAM. I heard it on Youtube by accident because The Universe finally took pity on me. After crying my eyes out, I looked up the song title, saw CLEANSING CREAM, and officially accepted I knew nothing about Life.

As for “Wave”, it’s a nice slice of bubbly pop. Although, I will admit, the crying cotton candy on glitter crack that is “Rough” sticks with you longer.

Oh, and APink gave a masterclass in pop from Japan. They ascended from virgin queens to goddesses as they performed their first miracle, bringing spring way back in February. The visuals are gorgeous, the dancing and personality is true A-list, girlish innocence while professionally pop, and even has some grit with those EDM synths thrown in. They knew Alice in Wonderland was about drugs.

FINAL RESULTS

Based on Song alone
1. Oh My Girl – “Liar Liar”
2. APink – “Brand New Days”
3. Lovelyz – “Destiny”
4. GFriend – “Wave”
5. GFriend – “Rough”
6. Twice – “Cheer Up”

And More Importantly: Based on Song and Visual and Life Itself

∞ APink – “Brand New Days”
1. Oh My Girl – “Liar Liar”
2. Twice – “Cheer Up”
3. Lovelyz – “Destiny”
4. GFriend – “Rough”
5. GFriend – “Wave”

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